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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.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Two of the Greatest Go Out Together ► Throwback Thursday

►►► R.I.P. ◄◄◄

Debbie Reynolds


And, for the politically incorrect:





Carrie Fisher









And, on this sad Throwback Thursday, to all the others we lost in 2016:

Pat Harrington Jr., David Bowie, René Angélil, Alan Rickman, Dan Haggerty, Glenn Frey, Abe Vigoda, Paul Kantner, Maurice White, Vanity, Boutros Boutros-Ghali, Harper Lee, Umberto Eco, Sonny James, George Kennedy, Pat Conroy, Nancy Reagan, George Martin, Keith Emerson, Frank Sinatra Jr., Rob Ford, Joe Garagiola, Garry Shandling, Patty Duke, Merle Haggard, David Gest, Doris Roberts, Chyna, Prince, Papa Wemba, Billy Paul, Guy Clark, Morley Safer, Alan Young, Nick Menza, Muhammad Ali, Theresa Saldana, Gordie Howe, Anton Yelchin, Ralph Stanley, Bernie Worrell, Bill Cunningham, Alvin Toffler, Scotty Moore, Elie Wiesel, Michael Cimino, Noel Neill, Garry Marshall, David Huddleston, Pete Fountain, Barry Jenner, Kenny Baker, Fyvush Finkel, Lou Pearlman, Matt Roberts, Toots Thielemans, Gene Wilder, Jerry Heller, Lady Chablis, Greta Zimmer Friedman, Alexis Arquette, Edward Albee, W.P. Kinsella, Curtis Hanson, Bill Nunn, José Fernández, Arnold Palmer, Shimon Peres, Tommy Mykal Ford, Steve Dillon, Janet Reno, Leonard Cohen, Robert Vaughn, Leon Russell, Gwen Ifill, Sharon Jones, Florence Henderson, Fidel Castro, Ron Glass, Grant Tinker, John Glenn, Joseph Mascolo, Alan Thicke, Zsa Zsa Gabor, George Michael, Ricky Harris, and Richard Adams (among others).

Monday, December 26, 2016

Putting His Money Where His Mouth Is ► Monday Musical Appreciation

FURTHER READING:

Stan Freberg ► Nostalgia Ain't What It Used To Be

Day In History ► Manhattan Island Sold
Let me be the last to wish you a Happy Holiday this year.

It's only appropriate that on St. Stephen's Day, honouring The First Martyr™, the Not Now Silly Newsoom finds a new way to commemorate Stan Freberg, this time for a selfless act of philanthropy performed on this day in musical history.

Funded by the royalties on his recording of "Green Chri$tma$", a thumb-in-the-eye at the over-commercialization of Christmas, Freberg gave $1,000 to the Hemophilia Foundation on this day. However, there's more to the story, of course.

More proof that the more things change, the more they stay the same: Christmas is still over-commercialized and saying anything negative against the holiday brings about a Phony War on Christmas.

According to Top 5 Christmas Novelty Recordings:
“Green Christmas” is a brilliant satire of the advertising profession and the commercialization of Christmas by the same. Borrowing from Dickens, Scooge is the COB of a large advertising firm, who is confronted by Bob Cratchit, the owner of a small spice company who is resisting the push to use Christmas as an advertising bonanza. Many of the most prominent products being hawked in a Holiday vein at that time (Coca-Cola, Chesterfield cigarettes, etc…) were slyly parodied, and subsequently many advertisers of the day refused to have their commercials air anytime the record was played and as a result the record received no commercial airplay. Nevertheless, the record sold, and there was a newspaper report on December 27, 1958, that the day after Christmas of 1958, Stan Freberg presented a check for $1,000 to the Hemophilia Foundation of Southern California as his royalties from the first year’s release of “Green Chri$tma$.” He gave all royalties from the song to charities to quell any criticism that he was profiting hypocritically from the subject of his satire.
Listen to this way-ahead-of-its-time tune:


In an unofficial vote of NNS staffers, Freberg wins as the greatest song parodist hands down. Not to take anything away from Weird Al, but Freberg took his droll humour from records to entire advertising campaigns. However, the negative publicity in the wake of "Green Chri$tma$" almost sunk him. Here's what the WikiWackyWoo has to say about that:

Release

At first, Capitol Records refused to release the record. Lloyd Dunn, the president of Capitol, told Freberg the record was offensive to everybody in advertising, and predicted that Freberg would never work in advertising again. Freberg responded with his intent to end his entire recording contract with Capitol. He spoke to a contact at Verve Records, and the company offered to release the record without even hearing it. Faced with this, Capitol finally decided to release it but provided no publicity at all.
 

