U2 Delays New Album Because Trump Won

u2Dear Bono:

Can I speak frankly as a friend? Its time you appreciate that you and your band’s super coolness has passed its “Best by” date some time ago.

It could have been a learning opportunity when scads of people didn’t want your last album downloaded to their devices as it required precious energy to delete it. Sure, it was free, but even then… It was class that you publicly apologized for assuming everyone would be stoked to have it. Even for free.

Now the news that you guys have to take a moment, catch your breath and get your bearings before you can release your new album because the American people elected Donald to occupy the White House. It will be OK.

You thought Ronnie and Maggie, the 80s power couple, were going to destroy the world. They did not. Trump will not either. Find your happy place and release your album when you feel better.

But do know that you’ll become your better selves by realizing that people care what you think about our politics so much less than you think they do. It will take a tremendous weight off your shoulders.

Your friend,


Posted in arts, cultural analysis, culture, music, politics, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

Patti Smith, the Nobel Ceremony and a Turn of Beautiful Grace

It was announced on October 13th that Bob Dylan had won the 2016 Nobel Prize for Literature.

The discussion of whether his work was worthy of such an honor ensued. It is, if not for his Himalayan body of work, at least for this song alone.

It seemed as if Mr. Dylan wasn’t much interested in recognizing the honor. The committee heard nothing from him for nearly a week. They gave up trying to contact him. A member of the committee called his silence “impolite and arrogant.”

He finally contacted the Nobel folks and graciously told them their honor “left him speechless.” No wonder they hadn’t heard from him. However, he told them regretfully he would not be able to attend the ceremony in Oslo. In the speech he sent to be read in his absence, he admitted this recognition was something he “never could have imagined or seen coming” and that his chance of winning this coveted award was equal to standing on the moon one day.

He also turned down President Obama’s congratulatory invitation to the White House.

As a fix, it was announced that the elegant Patti Smith would attend the ceremony and perform in Dylan’s stead. Imagine the equal honor/pressure being chosen for such an assignment. On December 9th, she performed Dylan’s cataclysmic prophecy Hard Rainwritten in 1962 by the 21-year-old kid from the frozen, no-where iron-ore fields of northern Minnesota.

It was Smith’s performance of this difficult song that was the most remarkable thing about this whole remarkable story.

Patti is a uniquely beautiful woman with a rare heart-melting voice. She was the perfect choice. But the most extraordinarily wonderful part of her performance is curiously where she lost her place in the lyrics. It happened about a third of the way into her performance (at 2:03 below).

She tried her best to recover and move through it without notice but without luck. She was too far off the trail. After a number of stumbling tries, you can see in her face the calculation of whether to stop, get her bearings and start over.

She looks to the conductor with deep embarrassment offering a helpless “I’m sorry. Can we start again?” She’s a soul laid bare, putting in mind a terrified high-schooler asking to start over in her try-out for the school musical. It’s humiliating but also requires a ton of personal presence.

Smith then turned to the audience and said, “I’m sorry. I’m so nervous.” She buried her face in her hands.

patti-smith-oslo2That simple, humble admission transforms the cavernous theater. Her audience, filled with some of the most important people in the world, erupts in a thunder of empathy. Their forgiving applause are a warmer assurance than if they were each able to hug her and offer assuring words like, “I run an entire country and don’t possess a fraction of the bravery you do. Don’t give it another thought my dear!”

It’s a moment of raw, stripped down human honesty in a setting of over-the-top pomp and positioning. A lovely collision of two worlds. We have Patti Smith, by day clad in simple knit cap, tattered black coat, well-worn work boots, her majestic mane, colored grey only by the years, combed straight down with no fuss whatsoever, living her humble life in Greenwich Village writing in coffee houses.  She performs, accompanied by a young man playing a well-worn folk guitar, for thousands of people decked with jewels, crowns and medals, any of which could fund the daily needs of a family for years. But they all connect so personally in this awkward, honest moment of humanity.

It’s really something beyond words.

As she starts again, she’s freed to give so much more of herself in the song and to her audience. Her audience daubs at tearing eyes.

Nothing speaks to the wonder of the performances like the performance itself. It’s just simply exquisite.



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Why Your Beliefs About Homosexuality Don’t Kill People

kills-gay-youthIt is deeply concerning that health measures are significantly lower and suicide attempts higher among LGB people, but it is also concerning that people who cannot celebrate homosexuality are said to cause these things. If I had a nickle for every time I’ve been told with great anger that I (me, myself) am responsible for such tragedies…

Here’s an article I have at the Federalist showing there is no objective connection between the two in the current research literature. In fact, much of the research shows it’s simply not true.

