Donald Trump, “You’re fired!”

On Friday, November 6, by ~1:00 PM ET, Georgia & Pennsylvania had  grown to an insurmountable lead for Biden, as the votes continue to be counted. Both states can be  called for Joe Biden with 100% certainty, putting him over 270 in the Electoral College. Arizona & Nevada will also go to Biden; with Alaska (for sure) & North Carolina (probably) going to Trump. That’s all that was left in play. It appears the final Electoral College totals will be Biden 306, Trump 232, or somewhere in that vicinity.

In 2016, I titled my election night write-up “Fascism Wins Election 2016.” I prefer this title much better, I must admit. The majority of Americans have wanted to say this to Trump for a long, long time. That’s what’s being celebrated, much more than a Joe Biden victory. Ironically, it was Trump being hospitalized at Walter Reed with Kung Flu that contributed in making him a lame duck. This made Trump appear weak & stupid when he most-needed to project strength & authority.

A huge round of appreciation & recognition is deserved for all the polls workers, ballot counters, etc, who had to do their jobs under the most extraordinary circumstances, including an uncontrolled coronavirus pandemic with intentional political intimidation & shenanigans from the right. The vote counting in Las Vegas, Phoenix, Philadelphia & Atlanta, which took days to complete, swung those states for Biden and determined the election.

ABC, CBS & NBC all cut-away from Trump’s press conference during the evening news Thursday night, another unprecedented episode in these unprecedented times. After tweeting “STOP THE COUNT,” and other cynical messages from his White House bunker, Trump still has lawsuits pending in a few states, and possibly a campaign to pressure electors in the Electoral College to flip to him, a violation of the US Constitution.

Recounts and/or litigation will be going on in Wisconsin, Georgia, Arizona, Nevada & Pennsylvania, so voters will need to keep an eye on all that for themselves, and not trust the Democrats to do it for them.

It was the Trotskyists led by the World Socialist Web Site, who did more than anyone in defending the US Constitution and democratic principles such as free speech during Election 2020. These fundamental democratic rights are still under attack, but now workers & youth are much more aware of them, which is half the battle. This was an ideological struggle where Trotskyists were the most adamant defenders of the right to vote, in an election where their candidates were blacklisted.

Donald Trump took an oath as US President to defend the Constitution, and only the Trotskyists held him to that oath. The Democrats insist only when it’s convenient, such as now. This is how right-wing Democrats flip to appear progressive, as needed. Bernie Sanders is the master of this type of chicanery.

It wasn’t anything close to the Democratic landslide which had been predicted in the fake media, as enthusiasm for the two-party system is flagging, and the slack is being picked-up by the Trotskyists, which MSM can’t acknowledge– out of fear. That’s the issue with all bourgeois political polling, the unacknowledged shift to the left by 90% of the population. This was a dump Trump vote. Nothing in the Biden-Harris campaign has anything progressive for the workers & youth of America which have been devastated by COVID-19 & inequality.

The Trump administration had help in unleashing its back-to-work, and then back-to-school campaigns, under the policy of herd immunity– all during the election. The Democrats rallied with Republicans to bail out ‘too big to fail’ zombies for the last time on March 27, 2020 with the CARES Act. The problem is that they’re bankrupt again already. The free money is gone and they need more, but there is no more. The Fed is tapped out, so it’ll be more money printing with hyper-inflation ahead. That’s when a general strike & educational sickouts will stop everything, and then politics enters the revolutionary domain, where Trotskyists will take the historical stage.

This repudiation of Trump is a devastating blow to the far right, which includes Nazis, white supremacists, Confederates, religious gun nuts & fascists. Their figurehead has been toppled, and more importantly, he’s about to lose his trappings of power. Without Democratic props to hold him up, and all means of violence at his command, Trump is nothing. Fascism has been democratically rejected by the American people, and that has serious implications for the incoming Biden-Harris administration as well. The people have moved far, far to the left.

It was the Trotskyists who warned the working class & youth of the dangers of fascism during this election, from Trump’s coup attempt in calling out the National Guard to suppress protests against police violence, to his plotting with armed militias to kidnapped & kill the governor of Michigan. The World Socialist Web Site led this effort in political educational for the working class & youth. Chaos & violence was the Trump election strategy because they knew he couldn’t win re-election honestly. Never in US history has an incumbent President run such a campaign. As the WSWS pointed out, Trump was running for führer, which is remarkable.

Trump is a sociopath with delusions of grandeur, and this is his Waterloo. Comparisons to Adolph Hitler’s last days in his Berlin bunker may be apt as well. History will tell, but this is what to expect, in one form or another. In 2016, Trump blew up the Republican Party in winning the nomination, then the US Presidency. In the four years since, he has divided Washington, the nation, and the world like no politician since Hitler. The Republican Party became the party of Trump, an elitist fascist gangster. Trump attempted to establish his own personal dictatorship, and failed. He will never get another chance. This is why fascists are so morose right now.

It’s also why the Democrats are trying to fix their relationship with the Republicans. Fox News flipped on Trump, and it was obvious early on election night, which is a huge story. It means Rupert Murdoch is abandoning the alt-right, Breitbart & Q-Anon. These outright fascists had been Republican Party allies, until very recently. The Republican Party has been irrevocably fractured by four years of Trump, and there is no putting Humpty-Dumpty back together.