Initial reception

The record was attacked in advertising trade magazines. It was played only twice in New York by one disc jockey, and the station's sales department threatened to have him fired if he played it again. KMPC in Los Angeles played the record, but some advertisers required that their ads be scheduled more than fifteen minutes away from it. An editorial in the Los Angeles Times condemned it, but the author later admitted he had not listened to it. Similarly, Robert Wood, the station manager of KCBS-TV in Los Angeles (later president of CBS), cancelled a TV interview with Freberg because the record was "sacrilegious" and he did not need to hear it because he had read about it.[2] KRLA, Pasadena (Freberg's hometown) showed it as reaching #3 in popularity in their printed survey. It is unclear whether this was based on sales or airplay.

Station KFWB, then known as "Color Radio Channel 98" also kept on playing the record. KFI, then the Earl C. Anthony station, played it a few times and then discontinued as did many other stations because of reaction from the advertising community.

However, the mail Freberg received from the public, including Christian clergy and rabbis, was overwhelmingly positive.
 

Aftermath

Within six months, Coca-Cola and Marlboro, both recognizably satirized in the record without being named, asked Freberg for advertising campaigns. He turned down Marlboro, but he created a campaign for Coca-Cola that was very effective. And contrary to the predictions of Lloyd Dunn (see above) and others, Freberg's advertising campaigns continued to be in demand and successful for decades.

Some years later, Time magazine was going to publish an essay in their Christmas issue about the overcommercialization of Christmas, including considerable attention to Green Chri$tma$. The essay was killed at the last minute due to pressure from their sales department.
That wasn't the only time Freberg took a crack at Christmas, nor at Jack Webb for that matter, who he also parodied in St. George and the Dragonet, and Little Blue Riding Hood, and Christmas Dragnet, all from 1953:


Sadly Stan Freberg died almost 3 years ago, in April of 2015. Read his NYT obit, Stan Freberg, Madcap Adman and Satirist, Dies at 88, for a deeper dive into this hilarious satirist's life.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Subversive Cartoons ► Saturday Morning Cartoons

Not every cartoon is safe for Saturday morning kiddie shows.  Here's a terrific documentary called Cartoons Kick Ass; A History of Subversive Animation. Ironically this doc is NSFW.


It's followed by one of my favourite subversive cartoons.



Sadly Part 3 seems unembedable,
but you can WATCH IT HERE.


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Thursday, December 22, 2016

Musical Premieres ► Throwback Thursday

Painting by Joseph Karl Stieler
On this day in 1808 Ludwig van Beethoven premiered his most well-known composition. The first 8 notes of Beethoven's Fifth Symphony are immediately recognizable. 

Not only did he premiere-- and conduct -- the Fifth, but this concert at the Theater an der Wien in Vienna goes down in history as one of his most famous. It also saw the world premier of his Sixth Symphony. Other compositions on the bill that night were Beethoven's Fourth Piano Concerto, premiered at a private event a year earlier, but this was its first public performance; and Choral Fantasy, so new the ink on the manuscript had barely time to dry. These last two performances featured Beethoven playing the piano.

This concert itself has become famous. As the WikiWackyWoo tells us
The Beethoven concert of 22 December 1808 was a benefit concert held for Ludwig van Beethoven at the Theater an der Wien in Vienna that featured the public premieres of Beethoven's Fifth and Sixth Symphonies, the Fourth Piano Concerto and the Choral Fantasy. This concert, then called an Akademie, occurred in a very cold hall and was approximately four hours duration. Its featured performers were an orchestra, chorus, vocal soloists, and the composer as piano soloist. Beethoven biographer Barry Cooper refers to the concert, in terms of its content, as the "most remarkable" of Beethoven's career".[1]
This would be the last time Beethoven performed a piano concerto before an audience. Again the Wiki picks up the story:
Beethoven's hearing loss did not prevent him from composing music, but it made playing at concerts—a lucrative source of income—increasingly difficult. After a failed attempt in 1811 to perform his own Piano Concerto No. 5 (the "Emperor"), which was premiered by his student Carl Czerny, he never performed in public again until he directed the premiere performance of the Ninth Symphony in 1824, which involved him giving cues to conductor Michael Umlauf.[52]
But, as we say in the Not Now Silly Newsroom, it's all about the music:



And just for fun:

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If you've liked anything you've read at the Not Now Silly Newsroom,  please consider donating to my Go Fund Me campaign to Support Investigative Journalism. My Freedom of Information requests from the City of Miami are beginning to add up, not to mention all the other costs of researching systemic racism and corruption in Coconut Grove.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

My Father Who Art In Heaven ► A Pastoral Letter

Dear Pastor Kenny:

Thank you so much for the book. It was on my doorstep when I arrived home. I was locked out when I got here (long story), so I read it and finished it while waiting for the locksmith. It brought me to tears, but many things do these days. My emotions are still raw.

It is a wonderful book which I will now recommend to others who have just lost a loved one.

