The man who caused the 2016 election and potentially 2020.

Ever read a run on sentence? Like a really bad one? Like a really, really bad one.

Like imagine if you had a twelve year old tabby cat that is rather spry for its age and when you were not looking at about eleven after five the cat went outside and you couldn’t find it and you ran into your neighbors and they said they didn’t see it they did want to ask you if you had seen that really interesting show on television about how their cousin Brian Williams from Albany, New York was going to be part of the US Bobsled team but was actually or at least nearly dropped because he didn’t use the proper sanitary box for his November 5th urine sample and so you decided to go get a beer with them at that new place, you know the one with the red umbrellas that overlooks the Inner Harbour around the corner from where they are still cleaning up the harbour from what use to be a paint factory and everyone is up in arms about because the contractor involved in it which is called Big Beaver Construction that seriously makes everyone laugh anyway…

You get the idea. Hard to remember it was actually about a cat.

That is part of the plan set up by Steven Bannon when he met Donald Trump at a function long before what would be Trump’s second run for office. They were going to do the media equivalent of a run on sentence and now we are all living it.

It’s why when you talk about what “he did” a week ago or what “he tweeted” feels like a different era.

It was planned.

Taken directly from Bannon’s Wikipedia page…

Bannon told journalist Michael Lewis in February 2018, “We got elected on Drain the Swamp, Lock Her Up, Build a Wall. This was pure anger. Anger and fear is what gets people to the polls.” He added, “The Democrats don’t matter. The real opposition is the media. And the way to deal with them is to flood the zone with shit

So essentially, for the base he created straight forward simple talking points that they could get behind. For the media he instructed Donald to keep the media hopping with one specific thing after another specific thing, causing everyone to run defense.

Remember the mallet game at any Chunk E Cheese? It’s like that.

On multiple occasions Bannon made reference to The Camp of the Saints which is a novel published in 1973 by author and explorer Jean Raspail. Not only is this book more blatantly racist than Mein Kempf (and becoming frighteningly popular) but it also anti immigration to say the least as it speaks of the western world being swarmed by “Indians” who kill, rape and worse until the last white person is gone.

As such the idea that this former editor of Brietbart Magazine, which Bannon proudly calls alt-right, would be the source of ideas like “the wall” and “fake news” shouldn’t surprise anyone.

The constant stream of one thing after another is a perfect deflection game, on top of the anti Clinton deflection which they knew they would get supporters to then join in on, a strategy that still continues just as voraciously now despite Hillary Clinton being out of political life entirely since December of 2016.

The influence of Steven Bannon on the current administration, despite him being physically gone can not be overstated.

The character of Sir Humphrey Appleby from the BBC comedy series “Yes, Minister” explain it perfectly…

As such the far more effective thing is counter intuitive. I mean, you’re reading from the guy who slammed social media and is now here after more pushed reactions.

Oh yeah, I was counter-tweeting and liking my side this morning too. I’ve had times when I’ve made a point to not engage as it sets me off and kills my own productivity.

Sound familiar? This is it…it’s hard to do anything like that.

We have to, myself included, get to the point when we know that it’s all about getting your reaction. It’s interesting when you read our news or BBC because you start finding about news you never knew about because it isn’t the Pennsylvania Avenue Soap Opera.

So my advice is to make your own point, ignoring completely the Bannon-built apparatus. Make decisions about how you “can do for your country” and go straight there. If you are running (a) holy cow! Thank you for reading and (b) drop the anyone but Trump thing. Tell us what you are going to do. Say what your plan is in your manifesto. It comes down to that one hard as he’ll thing. Ignore Trump.

Just that. Leave Camp of the Saints, Bannon and Brietbart where they belong…

Forgotten.

Cheers,

Tom

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Alpha, Beta, Gamma…what to do?

Speak low when you speak love…

Kurt Weill

Do you put more faith in a clear abundance of ego or someone who convinces with facts?