The most politically far-sighted Democrats, such as Barack Obama, understand this is supposed to be an intramural scrimmage, and they are surely reaching out to Trump (behind closed doors) to be part of an orderly transition-of-power. Trump will acquiesce soon enough, because he’s weak-minded, defeated & hopeless. By February 2021, no one will care about Trump tweets anymore, and that is what kills him politically. Take away his big stage and Trump is nothing more than a blowhard conman. He has no intelligence or resourcefulness to fall back on, and apparently he’s over $400M in debt. All this has political implications.

One final media note, Russia Today (RT) took an openly pro-Trump line early in this election, and it hurt their journalistic credibility irreversibly. RT used to have some reporting, but pro-Trump bias has turned them into an open mouthpiece for reaction, a legacy of their Stalinist roots. Their articles are often lazy, their Op/Eds are all awful, and their commenters are now 90+% fascist trolls. It also needs to be said that since Biden won, there was no ‘Russian interference’ from bots in election 2020, according to the MSM.

Political ‘ground game’ is defined as how you do for your Party, on-the-ground, during election day & the crucial days leading up to it. As a rule, I walk all over people who deserve it, so the following is a sketch of my 2020 ground game.

I’m surviving in a Sanford apartment complex, with lots of people moving in & out during the past six months. I used to be a newbie, but now I’m the grizzled veteran here. That’s COVID-19. The county hospital next door is filling up with ICU cases.

Military jets are doing drills overhead, out of Sanford International Airport, the weekend before election day. They sound like they’re mobilizing for Iwo Jima, with cops all over the place, and rarely with a friendly face. Fire engines & ambulances are drilling & blaring their sirens to whip up support for Trump. It’s a total shitshow at the taxpayers’ expense.

It was the “Lockheed Martin Space and Air Show” at Sanford International Airport, which actually ran three days from Friday, October 30 to Sunday, November 1– a thoroughly Trumpian event. I watched & heard it all, for three days. I had no choice, they flew overhead so many times. Tight triplets strafing is their favorite Thunderbird maneuver. “Don’t be too proud of this technological terror you’ve constructed…,” I say out loud in my James Earl Jones voice.

Photographed above are the remains of the vapor trails from the military jets who made a heart symbol, way up in the atmosphere. I call it “Bullet the Blue Sky,” and sang that U2 song on my porch as I observed my tax dollars at work, “Peelin’ off those dollar bills, slappin’ them down, one hundred, two hundred…”  I’m a big Brian Eno fan.

Later, in my best redneck voice, “Any one of them F-15 or Blue Angels boys could shoot down any Russian mig, and drop a big enough nuclear payload to light up them Ruskies until Kingdom Come.”

And my final Sanford Military Airshow riff, “Maverick just lost Goose, where are you Iceman?!!”

This was Friday mornin’. They’re either rentin’ or repossessin’. Aaron’s is their big competitor. To be fair to the police, they have a tough job right now. Beyond Trump’s fascist militia supporters in their ranks, there are a few boy scouts (& girl scouts) in law enforcement. I see them here often now, with their ‘community enforcement’ vehicles for domestic incidents. All races & ages are affected. Before coronavirus that almost never happened here. That’s how quickly it’s all collapsed.

Early voting at the public library (pic above) had lines everyday from start to finish. Political signs & lobbying on every street corner of 1st & Palmetto. Strong support for “Dump Trump.” The Democrats had the better music, I told a Trump supporter in his camping chair one afternoon, and he just laughed as I passed by. That’s what is was like downtown.

Sanford city landscaping took out the Coleus and planted these, I don’t know their name, but I think they’re nice– so I snapped a shot. Sanford ‘Parks & Rec’ keeps up with this, so the workers are doing a good job, meaning they aren’t they problem. It’s another class that is the problem. Another point here is to find the beauty where you can and acknowledge it. All this needs to be in your head while doing this, and if you do, you’ll have an unstoppable ground game.

Downtown Sanford, all around.

This is my favorite graffiti art around town. I have no idea who it actually is.

The Sanford Herald published all the local news that’s fit to print.

Wells Fargo are among the institutions which We the People need to directly talk to and demand accountability from. If they can’t deliver, then they must be declared bankrupt and arrested on the spot as criminals. These banks must be seized as public utilities by the workers & youth. Since big banks are transnational, this revolution will be international in character.

Wells Fargo & their cronies got Dems & Reps to unite & bail them out, with trillions of dollars in the CARES Act this past March, the largest swift transfer of wealth, to the extremely wealthy, in human history. Wells Fargo also financed this shitshow called Election 2020.

Other thoughts:  How do voters make sure any recounts aren’t stolen? Transparency in the process, along with keeping armed militias & right-wing mobs from interfering, is essential. There can be no tolerance for criminal behavior against the US Constitution. This is how to defeat fascism. Knowledge is power, but it take principles & courage to act appropriately.

On profanity & bad language. Profanity means cognition is inhibited and replaced with emotional rage. That doesn’t help. Vulgarity just drags us down into the mud with Trump & his far-right filth. Get control of these powerful but dangerous emotions, and channel them into Trotskyism, as I did here. This is how a modern artist creates a meaningful political statement from anger.