It was also wonderful for you and Julia to come to Pops' Shiva on Sunday. It meant so much to me. Aside from the fact that you were the only friend of mine to be invited, it somehow closed a loop that began when we met on Gilchrist Street 59 years ago.

[And, it was just slightly subversive to have a pastor and a priest in a clerical collar at the most solemn of Jewish gatherings.]

Fifty-nine years is a very long time, but a mere blink of the eye in the scheme of things. I wonder if we had not lost touch for most of that time whether we would still be friends. We seem to share views on politics and social justice. Our only major disagreement is about God.

While I am far more opinionated than I was about most issues, I am less intolerant of other people's belief systems than I've ever been. I can't say I always understand them, but I don't rail against them; only the hypocrisy that occasionally accompanies them. [See: Evangelicals for Trump]

All this week during evening Shiva services I wore the yarmulke and stood at the appropriate times. I went along with the program in a "When in Rome" manner. However, I did not pick up the prayer book, nor did I mouth the words even though I remembered so many of them from childhood. I've identified as Atheist for a number of years, so it feels hypocritical to mouth words I don't believe in.

Kenny, why is my head so much smaller than yours?
There was a time, Ken, when I did say the words, even if I didn't feel them. But one day the that light bulb went on and I have never been able to turn it off. Yes, brother, I have seen the light. Hallelujah!!! No more hypocrisy for me. [If only!]

Yet, there are times I discover -- or, as is more likely, people point it out to me -- that I have said, or done, something hypocritical. I can't proceed until I've made amends (if needs be) or examined my hypocrisy from every conceivable angle. Only then do I feel I can forgive myself for being a hypocrite.

Forgiveness is a big part of your religion, Kenny, and I marvel at the ability to forgive others. This is something I find extremely difficult to do, if not downright impossible, when I have been wronged by someone.

As you know my writing and research has taken me into a unique Black neighbourhood in Coconut Grove. Through that I have met priests and pastors, military men and women, and older folk who have lived through many of the years of our racist country's racist past (not that racism has ended by any means). One question I ask over and over again is where do they find the compassion and empathy to forgive those who have wronged them. They've all said the same thing, if not with the same exact words: Our religion, our God, our belief in Jesus instructs us, compels us, reminds us to forgive.

That whole God thing must be pretty powerful if it can be used as both a shield and a sword against the hate directed their way.

Where am I going with this? 

Just as I was leaving Michigan I had a massive blow-up with one of my sisters. It came as I was trying to get over the hump of our last blow-up, which happened almost exactly 1 year ago. We've barely spoken since then because she started last year by saying "You may never talk to me again after I say this, but..."

I decided I would let her be right and I was totally comfortable with that. I won't be verbally abused by anybody, even -- or especially -- my own sister.

However, what made me decide to circle the square was 2 things: First, all week during evening Shiva services God, family, and forgiveness were all mentioned several times. I'm not the sharpest knife in the drawer, but it started to penetrate my thick skull.

However, it was a story a gentleman told me after Shiva services one night that made me decide to make amends. Here's his story in a nutshell:
Years ago when this gent (who is our age) was just a young man, he learned he had an aunt he never knew about and no one ever spoke of. It was his mother's sister. So he decided he was going to find her and reach out to her. Eventually he discovered a woman in Florida with the right name, but it was a relatively common Jewish name.

He called her up and said, "I'm so-and-so and my mother is so-and-so and you may be my aunt."

The woman started screaming at him, "No! I'm not her! I don't know who you are talking about! And, don't ever call me again!!!" She hung up on him.


However, during this time he also discovered he had a cousin about his own age and reached out to him. As it turned out the woman in Florida was his aunt after all.

So the cousin, thrilled to have reconnected with a long-lost relative, called his mother and told her about this. Then he asked if she could send him some of his boyhood pictures so he could show them to my storyteller. His mother agreed to send the pictures, but told her own son never to contact her again!!!
This incident that had occurred decades earlier -- which was apparently over who would get to wear a fancy dress when they were children -- was still fracturing the family.

It was this story, far more than the religious services, that made me decide to make up with my own sister. Who needs this kind of strife in one's life?

My conversation with my sister went sideways immediately. In less than a minute we were screaming at each other. My sister was purposely hateful, hurtful, and abusive. Getting nasty in a fight -- fighting to wound as opposed to to arguing to get to a mutually agreeable point -- seems to be my sister's comfort zone when things are not going her way. She brings a bazooka to a spitball fight.

She attacked me in several ways that would have shocked you had you heard it. It certainly shocked the accidental ear-witnesses, of which there were two. And, it shocked me that she would 'go there' again because it obviously wasn't enough that she said some of the same shit last year when she abused me.

One of the very first things she said was "You are throwing away a perfectly good sister." Aside from the fact that she was really throwing herself out with that statement (because, remember, I was attempting to make up), she felt the need to say it several times. Finally I said, "Then you must be garbage if I am throwing you out."

