HEY YOU! YES, YOU!!

HEY YOU! YES, YOU!!


However you may have arrived here, this is the old Not Not Silly Newsroom.

It's a long story -- hardly worth going into here -- but after this place was declared a Brownfield Site, we abandoned it for the NEW! IMPROVED!! Not Now Silly Newsroom.

Feel free to stay and read what you came here to read, but when it's time to leave go to the new place by clicking HERE.

Friday, December 25, 2015

Endings Mean New Begingings

I already have the right hat
As you may, or may not, have heard, the Not Now Silly Newsroom is moving to Canada. My time in Florida is coming to an end.

I've been here in paradise for the last decade taking care of Pops. Now the time has come to turn his continued care over to one of my 4 sisters.

Looking back on the last 10 years: 

My attachment to Coconut Grove is a flame that cannot be extinguished. I will continue to visit West Grove, as well as write about this unique and magical place. I already have a couple of new articles in the pipeline.

But, as I say, it's time for me to leave.

I'll need to find long pants and warm socks because I'm heading back to Toronto, Ontario, Canada, the city I call home no matter where I am.

Just like Coconut Grove, I fell in love with Toronto the first time I saw it. That was long before I ever moved there. I miss The Big Smoke and my brief visit earlier this year -- 4 days in September -- only whetted my appetite for more.

I've not seen a Canadian winter in 11 years. I wonder if they are as bad as I remember, although it's balmy up there right now. That won't last long. I've never liked Winter and I am not sure whether I'll survive the cold, or not, but the effort will be worth it.

My biggest mistake was choosing to quit before I really had the means to do so. However, I just hit the wall. Consequently, I have fired up a Go Fund Me account to help get me back to Toronto. Please take a look and see if you can find your way clear to contribute a few bucks to get me home.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

The Birthday of the Ku Klux Klan ► Throwback Thursday

As the south grapples with removing the names of Confederate traitors from buildings and monuments, it's a good time to remember the Ku Klux Klan was formed exactly 150 years ago today.

Wait. That's a not entirely true. It's more accurate to say the first iteration of the Ku Klux Klan was formed on this date in 1865. There were two others.

Three, if you count what's been going on in this election cycle.


"I'm so glad we're living in a post-racial society" is something I say frequently on Facebook and Twitter. I am always being sarcastic because I've never thought racism was eradicated. Ten years ago, when I first moved back to the States, I had people come up to me and say the most racist things, thinking we belonged to the same White skin club. And, this was before that Muslim Obama (/sarcasm) smoked out all the current racists.

According to History.com:
The organization of the Ku Klux Klan coincided with the beginning of the second phase of post-Civil War Reconstruction, put into place by the more radical members of the Republican Party in Congress. After rejecting President Andrew Johnson’s relatively lenient Reconstruction policies, in place from 1865 to 1866, Congress passed the Reconstruction Act over the presidential veto. Under its provisions, the South was divided into five military districts, and each state was required to approve the 14th Amendment, which granted “equal protection” of the Constitution to former slaves and enacted universal male suffrage.
From 1867 onward, African-American participation in public life in the South became one of the most radical aspects of Reconstruction, as blacks won election to southern state governments and even to the U.S. Congress. For its part, the Ku Klux Klan dedicated itself to an underground campaign of violence against Republican leaders and voters (both black and white) in an effort to reverse the policies of Radical Reconstruction and restore white supremacy in the South. They were joined in this struggle by similar organizations such as the Knights of the White Camelia (launched in Louisiana in 1867) and the White Brotherhood. At least 10 percent of the black legislators elected during the 1867-1868 constitutional conventions became of violence during Reconstruction, including seven who were killed. White Republicans (derided as “carpetbaggers” and “scalawags”) and black institutions such as schools and churches—symbols of black autonomy—were also targets for Klan attacks.

By 1870, the Ku Klux Klan had branches in nearly every southern state. Even at its height, the Klan did not boast a well-organized structure or clear leadership. Local Klan members–often wearing masks and dressed in the organization’s signature long white robes and hoods–usually carried out their attacks at night, acting on their own but in support of the common goals of defeating Radical Reconstruction and restoring white supremacy in the South. Klan activity flourished particularly in the regions of the South where blacks were a minority or a small majority of the population, and was relatively limited in others. Among the most notorious zones of Klan activity was South Carolina, where in January 1871 500 masked men attacked the Union county jail and lynched eight black prisoners.
*

The Ku Klux Klan was eventually broken up by the Federal government, which passed the Enforcement Act of 1871 (aka the Civil Rights Act or the Ku Klux Klan Act). Then it took measures to arrest and convict the terrorists attacking Black folk in the south.

Then came the sequel. From the WikiWackyWoo:

Refounding in 1915

In 1915 the film The Birth of a Nation was released, mythologising and glorifying the first Klan and its endeavors. The second Ku Klux Klan was founded in 1915 by William Joseph Simmons at Stone Mountain, outside Atlanta, with fifteen "charter members".[86] Its growth was based on a new anti-immigrant, anti-Catholic, prohibitionist and anti-semitic agenda, which reflected contemporary social tensions, particularly immigration and industrialization. The new organization and chapters adopted regalia featured in The Birth of a Nation.