      1. The Road Rage Song - Ric Size

 

Fri 06 Nov 2020 11:00 AM EST

I called Georgia for Biden on my Fakebook pages around 10:30 AM ET. Fakebook doesn’t like that. They have been censoring & meddling with everyone’s newsfeed because they hate free speech. When it’s down to a trickle with absentee & military balloting, along with ‘curing’ spoiled ballots, and they’re mostly going for Biden who has an insurmountable lead with well over 99% of the vote counted, you can call it with 100% certainty. That’s 16 Electoral votes for Biden, which put him at 269 or 270 depending on whom you follow.

One thing that needs to be highlighted at that point in time is the archaic nature of the Electoral College, where Nebraska & Maine split their votes for the actual election on December 14, 2020. These electors can be put under extreme political pressure to be ‘unfaithful delegates’ if it ends up 270-268. Or 269-269. There are 14 US states which have laws that allow Electoral College delegates to flip.

Real Clear Politics provides the best online return data for US elections, with 15-second interval updates, which is crazy. This allows anyone with the know-how to be an online expert in real time, from home. I don’t read any of the RCP articles, I just need their data. If you can be good with numbers and understand what they mean, it’s a nice compliment to a strong ground game. This gives you all-around political legitimacy that is hard to beat.

As far as network analysts go, one NBC politico nailed it when he pointed out the number of remaining ballots were all in urban Democratic strongholds, with their current & historical splits– going back to 2008. The splits were holding up, and mostly 70/30, with a few 85/15, for Democrats.

That’s all I needed to know from TV, besides the live reports & video from Maricopa County, Arizona, where Trump supporters descended like locusts on the vote-counting center, after Fox network declared the state (11 electoral votes) for Biden. This was Trump’s reason for wanting to stop the count. What did you expect, for Trump to be a good loser?

Fri 06 Nov 2020 11:30 AM EST

Joe Biden’s lead is increasing with about 350,000 votes to be counted, mostly in overwhelmingly Democrat strongholds.

Pennsylvania 95% Reporting
Biden 49.5% 3,301,186
Trump 49.4% 3,292,153
Biden +9,033

one hour ago:

Pennsylvania 95% Reporting
Biden 49.5% 3,297,614
Trump 49.4% 3,290,788
Biden +6,826

Fri 06 Nov 2020  1:00 PM EST

The Democrats are milking this for all it’s worth, while Trump is in denial– as always. Everyone else wants it to be over. By 1:00 PM ET it’s mathematically over, so I fill in the few remaining blanks in the opening paragraph, and click publish. No more fake media for me. Over & Out

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Brass in Pocket

I will finally fully reveal myself as the hidden prankster at Marquette’s School of Dentistry, from 1990-94. I always had to be careful, because the deans & faculty who ran the school were largely out to get me. But they didn’t catch me. If you know GnR, you know the rest…

I was living with Matt, my 3-year roomie, in a 2nd floor, two bedroom, shared bathroom apartment on the corner of 20th & Wells. Tough neighborhood, and a long cold walk in the winter. It was still early fall when Matt was telling me about his day around the engineering building, and so forth. He had obtained a roll of orange special stickers, and was tagging the campus with them.

We’re both having a beer, and a few laughs, so I asked for a few and he tore off a nice roll for me. As a first-year dental student (D1), you quickly learn that the dental school is your new ‘home way from home.’ We’re always there, Mon-Fri from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM, and then often after– for lab work or whatever. It’s all serious from the start when they tell you, “Look to the person on your left, and then the right. One of you won’t graduate in 4 years.”

That makes it cut-throat among the students, especially those who want coveted residencies such as oral surgery or orthodontics. Student loans only add to the pressure. I quickly discovered that I wasn’t going to be a top-GPA dental student. I just wanted to keep the academic scholarship I had earned, and get through.

There is a lot of favoritism in dental school, and it sorts itself out early. For instance, we had a dental prodigy who could wax-up a tooth so beautifully that he was offered the Marquette prosthodontics residency (highly coveted) within a month. He accepted, and sailed through dental school. Now, he’s a world class prosthodontist in Miami.

We had a talented class, for sure. I don’t even have to include myself for that to be true. Talent reveals itself early, and after a few weeks everyone pretty much knew where they fit in with this hierarchy. I had a lot of support from classmates, and we were a generally supportive group, but there are always rats, snitches & gunners in professional school.

I was living on the edge, as the ruling faculty didn’t like me, and there were plenty of rats willing to endear themselves to power by snitching on me. Student government is where these types tend to exist, as it gives them liaison power with faculty, and hides their mediocrity. I was always the biggest enemy of mediocrity, and was made a target because I refused to conform.

Professional schools try to break you. If you don’t obey, they punish you– one way or another. That pressure can be enough to prevent a student from getting their diploma. It’s easier to conform. It gets you through, but the long-term costs are significant. It’s a character thing in my mind.

All this & more, is why I was really excited to start plastering Marquette’s dental school with orange special stickers. I was going to kick ass, have some laughs, and get away with it. A dental school is a busy building with around 350 students, plus faculty, administrative personnel, and so forth. No witnesses is rule number one in tagging. Since it’s so busy, I determine that it’s best to place a limited number of strategically placed stickers, versus carpet bombing. In the evening it’s quieter, and that’s mostly when to strike.