It didn't get any better from there. When she stormed out she said, "Have a nice life" and I certainly plan on it. And, it may even be nicer without her in it.

Forgiveness? Nope. I don't have it in me even though it was one of Pops' fervent wishes that all of us sibs get along.

IRONY ALERT!!! One of her bones of contention is that I did not accept her apology from a year ago. But her apology was "I love you. I'm sorry we had a fight," which I took as a non-apology apology.

First, we didn't have a fight. She abused me on the phone and I took it silently with tears streaming down my cheeks. Secondly, a real apology takes ownership of one's words and/or actions. There was no ownership of how she had hurt me and she even made me a party to it by describing it as a fight. It was not a fight.

However, one of the things she yelled about yesterday was how when I was apologizing to her, I added a "but." But, here's the deal: I wasn't apologizing. I never said the words "I'm sorry". I said, "We're good, but if you ever talk to me again like you did last December, we're not good ever again." In fact, that was my opening statement to bury the hatchet.

In fact, that's what sent her spinning.

To her that was a failed apology because it added a "but" and apologies don't come with a "but." She's right about that. She's just wrong about it having been an apology.  I wasn't apologizing. I was drawing a line in the sand.

I have nothing I feel the need to apologize for. I said nothing either time that I want to take back or make apologies for. If she's being honest with herself, she cannot say the same thing.

IRONY ALERT #2: During our fight yesterday, with her trying to hold back tears because she was suddenly playing victim after having just verbally abused me, she actually offered a rationale for her behaviour last year and all it would have needed was an "I'm sorry" attached to it and I would have accepted it without reservation. I know how to do that.

IRONY ALERT #3: And, maybe a smidgen of hypocrisy on my part. One of the things I threw at her yesterday was how after our fight of a year ago, she called up all kinds of people to tell her side of the story; something that I didn't do because it was nobody's business. She aired this dirty laundry to family and friends. When I tossed this out yesterday she tried to deny it, but I started rattling off the names of people she told because I heard all about it from several of them. What I don't know is how many people she told and how I was made to be the villain.

My hypocrisy is that I just shared this latest fight with the entire world or, more accurately, anyone who reads this article.

Ken and Julia found each other after the untimely
deaths of their own spouses. A wonderful love story.
One saving grace is that she may read this post and recognize how her behaviour last year and yesterday was over all lines of decency. If so, she may offer an apology. I have never refused a real apology. However, I will still have my line in the sand.

Bottom line, Kenny, is one of these days you will have to teach me all about this forgiveness thing. It seems like a pretty powerful thing and something I still need to learn.

However, while I am still upset over yesterday's fight (in which I did participate, unlike last year) I know I will grow comfortable with where it sits because I have been here before with her and not just last year.

Have a Merry Christmas, Kenny, and give my love and deep regards to Julia. Maybe my next time in Michigan we can go visit the old neighbourhood together. And, maybe I can get you and Julia down here to Florida sometime. I'd love to show you Coconut Grove, which is the where the social justice issues I am writing about reside. In fact, some missionaries recently showed up to help with the fight for social justice in West Grove. I know, right?

Forgive this paraphrase, but "Social justice is the reason for the season."

Talk to you in 2017: The Year We Fight Fascism.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Frank Sinatra ► Monday Musical Appreciation

Had Frank Sinatra not died in 1998, he'd be celebrating his 101st birthday today.

When I was growing up in Detroit there weren't a lot of LPs in the house. However, Pops had a friend who worked for Capitol Records, who gave him promo copies stamped with small holes that spelled out FREE in the upper left-hand corner. These included several classic Sinatra albums from what most people agree was his best period. The fact that he was also on The Beatles' label didn't hurt, either.

[By this point Sinatra was already on Reprise Records, a company he formed. This is when he got the nickname Chairman of the Board. But, I didn't know any of that at the time. Nor would I have cared.]

I started listening to these records when I was about 11 or 12 and they spoke to me immediately. I didn't have the contextual language to know why, but I was a fan at the first needle drop. I would listen to these albums for hours on end, marveling at every nuance. I didn't know that in some places he was rushing the lyric and in others he allowed himself to fall behind. However, what I recognized -- even at that young age -- is that Sinatra had a way of imbuing a lyric with feeling in such a way that made it seem he was talking to me alone.

You may be cool but you will never be as cool as
Sinatra leaving a helicopter with a drink in his hand
I remember how, during the psychedelic era, I'd play some Sinatra to my band mates in Cobwebs and Strange, hoping to get them to agree to cover a Sinatra tune, or three. They couldn't contain their laughter. It was an idea before its time. Soon it would become kitschy to break out a Sinatra tune in your set.

Of course over the years I learned more about Sinatra's career and how he was the first teen idol. Girls -- called bobbysoxers in the day -- would scream and swoon over Frankie. That's what eventually led Sinatra to go solo.