It’s a story that needs telling.

Posted in cultural analysis, lesbian, lgbt, Loving My (LGBT) Neighbor, Sexuality | Tagged , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

In Tribute to the Great Leonard Cohen

INDIO, CA - APRIL 17: Musician Leonard Cohen performs during day one of the Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival 2009 held at the Empire Polo Club on April 17, 2009 in Indio, California. (Photo by Paul Butterfield/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Leonard Cohen

Last Thursday evening, the human race lost an important member, Leonard Cohen, at age 82. He had a long and tremendously successful career, celebrated and appreciated by every one of his peers. He started out as a young poet, a novelist, then a song writer and a deeply reluctant (jump to the 3:32 mark) musical performer. It was this last talent that ironically became his most successful endeavor, giving the world so much beauty from an honest heart.

Read the rest here

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2016 Dem Convention: Not Brought to You by the Letter “Q”

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It’s a curious turn-about in an extremely bizzaro-world presidential election season.

Democrats being scolded by Democrats for being less inclusive than the Republicans.

In his convention speech, Donald Trump proclaimed,

 As your President, I will do everything in my power to protect our LGBTQ citizens from the violence and oppression of a hateful foreign ideology.

There were wild cheers from the floor of Republican hard cores, as there should have been. No one can condone such violence against anyone.

But this story from Buzzfeed’s national LGBT correspondent shows some Democrats are greatly miffed that the DNC couldn’t be as inclusive. They excluded the “Q” from their party’s LGBT platform. David Braun, a DNC platform committee member complained,

It is very unfortunate that queer people have to fight to be identified properly by a party that is supposedly paying lip service to our community.

Qs under the bus. The larger question is why is neither standing up for the rest of  those in the LGBT alphabet soup. Why should the other Q and the IAAP2Ss get thrown under there as well?

Could it be that who can really keep up with it all anymore?

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This is What Police Do


Dallas Police Chief David Brown reported in a press statement this morning that “…we cornered one suspect and we tried to negotiate for several hours.”

This simple phrase struck me deeply in light of all the terrible things we are hearing about our nation’s police officers lately. Terrible things, and some of them might be true. We should always wait until all the facts are known before condemning our public servants. That’s what a civilized society does. Those who break the law should be punished, even if they are tasked with enforcing the law. But these tragic incidences should be judged in contrast to what Chief David Brown said his officers did.

While more of our nation’s police officers were killed and wounded in Dallas last night than on any day since 9/11, Dallas police officers negotiated for hours with the lone gunman. …Negotiated with him for hours. …As a large number of their fellow officers lay dead and severely wounded in the streets. …As other officers risked their lives, working the scene to move citizens safely from danger. …Even as this man could surely have still murdered other officers and civilians. They didn’t shoot. They negotiated with him for hours. The same happened in Orlando.

This is what police in every city of our nation are trained and commissioned to do.

It’s police standard operating procedure to shoot only as a last resort. Even when faced with murderous suspects. The wrong actions of a few policemen don’t erase the truth that our city’s cops are heroes who put themselves on the line for us every day, even when often abused by those very citizens. How many of us have shown anger at getting a speeding ticket?

Let’s show our appreciation for these men and women.

  1. Thank every cop you see for their selfless service.
  2. Buy their lunch when you see them ordering at the counter on their break.
  3. Ask them to thank their families for their own significant sacrifice.
  4. Correct others when they speak negatively about the work our officers do.

Our officers are what stand between peace and chaos in every one of our own local communities. Let’s all do what we can do to make their jobs easier and safer.

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The Super Fab Four – The Kinks

PM3062314Those who know me know I tend to take the road less traveled. In that spirit, I want to finally declare my allegiance to a provocative and controversial thesis. When it comes to early 60s, pop-rock, British bands with four mop tops lads sporting cool unnies, its not the Beatles who rule, but The Kinks. Anyone who thinks otherwise needs to consider seven core points.

First. They rocked harder and earlier.

Two. They didn’t think they were all that.

Three. Two brothers started the band.

Four. They stayed together longer, making influential music longer.

Five: They didn’t do silly movies.

Six: They didn’t have John.

Seven. Frontman Ray Davies chased down two muggers in NOLA, earning him a gsw to the thigh.

Hate me, but that’s my take.

BONUS: Here is a wonderful performance by Ray at the 2010 Glastonbury Fest singing a humble salute and tender remembrance to all those who gave them such a rich history and amazing experience as a band.  Beautiful, soulful, emotional performance.


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