The lecture room we sit in, hours on end all week, gets a sticker on the face of the lecture rostrum. So as Dr. Austin goes on & on about cranial nerves & other gross anatomy, everyone sees that bright orange sticker. I think that’s hilarious. To our left, up on the wall, is the clock that shows the time– and to the left of that is an orange special sticker. People get bored, look at the clock, and are thinking to themselves, “Wow, that must be a tall person placing those stickers. I’ve been seeing quite a few of them…”

We had several vending machines in the student lounge, located in the basement bowels of the dental school. I’m referencing the old Marquette dental school on 16th, off Wisconsin. I made sure the milk machine always had a special. Also the snacks machine, which featured such salty delights as cheddar cheese Combos & Gardetto’s pretzel mixes were constantly on special.

Soon, I noticed the stickers started disappearing almost as fast as I could put them up. Someone who is serious and has power doesn’t like this. “Be careful,” I kept saying to myself. This could get me kicked out. One of my favorite gags was the ‘Special Patients’ clinic sign in the basement. I got that one– twice. The second time, I went back a few minutes later, and the sticker was already gone. BE CAREFUL– LOL!!!

I’d look forward to getting back to my crappy apartment in the evening, and telling Matt what was going on. He’d be cracking up, and then say, “I’m getting another beer, you want one…?” Yeah, sure….

This went on for a few weeks. Another classic gag I came up with was tagging the inside elevator door. I’m inside alone, anytime. When the door opens the sticker disappears. As people go in, I get out, and when the door closes everyone inside sees how special they are. Matt LOVED that one, and adopted it in the engineering building.

One day we’re in lecture, and the blackboard the doctor wants to write on is covered up by the projector screen. He pulls up the screen, and BANG, there’s an orange special sticker on the blackboard! He picks up the chalk to write and there it is. He kinda glances sideways at it, and then moves over to his right to start there instead. I’m sitting next to a very pretty girl named Stephanie, who was really cool and I was sweet on. She sees this and half-whispers, “What is up with those stickers? I’m seeing them EVERYWHERE!” I’m trying to control my internal laughter, while looking at her & wanting to ravish her.

At this point, it had become a student-liaison/faculty issue. The uptight nerds were getting very restless, and the faculty wanted this stopped immediately. It’s Friday at lunch, and we’re all in the lounge. I’ve decided to give myself up, but only to a good woman. Stephanie is to my left, talking whatever with her friends, so I interrupt to ask to see he notes for reference. As I said, she’s cool, so she passes her binder over, and doesn’t look back at me. I pretend to be poring over them, and make sure no one else is looking, while I place an orange special sticker in a blank space by her notes a few pages earlier. Then I fold everything up, and give it back to her. I knew Stephanie always reviewed her notes before going out to meet us on Fridays.

Around 6:00 PM, I walk into the Ardmore bar, and Stephanie is arguing loudly with two of our buddies– Vijay & Tim. One of the tallest dental students is our class president, Randy. Randy was a muscle-bound dork who thought he was funny, and was always trying to goof in front of the class. His act wore thin, and by this time he was sitting with the geeks up front. Many of these folks were openly accusing Randy of being the prankster. Vijay & Tim were convinced it’s Randy too. Stephanie is standing there– 100% sure it is not. “How do you know?!” Tim & Vijay are exclaiming as I approach.  I play it straight and ask, “What are you talking about?”

Vijay & Tim face me, and blurt out what Stephanie has told them, and say, “It’s Randy, right?” I’m just looking at Stephanie, who isn’t in love with me (I now know), who is ready to explode with laughter. She points straight at me. and exclaims, “It’s Ric!” Vijay & Tim look puzzled, as their jaws hit the floor. I smile to all three of them, then shrug my shoulders and say, “Surprise.”

Lots of laughter after that… Vijay is Indian-Canadian, and my best friend in dental school. He keeps feeding me beers to get the full story, and is just shaking his head. Then Cele comes in, and wants to know what’s up… Cele is Philippine-American, and went to Madison for his undergraduate. He’s cool, and is one of us. Cele loves gossip, and now he knows. I had to make sure he didn’t pass it on too freely, otherwise I’m caught in the danger zone. He didn’t, to his credit.

By next Monday morning, most of our group knew, but no one else. The heat was boiling over by that point. Randy was beside himself, hands in the air, insisting he didn’t do it before the first lecture. There were more than a few nags who were reading him the riot act, when in exasperation, Randy looked towards us for help. and he called out, “Come on, will someone say I didn’t do this? Everyone is accusing me here…”

I’m seated on the opposite side of the room, with Stephanie to my right. I look dead into his eyes, and firmly say, “Well I guess this is what you get for being the class clown?” Randy looks back for a second, and then collapses in defeat. Stephanie is head down, hiding behind her gorgeous hair, quivering in laughter. She whispers softly to me, “You… are … so… bad.”