There's some great family lore that Pops used to tell about when Sinatra broke away from the Tommy Dorsey band:

A distant cousin was part of Dorsey's band and played with Sinatra when he was coming up.Then Sinatra went solo and was doing BOFFO business at the Paramount in NYC. The boys decided to head over from Jersey to see Frank. They showed up at the stage door and asked to see their old pal and were told that Mr. Sinatra couldn't see him. From that day to the day he died my relative would spit when he heard Sinatra's name or music.

Sinatra went on to win Oscars and take over Humphrey Bogart's Rat Pack. However, it was the music that made Frank Sinatra special. That's why some people called him simply, "The Voice."

Aaron Samuel Slootsky ► February 14, 1926-December 12, 2016




Wednesday, December 7, 2016

The Fox "News" Phony War on Christmas

Every year at this time Fox "News" ramps up one of its perpetual outrage machines. 

Yes, folks, it's that most wonderful time of the year when God's Chosen Network launches the Phony War on Christmas because chastising heathens who prefer HAPPY HOLIDAYS is the reason for the season.

On a related note -- because Fox related them this morning -- there is also its Phony War on Political Correctness, which has only gotten worse since Mr. Politically Incorrect was elected to the Orange Office.

What am I getting at?

There's a meme going around the internet this week that the call and response, male and female, song "Baby, It's Cold Outside" is a little rape-y, with a far-too-close examination of the lyrics making it sound like it was sung by Bill Cosby.

Never letting a crisis go to waste -- and never too ashamed to lie to its viewers to make them angry -- Fox "News" linked that meme with its Phony War on Christmas to send out this bullshit on the facebookery:



Of course I quickly pointed out how Fox "News" was lying to its viewers. Hilarity ensues.


Meanwhile, here's all the proof you need that Fox "News" knows what will stir up hate in its Christian audience:


Some viewers seemed happy to add Race to the mix:


While others just attacked:


And, on and on ad nauseam.

It's true that in this age of Date Rape Drugs the song comes off as promoting roofies. However, it had a much different context when it was written. While Wikipedia can be wrong at times, it's not wrong about this song:
"Baby, It's Cold Outside" is a song written by Frank Loesser in 1944.[1] It is a call and response duet in which one of the singers (usually performed by a male voice) attempts to convince a guest (usually performed by a female voice) that they should stay together for a romantic evening because the weather is cold and the trip home would be difficult. Originally recorded for the film Neptune's Daughter, it has been recorded by many artists since its original release. Although some critical analyses of the song have highlighted parts of the lyrics such as "What's in this drink?" and his unrelenting pressure to stay despite her repeated suggestions that she should to go home,[2] more in depth analysis has noted that cultural expectations of the time period were such that women were not socially permitted to spend the night with a boyfriend or fiance, and that the female speaker states that she wants to stay, while "what's in this drink" was a common idiom of the period used to rebuke social expectations by blaming one's actions on the influence of alcohol;[3] the song is therefore a collusion by two willing lovers to engage in a romantic liaison, using the pretext "it's cold outside" as a shield against the social stigma of the time period against women making their own decisions about their sexuality.
SHORTER ANALYSIS: It's just a cute song. The outrage on both sides is totally overblown.

Now, let's hear the tune by the guy what wrote it and his wife Lynn Loesser:


Every week Headly Westerfield publishes a Monday Musical Appreciation at the Not Now Silly Newsroom.

Monday, December 5, 2016

Richard Wayne Penniman ► Monday Musical Appreciation

On this day in 1932, Richard Wayne Penniman was born, 2 years before Pat Boone.We know Penniman by his stage name, Little Richard.

Not Now Silly could -- like usual -- give you the kind of capsule biography found here, or here, or here. But, in the NNS Newsroom we'd rather Rock and Roll by the guy that invented it.

Crank it up and D A N C E ! ! !

Thursday, December 1, 2016

We All Compute ► Throwback Thursday

As I downsize the condo, I have discovered some amazing buried treasures, like my old business card.

It was tucked into my mother's address book on the end table in the Florida Room, which I left as a small, bizarre memorial to her after she died 11 years ago. That's when I moved to Florida to take care of Pops. I had never looked inside before. The card must have meant something to her because there were very few business cards inside. Or, she just just stuck it there when I sent it to her and promptly forgot all about it.

In the Go-Go '90s, I was a columnist for We Compute. We Compute was, just like television, designed to be a conduit for advertising to the masses, with the content almost an afterthought. Like most of my freelance writing it started by studying the publication in question and then pitching the editor, who I had never met, an idea.

The pitch was simple:  How about a column on how to navigate the World Wide Web?