Kurt may have been more introverted or what is called a Beta male. There’s Omega too, as well as an army of others but let’s keep to the two main ones here.

Alpha male. Dominant.

Beta male. Submissive.

Off the top of my head I can add the names Nick Drake, Vincent Van Gogh, and Robin Guthrie of the Cocteau Twins as strongly potential Beta males.

Alpha males are far easier to spot as they naturally feel perfectly ok under the intensity of white hot light. Most actors, politicians, employers, sports figures fit here but… ok…Frank Sinatra, Stephen Colbert and…yes, you guessed it…Donald Trump.

There’s things I’ve heard, read and experienced where the reality of Beta males comes into question. Like shouldn’t they not be like that and step up as it were. I see the point because it is really what it is about Alphas that we naturally like.

An Alpha will look you in the eye and shake your hand (typically) and will sell you something with actual confidence. You feel confident with them. It puts your mind at ease. They are the company breadwinner, the pointman and the guy at the front.

Betas get flustered. They might be extremely intelligent but when asked to produce on the spot it throws the whole game. Betas can’t sell it smoothly and have to work like crazy to play the same game. They are usually at the back and prefer that.  Sometimes men are dominant or submissive depending on the situation as well but when someone is not the supremely outgoing/extroverted/Alpha-type as I’m not for the most part, that does tend to be the default setting.

Anyways, here’s the thing…we need both guys.

It’s the ying and yang of how it works. It is ludicrous to try to impose Alpha rules on Betas like Vincent Van Gogh should have really left his ear alone and took up, say, tackle football. The kind of man he was gave us the beauty of his work.

Same with Nick Drake who had a very difficult time due to shyness and depression to perform live. And yet Nick’s beautiful sound still resonates today. Sometimes you want to muscular sound of Van Halen’s Jump and sometimes you want the soft, close sound of Nick Drake’s Riverman

To wrap up this one… here’s Five Leaves Left – Nick Drake (Full Album)

Have a wonderfully exciting, or chill, long weekend.

Your choice.

Cheers!

Tom

Many hands

Ever wanted to be a rock star?

Even better… Imagine being a central figure of a massive band that then breaks it up to be a huge solo act, traveling the world and trying everything under the sun from different music styles to acting to writing.

Yeah, I’m pretty much talking about this guy…

You can add dark glasses if you wish

…but lots of musicians have been down similar paths from Beatles to Byork (though I will admit I don’t know the mechanics of The Sugarcubes band of the latter)

But the reason I chose Sting was because of something he rightly said in the sleeve of his first solo album.

Since I started this thing people have referred to it as my solo album, which is of course ridiculous.

I know what you are probably thinking.

What? I just called it that. But as he goes on to explain there’s absolutely no way that it could have been a success without the work of his team of musicians, sound engineers and everyone else that would have been needed in 1985 to make that album finally release in the June of that year.

“The Dream of the Blue Turtles”

Whether your a rock star from the Northeastern England or someone working on a company project the truth is we all need other people to make something of substantial value. Often it’s best for one person to oversee the vision of the thing like in Sting’s case but as he said, it would have been crazy if he tried to hop around and do everything. When you work as a team, not only does the whole become greater than the sum of it’s parts (which it does) but also each person can bring the full effect of focusing on what makes them awesome.

What’s cool here is…each part is usually fueled by other people too. As a bassist myself there are plenty of other people involved to make it so that I can sit there and develop what I do from luthiers to teachers to other musicians I’ve worked with, to the entire life world outside of that that makes it so I can sit there and work on 2nd inversion arpeggios and triplets and one-e-and-ah stuff that you have to work through enevitably.

Of course this is a metaphor for the whole world outside of this.

It’s not just “nice” or “cute” to be inclusive and do away with us-and-them tribalism but it’s actually good business. If your on Team A and you want to work with the best of the best but that person, or even part of their network is in Team B, then you either resolve or accept that it wont have that person.