And that’s it. The last time I visited that building was in 2002, and in the back stairwell on an ‘Exit’ sign remained an orange special sticker. I had to jump down the stairs to tag that one. You can’t reach it with a ladder, because the stairs are directly below it. A janitor tried to get it, but only ripped it down the middle. Someone up high, badly wanted it gone. All I can say is that if the sign is still there, then the sticker is too.

The one that got away (and there’s always one, right?), was when the grades for the semester were being posted. On the first floor there’s a glass cabinet, where the top-5 GPA’s in each class (D1-D4) were listed each semester. It was a great honor to be on that list, and I was never close to it– until the day I was walking by it from the Science Library. I saw it wide open, with the keys still in it. The grades were posted, but the janitor had presumably left to run an errand….

I’ve got my right hand in pocket, peeling the orange special sticker off inside. I’m going to place it next to our class, and when it’s locked under glass, everyone will see & know just how special the Class of 1994 is. Just as I’m about to pull it out, a secretary comes down the stairs and up the hall. I stroll by and duck into the student lounge for a minute, then go back up, but the case was locked up by then. I still wonder sometimes, if it was the one that got away, or it was the one that would have given me away?

Campus Phone gag: There was a time in Marquette dental school (D2, D3) when we had to be in the Science Library a lot. I’m a stairs person, but on this day I took the elevator from the first floor of the dental school to the 4th floor, which spills into the Science Library. The Science Library elevator had an emergency phone with no listed number. As I’m going up, it rings, so I opened the box and pick it up. It’s some girl on campus trying to reach her friend. I tell her it’s the wrong number, and then ask for the number she dialed. She tells me, and I jot it down.

The elevator opens, I see my friends sitting at a table together and go over to join them. I do whatever I have to do, and then I’m waiting. It’s Vijay, Stephanie, Cele, and maybe a few others. Cele was usually the first to end his studies, and go do something else, and that’s what happened. Cele packed up his stuff, and said goodbye. He’s heading towards the elevator, when I say to the rest, “I’m gonna get Cele back here right away,” and get up to use the campus phone behind me. Someone says, “Cele just left, you can catch him if you hurry.” I reply, “No, I”m going to call him.”

This was around 1992, before cell phones truly existed. I dial up the number, and my buddies are ignoring me like I’m nuts. It rings once and Cele answers, “Hello?” Without missing a beat I say, “Hey Cele, it’s Ric. I just wanted to tell you what a great guy you are, and how I appreciate our friendship, it means a lot to me.” Then I hang up.

Thirty seconds later, Cele comes busting out of the Science Library elevator. “How did you get that number?!” Everyone else is wondering what’s going on, and I can’t stop laughing. But when I do, I explain the situation to everyone, and give Cele the number. He’s now excited to prank someone, but I explain it has to be the right person. Some people won’t pick up the phone.

Soon enough Stacey, a semi-friendly, brown-nose type moves towards the elevator, and I alert Cele. As the doors close, Cele dials the number, and Stacey picks it up. It went something like this. Stacey: “Hello.” Cele replies: “Hey Stacey, it’s Cele. How are you doing?” Stacey: “I’m fine. Why are you calling me here?!” Lots more laughter after that, until it’s time for me to go. I then tell Cele I’m taking the stairs, so don’t even think about calling me in the elevator.

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“9-11”

      1. RicSize_911.mp3

 

9-11, 2001
Does anyone remember how it begun?

9-11 it was a terrible scene
9-11 what did it all mean?
9-11 crashed out of the sky
Although statistics had proven it was safer to fly
9-11 I think intention was clear
Surgical strike and a climate of fear
9-11 it was an unfair tactic
To hijack and crash commercial air traffic

9-11 is was a fatal sign
It was organized it was by design
9-11 it was a TV show
The more you watched the less you know
Where investigators say there’s hardly a trace
Broadcaster reports with a solemn face
It’s those dirty Arabs it’s a pretty clear case
All over the news what a bloody disgrace

The president said we will retaliate
This cowardly act we mustn’t tolerate
These are worthy dead not acceptable losses
We’ll punish who did this whatever the cost is
Afghanistan is where the terrorists hide
Let’s launch an attack and win back our pride
We keep upping the stakes with no going back
Never checking ourselves before we react

And a word or two for the commercial airline
Committed to profits and arriving on time
Are the airlines safe? We ask the FAA
Spokesperson response: It’s not appropriate to say
It just seems to me they could shed some light
With fanatics hijacking planes left and right

9-11 many didn’t survive
Osama bin Laden wanted dead or alive
9-11 it’s a terror war
Nothing like this had ever happened before
It’s out in the streets it’s up in the sky
These people are serious and they’re willing to die
9-11 and it wasn’t a joke
Thousands left dead under the rubble and smoke
In the heaps of slag and the mountains of ash
What does it all mean, does anyone ask?

From Magnified. Recorded in summer 2011. Beats & production by Jay Stanley.

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“Patch Me Up Doc”

      1. Patch Me Up Doc - Ric Size

 

Recording, drums & production by Tom Pearce; bass by Bill Pelick; vocals by Rachel Decker; songwriting, guitar & vocals by Ric Size

“Patch Me Up Doc” is an A-side from Extended Play 2019-20; cover design by Ric Size & Tom Pearce

Cover Images:  Photo of Rachel (& Tom) by Danny Mcguire taken during an Oak Hill Drifters live performance at Casey’s in New Smyrna Beach, FL on December 15, 2019

RockStarDentalConsulting social media profile image by Malcolm Yawn Photography, Mount Dora, FL, February 2014

False-color transmission electron microscope image of coronavirus by NIAID

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“The Road Rage Song”

Explicit sounds recorded on August 23, 2019, and produced by Tom Pearce. Cover photo & design also by Tom Pearce.