Sounds stupid, right? Yes, in retrospect it does sound that way. However, at the time it was a stroke of brilliance. Today getting around the web is second nature to people of all ages, but at the time it was neither easy, nor intuitive.

Those were the days when most of the population had yet to hear the words "World Wide Web" and "Information Superhighway." Computers were not yet ubiquitous. A vast majority of households still did not have a computer. Of those that did a vast majority were not even connected to the interwebs. Those that were connected had to deal with spotty dial-up service on phone lines that would disconnect in the middle of a giant file download. [When I was your age...] Online veterans, of which I was already, were beginning to dump their 300 baud modems for 1200 and 2400, speeds that seemed fast as lightening compared to what we had been used to. Internet cable still didn't yet exist.

Web browsers were still pretty new and Netscape quickly became the preferred way to get around the World Wide Web. These were also the days when trying to find what you wanted was next to impossible. There were a lot of interesting web pages being created, and one could spend hours upon hours wandering around, but the navigation -- the lack of road signs on the early superhighway -- would get you lost almost every time. One of the only choices for a search engine was AltaVista. If you didn't spell something properly, or use the exact upper and lower case, it would kick up no results, or bad results, or funny results.

After a while I wrote about whatever I wanted, not just web navigation
So, I created a column pitch that I thought was a no-brainer. Every month I'd write a column giving We Compute readers little tips and tricks to navigate their way around the web and then highlight some web pages they may not have ever discovered on their own. My editor was also a no-brainer. He did not see my vision and had to be convinced that it was a good idea.

Then he named my column Web Headly, which I never thought was a good idea.

IRONY ALERT: Even though I was writing a monthly column about the internet, once a month I would have to save my article onto a 3 inch floppy drive and then trek the 11 miles across town by transit, a trip that would involve a streetcar, transferring to the subway, transferring to another subway line, and then a trolley bus to the We Compute offices. With luck I could be there in an hour, but if there were any delays, it could take me as much as 2.5 hours.

Incidentally, that's where I first met Roxanne Tellier, whose writing I have followed ever since. She's also become a very dear friend over the years and I get to see her whenever I visit Toronto.

Monday, November 28, 2016

John Lennon's Last Concert Appearance ► Monday Musical Appreciation

Read the official report at
Elton John's official website:


40 Years Ago Today…Elton
and John Lennon In Concert

Part 1
Part 2
On this day in 1974 John Ono Lennon made his very last concert appearance, on stage at Madison Square Garden.

This was not a Lennon concert. It was an Elton John show and Lennon was a surprise guest. He was there to fulfill a bet he and Elton made after recording "Whatever Gets You Through the Night." According to Ultimate Classic Rock:
It began with the bet. Elton John sang and played piano on both “Surprise Surprise (Sweet Bird of Paradox)” and “Whatever Gets You Thru the Night” for Lennon’s 1974 album Walls and Bridges. To that point, Lennon had been the only former Beatle who’d never achieved a solo No. 1 single — a streak Elton suggested would be snapped by “Whatever.” So confident was Elton, in fact, that he suggested a little wager.

“He sang harmony on it and he really did a damn good job,” Lennon told David Sheff in 1980. “So, I sort of halfheartedly promised that if ‘Whatever Gets You Thru the Night’ became No. 1, which I had no reason to expect, I’d do Madison Square Garden with him. So one day Elton called and said, ‘Remember when you promised…'”
Despite Lennon's pessimism, "Whatever Gets You Through the Night" blew past Bachman-Turner Overdrive's "You Ain't Seen Nothing Yet" to reach the toppermost of the poppermost, to steal a phrase. Lennon had little choice in the matter. unless he wanted to be known as a welsher

There is almost no footage of the event:


However, the concert was recorded, which is why a fan could assemble this recreated video of the performance.


Lennon would subsequently reconcile with Yoko Ono, following what's been termed his Lost Weekend, although it lasted far longer than a weekend: 18 months, in fact. After he and Yoko reunited is when he began his househusband phase, a 5-year period in which he stayed away from the recording studio. Then he and Yoko recorded and released "Double Fantasy." Just as it was rising in the charts -- as no one needs reminding -- he was murdered returning home from the studio on the evening of December 8, 1980.


This date is also known for several other Beatles-related stories. According to The Music History Calendar on this date in:
1966: The Beatles [recorded] Strawberry Fields Forever

1967
: The Beatles [recorded] The Beatles' Fifth Christmas Record

1968: John Lennon and Yoko Ono appear at the Marylebone Magistrates' Court, London, to answer charges of cannabis resin posession. Lennon pleads guilty and is fined 150 pounds and 20 guineas.

1970: George Harrison [releases], My Sweet Lord1979: Ringo Starr's home in Los Angeles burns down, destroyed by fire.
Incidentally, earlier in the year John Lennon and former-band mate Paul McCartney reunited after the Beatles breakup to record together for the very last time. Bootleggers have long shared this mess and named it "A Toot and a Snore in '74" for obvious reasons.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Donald Trump's Annotated Thanksgiving Message

Where are his tiny hands?
President-elect, and Twitterer In Chief, Donald J. Trump has released a Thanksgiving message that needs answering. That's why I'm here.