What’s more is the reality of possibly undiscovered talent. The bass playing world freaked out when we all first heard Bakithi Kumalo playing on Paul Simon’s Graceland album.

Now controversy behind the album rightly said things like “So it took a white person for this music to be heard?” It’s true. It should not take one of us at all and this is because of the pigeonhole thing we have that comes from a tribalistic background.

The trick is to have learned we can’t be divided. We are superior as one tribe.

Speaking of Bakithi, for today’s tunes…check this out!

Now I know…a bass album? But again, here is a project driven but many hands to make not just a light load but a beautiful one!

Check it out here and enjoy!

Bakithi Kumalo – Change

😊

Cheers,

Tom

Care for the Soul

Been a while! Part of the reason for that is what leads sort of into this morning’s blog post idea.

The idea you don’t have to take it all on.

There’s this thing going around that those who don’t jump on the comment section bandwagon have their head in the sand or some other failing. Ironically this rant on Twitter, that one on YouTube and the third on that new social media thing that was just introduced yesterday is probably not going to change your life.

There’s connections to be made out there certainly, and there’s things I’m doing now that come from those connections but there is without question a toxic element at play. Ever had a difficult meeting? Do you have to now live one?

If you want to get involved in a cause, you may be able to get stuck into it physically and it will definitely feel more effective. There are people struggling not far from you and of everyone looks after the less fortunate near them, well the potential here is self explanatory. I’m not saying let’s not care about those abroad. You can certainly do that too (many join things like the http://peacecorps.gov which very much still exist)

Look into local soup kitchens, outreach centers or other volunteer opportunities to make life better for those struggling just down the road from you now. If you want to make the world better you can a) try to affect how you listen to others, empathize and make time for them in your own life or b) go to where the problem is and try to help in physical terms. Neither are easy but both are very much needed.

Problem with comment sections is essentially trolls and negativity. You might enter a situation because you care or feel compelled but then that stuff kicks in, and you walk away just feeling frustrated. The people in need are barely effected. Remember the ice bucket challenge? Barely, huh? It was about spinal cord research which is a lie, it was about Als but you might have gone on with that for a second as it’s been so long that like me as I was writing this could barely remember. Now how effective was that and that, for social media, was a major event.

My plan is to cut my social media activity down by dropping the primary ones of my phone, and leaving them on my tablet which stays home. I genuinely like the creativity of some of it so if I see something I want to do it can still happen, but I’d rather live my life in the right now than this thing which is blowing “TV Generation” right out of the building.

Am I saying ignore the world? No, but bear in mind that too much of this is designed to crank up your emotions in the first place. They did it with the newspapers, the nightly news, commercials and now right here in your hand on something that makes you feel guilty for turning away.

There is beauty, love and joy in the world. It is there. It’s not all ____________ <- fill in what political or otherwise bugaboo that first springs to your mind.

I’ve actually started, and this is a grear part of Care for the Soul, listening to this that make me happy, or make me laugh. Part of my work work is very dull, repetitive and alone (which I appreciate is quasi-unique) so instead of NPR political shows all the time I’ve started finding audio of things like British comedies. Now they really shouldn’t be on media platforms (my official statement, it’s fine, grab what you can before it’s taken down) but see what you can legally get on your device that reminds you of gentler times, makes you so happy it is physical. You need this. We all need this. You can’t treat others with life-affirming compassion at the same level as you can when you don’t feel it.

John on the use of the word “Snowflake”

We need to feel connected to the others around us, not like we have to battle them every step of the way.

Life can be great fun.

Much like…..

Today’s album choice which is Kings of Convenience. I’ve chosen Quiet is the new Loud (which isn’t one file, my apologies) as it includes some of my absolute favorites including “Summer on the Westhill” which…well, it was once said that describing something beautiful like a sunset or art is a place where you shouldn’t so I won’t.

Enjoy this adventure for the soul by clicking here! 😊

Cheers,

Tom

Let’s Talk

Just got paid this morning and I’m actually avoiding looking. I wonder how many other people do that.