      1. The Road Rage Song - Ric Size

 

Guitar & vocal by Ric Size–  PLAY LOUD!!

This ‘B-side’ is dedicated to all the real drivers, and is part of Extended Play 2019-20, which has been re-titled, and may need to be re-titled again. This is because its release has been long-delayed, mostly due to effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

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Glen or Glenda (1953) riff script

Riffing was invented as an artform by Mystery Science Theater 3000 (1989-99), as an antidote to bad movies & television. When the viewing gets brutal, that’s when the ‘riff button’ needs to get pushed. The best riffers quip the kookiest comments on contemporary morays.

Glen or Glenda (1953) is Ed Wood’s magnum opus, a confused autobiographical account on transvestism. It’s nowhere close to being the worst movie ever, but it’s certainly bad enough to riff. For reference, the worst movie ever is Manos: The Hands of Fate (1966). Compared to Coleman Francis & Roger Corman, Ed Wood is benign.

What follows below is my time-coded riff track, for July 21, 2020, when Trace Beaulieu (Dr. Forrester & Crow) & Frank Conniff (TV’s Frank) live-streamed this film, and allowed fans to riff on it with them. Thousands came & participated. I had never seen Glen or Glenda before this event was announced, and used this video below to watch & create my riffs. The time codes are in braces. I don’t riff the trailer, which runs through 2:56.

Sound technician, Ben Winkler– you’re awful already [3:37]

Ed Wood Facebook update: April 1953, 1:32 PM [4:05]

White on white, translucent black capes, back on the rack [4:38]

Robocop 2, Cain: We have a Nuke for every mood– white noise, black thunder, red ramrod, blue velvet… [5:41]

The people want paradise… and they will have it. [6:50]

Benzedrine’s got my teeth wiggling… cut it with scopolamine… five mils per…. [7:18]

Pull my finger [7:45]

Snap out of your narco-coma Bela, the baby needs changing [8:25]

#MeToo! [9:23]

… like a graduation cap & gown [9:46]

… and in a way, what else? [10:27]

Chip dip [11:01]

… and 5-time Turkey Award winner [11:19]

Idiosynchronicities [11:32]

Death Warrant– that’s where the cops play Warrant until your head explodes [11:39]

… with extreme prejudice [11:57]

… such as George Floyd [12:03]

The rest of the time they know everything [12:12]

But we professionals prefer the terms cross-dresser, freak, or fruitcake [12:36]

It depends on their insurance [12:58]

A tragic case of mistaken identity [13:24]

Only the infinity of the depths of Ed Wood’s simple mind can really tell this story [13:48]

Carmelita, hold me tighter… [14:05]

Time, I’ve been passing time, watching trains go by… [14:44]

Camera’s got those images, camera’s got them all… [15:08]

This sensational headline is clipped & pasted in, it’s not even the same font, c’mon [15:15]

… and if He had wanted us to drop bombs, He would have given us manual-opening bay doors [15:29]

That’s why we use cardboard cut-outs for nature scenery [15:45]

… while disregarding pollution and all it’s consequences [16:10]

So what were Paul & Linda McCartney doing in the 1970’s? [16:20]

… and if there is no Creator, then all of this is nonsense [16:33]

Just look at RuPaul [16:46]

Behind locked doors: We’re being made to go into Ed Wood’s closet, so hold on folks… [17:08]

… and J. Edgar Hoover’s too [17:29]

… the little faggot got his own jet airplane, the little faggot he’s a millionaire [17:40]

… I’m feeling guilty I haven’t taken you out once [18:21]

She’s finally earned her beautician’s certificate [18:36]

A couch, electricity, running water, a refrigerator full of food, a soft bed… [19:14]

Is that how male balding works? [19:41]

Everyone in this movie has the same same edition of the paper [20:00]

Hats that don’t clash with their bad color schemes & silly mascots– interesting thought indeed [20:09]

This is native? [20:18]

In the Pentagon & deep state apparatus [20:46]

Like this movie [21:11]

It’s sad really… [21:33]

Except he doesn’t have a car [21:50]

Yeah, Fairies Wear Boots, and you gotta believe me… [22:17]

It was November 1 [22:40]

Water cooler gossip– the early years [23:06]

So I went to the doctor, to see what he could give me. He said, son, son you’ve gone too far, ‘Cause smokin’ and trippin’ is all that you do,’ Yeah! [23:15]

… like Steve, or Alan, or Earl, or Doug, or John, or Billie Joe [23:41]

TMI! [24:36]

No, not the milkman!! [24:40]

.. and depositions [24:57]

Little known fact– this shot inspired Peter Bogdanovich’s climactic courtroom scene in What’s Up Doc? [25:05]

What?!! She’s a bubble-headed ‘7’ at best [25:31]

And for comparison, Glenda is a ‘no-go zone’ [25:37]