He hasn't held a press conference yet, but this is his 2nd video release, in an attempt to go over the heads of the media and lie directly to the 'Merkin public. The Not Now Silly Newsroom is poised to pop his pomposity.


We are very blessed to call this nation our home. And that is what America is: it is our home. 
Oh, Donald! You're only one line in and you are not only repeating yourself already, but saying the obvious.
It’s where we raise our families, care for our loved ones, look out for our neighbors, and live out our dreams.
After attacking people for almost 2 years, you now wants us to look out for our neighbours??? Unless they're Black, Muslim, or LGBT, that is. Amirite?

Look at the people you've appointed to your cabinet so far. Are those people who support inclusiveness or division? NNS reports. My readers decide.
It is my prayer, that on this Thanksgiving, we begin to heal our divisions and move forward as one country, strengthened by a shared purpose and very, very common resolve.
Are you serious, Drumpf?

You're now asking us to heal the divisions you caused with your relentless twittering?

I have a common resolve with many 'Merkins: To make it as difficult for you as the GOP did to President Obama. To make your life as miserable as your mendacious Birther campaign did for Black folk and the POTUS. To expose you as the fraud and conman you are. The next 4 years promises to be fun in that regard.
In declaring this national holiday, President Lincoln called upon Americans to speak with “one voice and one heart.” That’s just what we have to do.
Quoting Abraham Lincoln does not make you a statesman. Quoting Donald J. Trump proves you are not.
We have just finished a long and bruising political campaign. 
And, who was the biggest bullying bruiser on the block? Step right up, Divider In Chief.
Emotions are raw and tensions just don’t heal overnight. 
The dogs of hate you unleashed will never heal. You made overt racism cool again to a large segment of this country with your lies, xenophobia, and -- yes -- racism. This is all on you, Agent Orange. 
It doesn’t go quickly, unfortunately, but we have before us the chance now to make history together to bring real change to Washington, real safety to our cities, and real prosperity to our communities, including our inner cities. So important to me, and so important to our country. But to succeed, we must enlist the effort of our entire nation.
Boilerplate bullshit. The only history that will be made is of a president worse than George W. Bush. Already you have made decisions that ensure only part of the nation is represented. Again: Look at your Cabinet of Deplorables. These are all people who have a history of divisiveness.
This historic political campaign is now over. Now begins a great national campaign to rebuild our country and to restore the full promise of America for all of our people.
Your words are inclusive. Your actions are not. Your appointments are not. Your tweets are not. Since I know you to be the biggest liar to ever run for public office, I will go by your actions, not what bullshit on a teleprompter that comes tumbling from your pie hole.
I am asking you to join me in this effort. It is time to restore the bonds of trust between citizens. 
You mean the bonds you helped destroy with your scorched earth presidential campaign?

Join you? Why, are you falling apart? Buh duh boom!
Because when America is unified, there is nothing beyond our reach, and I mean absolutely nothing.
If only the presidency had been beyond the reach of your tiny hands. It should have been, but 'Merka just lost its mind.

When you made fun of a handicapped reporter, that should have ended it all. However, the people who voted for you cared little about good manners, decency, or Political Correctness. They were just pissed off at everything and everybody. You were the middle finger they extended.
Let us give thanks for all that we have, and let us boldly face the exciting new frontiers that lie ahead.
We are all watching -- in real time -- the hate you unleashed. Whether it's attacks on people who don't look like your mostly White male supporters, or the hate being expressed against you in protests that seem to grow daily. You've managed to bring the country together for a new frontier to:
Make 'Merka Hate Again.

Thank you. God Bless You and God Bless America.
#WhoWouldJesusBitchSlap?

The First Televised Murder ► Throwback Thursday

I found this newspaper in Pops' stuff when I was sorting
I was just 11 years old in 1963 and already numb from the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

It was the time in my life I was just becoming politically aware. Kennedy was a young, vibrant president who replaced Ike Eisenhower, who seemed like an old fuddy duddy in comparison.

I still didn't know the difference between Democrat or Republican, or what political platforms were. However, there was one thing I knew: President Kennedy was revered by the Black community for having championed the Civil Rights Act in his speech from the Oval Office on June 11, 1963. This followed his sending out the National Guard to protect 2 Black students who had enrolled at the University of Alabama, but had been prevented from attending.

It was also during this period I started going out with the moving crews for my father's store on 12th Street. [See: The Detroit Riots] This involved delivering furniture to the Black folk living in the 4-story walk-ups and duplexes in the area. One thing that always struck me was how many of these homes had small altars on mantles and tables. In these displays a combination of 3 people were represented: Jesus Christ, President Abraham Lincoln, and J.F.K.