There’s something wierd about when you just got paid. Bills and things haven’t gone through yet, like an animal released or a bunch of pacmans sent shooting across a field of marbles. It’s like you really could go any direction, like you’re at the crossroads.

I miss that kind of conversation, don’t you? Now some divides have been around for ages, to be fair. I’ve always, always thought of those as stupid. Little kids, with their wide open wisdom, never see that. They go straight in. They play with that other kid, no matter who they are. They don’t decide that they and theirs are from Heaven (or wherever) and anyone from the other side, or who doesn’t agree with every thing they believe, is from somewhere below.

I am really considering getting rid of two social media platforms, which I know won’t help me, but I get frustrated too. This one and Instagram are fun places to connect and be creative. It’s those other two, Twitter and Facebook, where you go on only to wish you hadn’t.

It isn’t sticking your face in the sand. I don’t know how you could because news comes at you from all over, and most of these are not news (and what is gets questioned) so what do you believe?

I made a point of trying to keep both “sides” visible, but this just leads to waking up to anger.

There is too much anger and too little listening. I can only hope that this burns out as it can only keep going for so long. Neither side is discussing anything from what I see. He and her are certainly the most polarizing force we have seen and it has fueled it seems every division we have ever had. It made all the cracks glow. Now the question is can we turn our situation into an actual positive force?

I wish I had an actual answer or the thing that finally brought everyone together like some big party in Zion from Matrix.

Apparently one day we will all rave and be in amazing shape..

Or even to make things calm down, but the thing is, I think it could actually get better if we hold the rigging through the storm. This could break us with the pent up anger that has been there all along. I just saw today that they found writings by Einstein that were not racially good, and I’m not surprised. The most forward thinking explorer of First Nations people here on the west coast was Franz Boas, back hundreds of years ago. He wrote books that are actually in the Friendship Center and they refer to Coast Salish people as “savages”. Let make this clear, he was considered one of the “good guys”.

I always have problems with that phrase straight away. I haven’t always been a good person. I can’t be alone in this. Good and bad guys are for cartoons. I remember a woman talking about living in a mob family, where 90% of the time she was respected and saw nothing but a loving Catholic-Italian family. But, every now and again “business” would be conducted and, as she put it, it was like seeing these iron masks come down.

Another powerful scene involves the most evil man in history, and the one who gets too often used to compare people, Hitler. Where am I going? Well, there is an interesting movie called Downfall and we have all seen that clip of him ripping into his Generals in the bunker office, but there was that other scene with his dogs and his family where he is lucid and acting like any other German older man. And I mean, that’s him. I am of course by no means condoning what he and his did and I am not a denier, but it is interesting to see humanization of that most iconic evil.

My point is that we should not apply Occam’s Razor to how we interact with each other.

Don’t judge me, you could be me in another life, in another set of circumstances” from “Tommorow We’ll See” by Sting.

Going back to before, what’s great is that we are going through all these things that have been buried. It’s crazy because these days at work I listen to comedy shows of the early 2000s and you really would think by how they talk that discrimination was eradicated.

But it wasn’t, was it? And there are so many forms that it has taken.

Ways to divide people into groups.

Maybe one day we’ll stop.

One day.

We’ll learn we can stop and listen.

Reach out.

Talk.

—–

Today’s music was me finally listening to the soundscapes of Sigur Ros, an Icelandic avant-rock band from Reykjavík.

Here is their album Sigur Ros – Valtari

Cheers,

Tom

😊

Elvis and the Elephants

“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” African Proverb

Full disclosure, I heard about this last night on a recent Ted Talk on NPR on the subject of becoming wise and you couldn’t not love the story of Elvis, the Elephant.

Sorry, the man himself wasn’t there but couldn’t resist that picture. Anyways..

The great thing about this story of this animal who got it’s name due to a disability that caused her to walk with Elvis’s leg motion, was how the other elephants would help it along and walk at this animals speed to not leave her behind.