Yes, we’ve SEEN the paper!! [25:50]

… while the rest of us wonder how their body parts now work [26:00]

Ed Wood has the IQ of cotton [26:16]

It’s hard for Barbara to visualize when it’s right in front of her [26:31]

… about to be married & lead a normal lie together…[!!] [26:38]

Coming out of the closet as a transvestite: Act II [27:14]

… I’d like to remain in the closet [28:09]

Except money [28:23]

… I said I couldn’t hit it sideways, oh just like Sister Ray said, lay it on ’em Bela… [28:45]

Hit her after, it’s more festive [29:10]

Size me [30:16]

She had just what Glenda wanted, right there at the counter– amazing!! [30:34]

… or perhaps the drool gave him away [30:40]

The weather started getting rough, the tiny ship was tossed… [30:58]

Oooh… your manicured nails excite me! [31:19]

It’s called dragging [31:29]

The Big Lebowski, Walter Sobchak: “Nihilists! Fuck Me.” [31:47]

Hangin’ around, nothin’ to do but frown… [31:58]

like Evel Knievel [32:21]

The screenwriter/director has descended into shameless self-pity [32:33]

You’d have a booming plastic surgery industry, tied into all the insurance networks [32:53]

What did this stock footage have to do with the dialogue? Blast furnace workers’ most intimate conversations?? [33:00]

… and no one else will eat with you [33:43]

Hasn’t it always been that way? [34:14]

Don’t we all? [34:18]

The “man with the book” refers to Trump’s ‘The Art of the Deal’ [34:33]

Then the problem is YOU [34:41]

Glen’s got a problem and he’ll keep punching at it, and punching at it, and punching at it… [35:05]

Now you know how we feel [35:15]

That’s when the DT’s & shakes kicked in… [35:28]

Flashback: Johnny likes to wear frilly stuff… [35:53]

The “new wife” and the “little woman,” do we see the problem here? [36:10]

You have stretched out my most comfortable nightie, you are so dead [36:17]

Hey, we’ve all got problems [36:25]

… but we don’t have any in this movie [36:58]

… or a penis [37:08]

Here is where it’s nice if you have total consciousness [37:13]

Think, Think, Think back baby… [37:24]

Tush, tush, you lose your push, when you beat around the bush… [37:38]

I’m a closet transvestite [38:14]

Ground control to Major Tom, your circuit’s dead, there’s something wrong… [38:37]

… and finally get off 1st base, Glen [39:03]

All of a sudden, it’s a DW Griffith silent movie [39:20]

‘Cos when the smack begins to flow, then I really don’t care anymore… [39:45]

Ed Wood’s Ingmar Bergman phase [40:10]

early Andy Warhol screen tests [41:15]

Surreal Glen/Glenda sequence, clearly Luis Buñuel influenced, consult your therapist for interpretation [42:00]

Dream sequence where seven months later they’re getting married, in the same clothes, in a sleazy Las Vegas chapel. It’s hell, but Glen has been brave in not hitting his bride Barbara with the truth. [42:27]

Yikes! Time to detox, Bela [43:20]

Daniel Davis does Sally Field in Sybil [43:35]

Shiny shiny, shiny boots of leather… [43:52]

She’s not a very good mime [44:12]

Superstar ‘Baby Jane’ Holzer, an early screen test [44:28]

Mary Woronov, the lost screen test [44:50]

Susan Bottomly & Ann B re-enact the Havana nightclub scene from The Godfather, Part 2 [45:20]

Best part of the movie– right here [45:45]

Tying up Edie Sedgwick [46:15]

Careful with those high-heels Edie, you’ll rip the upholstery [46:26]

Welcome to the Cabaret, where everyone is beautiful… even the orchestra, is beautiful [47:19]

[cut-away to Bela]: Action! [48:34]

Ed Wood should have moved the camera behind the sofa for this shot [49:05]

Anybody got a clue what this is? Let’s ask Bela… [49:45]

Martine Bartlett, stop torturing me from my childhood! [50:16]

When we grew up and went to school there were certain teachers who would hurt the children anyway they could… [50:36]

Tear down the wall!! Tear down the wall!! [51:02]

He’s once, twice, Three Times a Lady… [51:43]

Brutal sound editing. Tape hiss, jump cuts, distortion, wobble & wow– with no low-end fidelity. Makes Mitch Miller sound brilliant by comparison. [52:06]

Wagnerian melodrama [53:05]

She wears a bullet bra too! (Ed Wood gets a woody) [53:20]

Mythical warhorses are carrying our psychically defeated transvestite hero off to Valhalla. It’s what Ed Wood is trying to convey here through the music, only he didn’t have the budget (or imagination) for visuals. [53:36]

This devil needs advanced bone grafting, and a dental implant to replace #7– the upper right lateral incisor. Or else a 3-unit bridge. Or AT LEAST a removable appliance. This not-so-scary Satan can’t bite into a raw carrot without loosening a tooth. [54:02]

Nice mousse job on Satan’s horns, huh? [54:10]

Mirror, mirror on the wall, when will this movie end? [54:50]

Glen has decided to tell Barbara he’s also Glenda, by serenading her, “A small Jean Genie snuck off to the city…” [55:13]

