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Mueller? Mueller? Mueller?

In the movie Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, teacher Ben Stein in a bored monotone is taking attendance and utters the classic line “Bueller? Bueller? Bueller?” The camera cuts to Bueller’s empty chair. There is nothing there. Upon hearing Attorney General William Barrs’s summary of the the Mueller Report, many may have felt the same way. The Mueller report has finally been concluded and it matters and it doesn’t. As I thought there is nothing in it to show that Trump committed any crimes, does little to support impeachment, and leaves our best option at getting rid of Trump as the

20 things I have stopped doing

I have stopped talking about what a vile human being Donald Trump is. Most of you already know, those who don’t know by now are hopeless.

I have stopped being surprised by the depths of depravity, inhumane acts, and lack of concern for others, demonstrated by the Trump administration. Who knew that rock bottom had a basement?

I have stopped being surprised by the obliviousness of people to their own racism. This doesn’t mean that I have stopped working on alleviating it, but that you cannot underestimate the racism of American society.

I have stopped being surprised at the random acts of kindness

Disdain for the folks that brought them

It has always struck me that Fox News openly shows so much disdain for the people who are the backbone of their success. A few weeks ago they tried to shame actor Geoffrey Owens formerly of the Cosby show for working at a supermarket in what they considered as a menial job. The narrative they tried to spin was that here was an African American actor who had fallen from grace, perhaps had been profligate with his actor earnings, and was now forced to work in this unglamorous job. Then there were the slurs on Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez first for being

Confessions of a first time vegetable gardener

The task of planting a vegetable garden has now fallen to me. As a city boy I was not raised to grow my own food. I never wondered how produce made its way into the food distribution system. I knew only that it was available usually frozen, occasionally fresh, in the supermarket. My only experience with food in its natural state was when as a boy we used to sneak apples from a neighbor’s apple trees. The elderly woman who owned them caught us one day and made a deal with us. We could pick as many as we wanted

On Lying

My 2.5. year old granddaughter is learning language (two languages actually) and has just learned that what you say can get you what you want. She is also learning to lie. Oh she’s not good at it yet, but she has learned that denying you have pooped can get you continued play even when there is olfactory and visual evidence to the contrary. That got me thinking about the how young we learn that lying can get us what we want.  There are all kinds of lies: the bold faced lie when we say something we know to be untrue,

Notes from the Montreal Jazz Festival 2 of 2

Dee Dee Bridgewater

Displaying more energy and a better voice than people half her age, Ms. Bridgewater brought the house down with her set. An accomplished jazz singer, Grammy winner and NEH Jazz Master, she has taken a self described “detour” into the Memphis soul music of her teenage years. Lucky us. She has released a new album called “Yes I’m Ready” and performed some of the album’s songs for her set. They ranged from an obscure Gladys Knight song to Elvis and B.B. King with stops in Memphis Stax-Volt along the way. Although in her sixties her voices is undiminished

Notes from the Montreal Jazz Festival 1 of 2

In the next couple of blog entries I am going to write about what for me were the highlights of the Montreal Jazz Festival I attended.

John Medeski/Marc Ribot trio.

Medeski and Ribot are matched well. They both can move from deep in the pocket to way outside in a New York minute. Communication between them was instant, as one picked up what the other was doing to repeat it, elaborate on it, or respond to it.  This despite the fact that they sometimes had to rely on hand signals and nods to indicate they were handing off the soloing duties to

Ugly Truths

A friend asked for my thoughts on a recent article in the Chronicle of Higher Education titled “The Ugly Truth about being a black professor”. It is written by George Yancy, a professor at Emory University and it is here if you want to read it. In it the author recounts hate mail and death threats he received after writing an op-ed piece for the New York Times in 2015. Another version of his response to the backlash is here. The op ed piece is here if you want to read it. He is writing a book about the reaction


A scholar I know has just written an article bashing a jazz group for re-creating Miles Davis’s classic “Kind of Blue”album note for note including the solos’ of the musicians. She makes the point that this is a Western way of seeing music as property rather than the African American one of what Henry Louis Gates calls signifying. Gates defines signifying as “repetition with a difference” which is at the center of black art and culture. This Western way was fetishizing the form of the music rather than the experience of the music. A long time ago I read something by C.S.

What Trump Doesn’t Understand About Immigration

Donald Trump doesn’t understand a lot of things, but right now we are concentrating on what he doesn’t understand about immigration. Historically most immigrants have come from “shithole” countries although which countries these were has changed over time. Even his beloved Norway was once a shithole and although I haven’t checked the stats I would hazard a guess that there was more Norwegian immigration then than there is now. Most of the 19th and 20 century immigration was from what were then “shithole” places. If you think about it people are more likely to leave their homes if the economy