The metaphor can’t be missed. It’s not that a single person can’t have joy or fun alone but, just like the herd, we are social animals too. Imagine if we walked at the speed of our slowest member.

One of the challenges I think is right now before you, and is the reason that you can read this right now. You see hundreds of years ago you were either royalty or you weren’t. If you weren’t you worked for the kings, in the fields or what have you. You didn’t know a better life and didn’t need to. It was like living vicariously through the King. If everything was good at the castle we were doing great! Way to go us!

But now we all want to be king. From Tony Robbins to Top Gun we got hammered with you could be number one, live like a rock star, blah blah, and well, how can that work for everyone?

Sorry for those who were expecting my usual creativity blog thing, I will go back to that too and it’s still me, but this is one of my strongest beliefs, held when I’ve done well and not.

You can’t have joy over here while they are not allowed it over there and they know about it to it’s finest detail and expect nothing to go wrong. From across the planet between governments to between family members, making life the heaven that Freddie Mercury sang about isn’t just “nice” or “cute” or “utopian” it’s better business.

I genuinely believe that you do not get away with anything. It’s like starting your work week at the office by cursing your coworkers up and down in the first hour.

What’s that week gonna be like then? Not a great plan, huh?

Same in the rest of world. You can treat someone horribly and be a dick, but from that you set waves in motion that have an effect. As a member of the world, this effect effects you. It can’t not. Maybe in a small way.

Reminds me of working at coffee shops. I’d see some…er…”individual” get harsh with an employee while that employee was trying to finish their order.

What would happen every single time? The employee would be thrown off there game more than ever, drop coffees, screw up horribly and things would slow right down for that same individual. It’s like yelling at a down hill skier. *Smack!* *🌲*. If the person treated the other with respect, both people would have had a better transaction.

Then add this problem of disparity to the present social media obsession that makes tv-generation of the 80s look like nothing, and…well, I think it’s the reason some older guy like me wants to bring it up.

I don’t, for my meager part, want to eventually leave this world like this without at minimum saying something. It isn’t just ideal, cute or nice if we work together for everyone’s benefit.

It’s how we stay together. We can’t be divided like this.

And now with everyone saying there side is from above and there side is from below, it reminds me too much of a holy war. Those never end good.

Is all lost?

No. But it comes down to you and I, members of the herd. We don’t need a political figure in a suit to tell us to let Elvis catch up. We can just stop.

———

Todays musical special is an absolute classic favorite of mine

Lazy Calm by the Cocteau Twins

Kind of works with my idea of everyone chilling out lol. Maybe I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one.

Aww, should have picked that. My bad. 😉

Cheers,

Tom

What you pay for

mSUB9ia

Fear is the biggest hurdle in poverty.  This is not only because a sense of lack, something perpetually put to you as evident, makes you act in ways that push reason.

But there are those that know of this fear and are only too determined to make the most of it.

They come at you with their ads and bargains, their dollar stores and discounts, their news events and threats upon the nation.

They push you and pull you and tell you that all you need to really do is go under their wise wings and everything will be alright in the end.  They put pressure on you at just the right moment.  Time is their greatest weapon against you.  You don’t want to miss out do you?  You don’t want to miss the boat!  After all, these chances don’t come along often.

Bull.  Can you imagine someone saying that to a salmon?  You’re both creatures.  You’re not missing anything.

It does cost a little more to steer away from where they want you to go at first, yes.  But as people we are not that complicated.  One thing I have noticed just this morning is how much better my day started by just going out for a walk.  Came home, started writing into my notebook (I write on their before going digital) and had some oatmeal with blueberries.  Coffee.  Nothing you would really think to Instagram (some might, I know I’ve gone there too!)  But like the salmon that I sort of plunked down into this little ramble, we are not that complicated a creature.

No one has all the answers.  If they say they do, tell them you’re just browsing.