The Birth of a Nation


Director D. W. Griffith's The Birth of a Nation glorified the original Klan. His film was based on the book and play The Clansman and the book The Leopard's Spots, both by Thomas Dixon, Jr.
Much of the modern Klan's iconography, including the standardized white costume and the lighted cross, are derived from the film. Its imagery was based on Dixon's romanticized concept of old England and Scotland, as portrayed in the novels and poetry of Sir Walter Scott. The film's influence was enhanced by a purported endorsement by U.S. President Woodrow Wilson, a Southerner. A Hollywood press agent claimed that after seeing the film Wilson said, "It is like writing history with lightning, and my only regret is that it is all so terribly true." Historians doubt he said it.[87] Wilson felt betrayed by Dixon, who had been a classmate. Wilson's staff issued a denial, saying he was entirely unaware of the nature of the play before it was presented and at no time has expressed his approbation of it."[88]

The new Klan was inaugurated in 1915 by William Joseph Simmons on top of Stone Mountain. It was a small local organization until 1921. Simmons said he had been inspired by the original Klan's Prescripts, written in 1867 by Confederate veteran George Gordon, but they were never adopted by the first Klan.[89]

The third Klan is generally accepted to be that time after World War II, through the Civil Rights Era of the '60s.

Today there has been a reemergence Ku Klux Klan. The Klan's former leader came out in support of Donald Trump, whose racist and xenophobic rants have energized the White Power Movement.

Everything old is new again.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Zappa, Elvis & Nixon ► Monday Musical Appreciation(s)

Frank Zappa before the mustache
There are two big events in today's music history and I couldn't decide between them. On this day in 1940 Frank Zappa was born. In unrelated news, 30 years later Elvis Presley bluffs his way into Nixon's White House and is presented with a law enforcement badge so the drug-addled King of Rock and Roll can help fight the War on Drugs. No, really!

I can still remember the day I bought Zappa's first LP, Freak Out. It was in the Kresge's record department and the band was one of the ugliest I had ever seen. I was 14 years old and had never heard of The Mothers of Invention before, but there was something about the cover that made me buy it. The back cover has what purported to be a letter from what purported to be a Suzy Creamcheese:
These Mothers is crazy. You can tell by their clothes. One guy wears beads and they all smell bad. We were gonna get them for a dance after the basketball game but my best pal warned me you can never tell how many will show up...sometimes the guy in the fur coat doesn't show up and sometimes he does show up only he brings a big bunch of crazy people with him and they dance all over the place. None of the kids at my school like these Mothers... specially since my teacher told us what the words to their songs meant. Sincerely forever, Suzy Creamcheese, Salt Lake City, Utah.
All of that added up to GOTTA HAVE IT!

I distinctly remember taking it home and being surprised by that it was a 2 LP set (apparently only the 2nd double album of the Rock era, following Dylan's Blonde on Blonde by mere weeks). I also remember how utterly confused I was after I listened to the entire 4 sides. The first 2 sides consisted of what could only be described as Demented Doo Wop. It was hard to tell if Zappa was satirizing the genre or lovingly recreating it, especially after listening to the final 2 sides. I didn't have the language then for what it was, but I was immediately hooked. I have been a life-long Frank Zappa fan ever since.


However, as I keep saying, it's all about the music. Here's Frank Zappa's first official LP of a career that produced more records than anybody else in the Rock era:




The unanswered question is why my unformed, teenager mind so readily glommed onto Zappa, way ahead of the curve.

Animation created by author from public domain White House photos
The Elvis Presley incident is a bizarre footnote to the entire Watergate presidency of Richard Nixon and provided a strange capper to the long career of Elvis Presley.

To make a long story short: Nixon went on the lam from Graceland and the Memphis Mafia after an argument with his wife Priscilla and his father Vernon over the cost of Christmas gifts.

First he flew to Washington, but then took off to Los Angeles. There he concocted an incredible plan to meet President Nixon. According to the Smithsonian Institute, of all places:
Elvis was traveling with some guns and his collection of police badges, and he decided that what he really wanted was a badge from the federal Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs back in Washington. "The narc badge represented some kind of ultimate power to him," Priscilla Presley would write in her memoir, Elvis and Me. "With the federal narcotics badge, he [believed he] could legally enter any country both wearing guns and carrying any drugs he wished."
After just one day in Los Angeles, Elvis asked [Jerry] Schilling to fly with him back to the capital. "He didn't say why," Schilling recalls, "but I thought the badge might be part of the reason."

On the red-eye to Washington, Elvis scribbled a letter to President Nixon. "Sir, I can and will be of any service that I can to help the country out," he wrote. All he wanted in return was a federal agent's badge. "I would love to meet you," he added, informing Nixon that he'd be staying at the Washington Hotel under the alias Jon Burrows. "I will be here for as long as it takes to get the credentials of a federal agent."
That's all it took to get an Oval Office meeting with Nixon, who happily posed for pictures with the King of Rock and Roll. The National Archives has an entire online exhibit called When Nixon Met Elvis and there's a hilarious movie, Elvis Meets Nixon, which takes some liberties with the truth and features my cyber-friend Curtis Armstrong as Farley Hall. Both are highly recommended by me.

Nixon went on to quit the presidency over Watergate, while Elvis died on the crapper.