… and then more slowly, as the painful realization of rejection sets in [55:39]

[Barbara in tears]: You only love me for my angora! [55:53]

Undead undead undead [56:40]

Try and see it my way/ We can work it out / We can work it out [57:17]

This angora sweater shall bind the two of them together, without being too restricting on either of them [57:36]

Past life, huh? I have to admit my past lives are very complicated, especially during the Middle Ages. This is very advanced stuff, for sure. [58:04]

How do we know you’re not lying, Timothy Farrell? We need proof, this is science [58:11]

… unless it’s taught, say by using an psuedo-instructional film, such as this one [58:27]

This is achieved by canceling all catalog subscriptions to Victoria’s Secret [58:49]

That’s how it works when you write a book, creative control– yup [59:14]

… just like Pearl Forrester always wanted a girl, but had Clayton ‘Deborah Susan’ Forrester instead [59:32]

Because he sucked at sports [59:39]

A total reject [59:52]

Glen, can you run to the drug store and get mommy a package of tampons? [1:00:05]

Piece of Mind, Iron Maiden rules [1:00:12]

His particular perversions? [1:00:27]

Dear diary, I soiled my fresh silk panties & slip while hitting the beach at Guadalcanal. The shame of it all made me want to die, but I courageously pressed on. I suffered three broken nails in the assault. I wonder if that qualifies me for the Purple Heart? It would look great with my see-through teri-top & thong. [1:01:04]

Padding out the film with WW2 stock footage [1:01:40]

WW2 ended, and Ed Wood learned nothing from it [1:02:08]

But Alan most coveted being splashed on the cover of Vogue magazine, the September Issue [1:02:24]

… using eminent domain [1:02:46]

So Alan had a big dick, and also a small, hard-to-detect vagina? I’m starting to not believe this human hermaphrodite stuff. [1:03:08]

“Easy to see,” if you’re delusional and not-too-swift [1:03:40]

These hormone shots caused cruel & unknown side-effects, which shortened his life, and caused Alan to die horribly & painfully [1:04:09]

Lady Godiva here dressed so demurely, pats the head of another curly haired boy, just another toy… [1:04:33]

It’s like going to the dentist everyday, who wants that? [1:04:47]

Early boob job massacre [1:05:02]

John Cale: One goes here… Lou Reed: One goes there. [1:05:25]

Not a spot of blood on any of them, they must be technically brilliant! [1:05:39]

OUCH!!! [1:05:54]

Silent film Bela, doing Buster Keaton all strung out, with heavy Weimar cinema influence [1:06:12]

Oowie, oowie, oowie, it hurts & stuff… [1:06:52]

Modern medicine has created the high-maintenance COUCH POTATO!! [1:07:05]

… on the same person [1:07:19]

I don’t care what you say anymore this MY LIFE… [1:07:32]

Hey babe, take a Walk on the Wild Side… [1:07:45]

It’s to please her man– of course!! [1:07:57]

She’s a woman in love (2x) / And he’s gonna break her heart to pieces… [1:08:15]

This is a man’s world (2x) / But it wouldn’t be nothing, nothing without a transvestite dressed like a girl [1:08:34]

We leased out a local JC Penny’s ‘women’s wear’ department after hours, and treated ourselves extensively… [1:09:09]

Ed Wood is referring to ‘hermaphrodite’ as part of the taxonomy of many invertebrates, only he doesn’t know it [1:09:27]

First, always use fabric softener… [1:09:47]

… while Glen wanted to be a cheerleader [1:09:54]

I’m Walkin’ / Yes indeed, I’m talkin” / I Accuse My Parents [1:10:10]

In this alcoholic family, Ed Wood was the lost child, and thus the unhealthy paradigm was constructed [1:10:20]

“Putting your foot down” pushes him right back into the closet, sweetie– pay attention Barbara [1:11:00]

That’s a good girl, Barbara. Don’t you love happy endings? [1:11:18]

Cut-outs for the ‘Glen or Glenda’ soundtrack were notched in the center [1:11:35]

Don’t even narrate that as a joke [1:11:45]

We’re a happy family (3x) / Me, mom & daddy… [1:12:00]

Let’s leave that to Warhol, Fassbinder, or John Waters [1:12:24]

Undead undead undead!! [1:12:35]

Disclaimer: This film you just saw was based on a true story, only everything was changed, because the director & cast are dysfunctional, and not the brightest crayons in the box. [1:13:19]

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N-words

Let’s talk about N-words. This is the term white people must use, as they can’t say the original slur word without being racist, and since black people use it everyday to refer to themselves. We need to let white people in on this discussion, to avoid being racialist & make progress. And for the historical record, ‘R-words’ are the Native American racist slur equivalent to N-words. As for Hispanics, there are so many impoverished sorta Ricans & so forth, that it’s only fair to let them use this ghetto slang too.

One thing I know about black power is that when you get a bunch of crazy & motivated N-words together, shit goes down. A ‘crazy N-word’ is defined as someone who volunteers for a suicide mission, gets the job done, and then comes back & says to you, “What else you got?” When that hooks up with Trotskyism, major shit will go down. I’m somewhere between Lenny Bruce, Richard Pryor & George Carlin on this. Anyone else laughing?

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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.

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