This president seemed golden and his administration was later called Camelot by hagiographers, long before we learned of his personal peccadilloes and that he started the march into Vietnam that LBJ put on steroids.

The entire country seemed to be on hold. There was nothing else to do that Sunday morning, but sit in front of the television watching the wall-to-wall coverage of the Kennedy assassination.

I can remember it like it was yesterday. I was alone. I don't know where my parents or sisters were, but I was glued to the tee vee. Every channel was showing the same thing. We were shown the commotion at the Dallas police HQ as they were about to transfer assassin Lee Harvey Oswald to a safer, more secure jail.

Just as Oswald was coming into camera view, Jack Ruby lunged forward and fired one shot into his stomach. Ironically, Oswald was rushed to the same hospital where President Kennedy was pronounced dead.

This is the channel I was watching:

It was the first live televised murder and it shocked me to my core. I have now seen the same footage thousands of time in the 53 years since. We all have. But not everyone was a witness to the event as it happened.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Dr. John ► Monday Musical Appreciation

Please read the story My Days With John Sinclair, in
which Dr. John makes a surprise guest appearance
Blowing out 76 candles on his cake today is Malcolm John "Mac" Rebennack, better know to the world as Dr. John.

Dr. John became known to music lovers with the release of his first LP Gris-Gris in the late 60s. However, he had already paid his musical dues by then. He quit high school to play professionally in clubs in New Orleans. He also produced mono singles for a few local artists. His guitar-playing career was almost over before it started when his left ring finger was shot off after he came to the defense of a band mate. He switched to bass guitar for a while, but finally settled on piano.

After a run in with the law, and a 2-year stretch in a federal prison on drug charges, headed to Los Angeles. There "he became a "first call" session musician in the booming Los Angeles studio scene in the 1960s and 1970s and was part of the so-called "Wrecking Crew" stable of studio musicians. He provided backing for Sonny & Cher (and some of the incidental music for Cher's first film, Chastity), for Canned Heat on their albums Living the Blues (1968) and Future Blues (1970), and for Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention on Freak Out! (1966), as well as for many other acts", according to the know-it-all Wiki.

This hypnotic tune is from his first LP

When it became time to record his first LP, he adopted the name Dr. John Creaux after a Dr. John Montaine, a New Orleans historical character, rumoured to have been an African potentate and a practitioner of voodoo. According to the WikiWackyWoo:
He recalls reading about the original Doctor John in his youth, a purported Senegalese prince who came to New Orleans from Haiti, a medicinal and spiritual healer. The Doctor was a free man of color who lived on Bayou Road and claimed to have 15 wives and over 50 children. He maintained a fascination with reptiles and kept an assortment of snakes and lizards, along with embalmed scorpions and animal and human skulls. His specialization was healing, and as such, in selling gris-gris, voodoo amulets that protected the wearer from harm. Gris-Gris became the name of Dr. John the musician's famed debut album, his own form of "voodoo medicine".[8]
Rebennack was not supposed to be the Dr. John fronting this gumbo stew of a band. That was should have been Ronnie Barron, a singer friend from New Orleans. However, Barron's manager talked him out of it and he went to work for Sonny and Cher instead. So Rebennack took the role of Dr. John and, ironically, the studio time for Sonny and Cher, when they were unable to make their sessions.

Gris-Gris was not a big hit, but has grown in popularity in retrospect. However, it wasn't until his sixth LP, In the Right Place, that Dr. John was in the right place. The tune Right Place, Wrong Time was a Top 20 hit. And Dr. John has gone from strength to strength ever since.


Over the last number of years, Dr. John has been releasing tributes to various artists The first was Duke Elegant, dedicated to the tunes of Duke Ellington; then came Mercernary, highlighting the wonderful songs of Johnny Mercer; and Ske-Dat-De-Dat: The Spirit of Satch, a look at the first scat singer, Louis Armstrong.

Just this year, Dr. John also got the tribute treatment. The Musical Mojo of Dr. John: A Celebration of Mac & His Music is a CD and DVD concert, featuring Bruce Sprongsteen, Anders Osborne, Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Allen Toussaint, Chuck Leavell, Mavis Staples, John Fogerty, and, as they say, many more. The concert was produced and arranged by Don Was.

Watch the official trailer followed by some righteous Dr. John music.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

The Hollywood Blacklist ► Throwback Thursday

According to the Wiki: On this day in 1947 The Screen Actors Guild implements an anti-Communist loyalty oath. 

With the election of racist, xenophobic, and mysoginyst Donald J. Trump, it's more important than ever to use this as a learning experience, unless we want to repeat it.

The Loyalty Oath came during the Communist Witch Hunts of the '40s and '50s, in which both Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan made their bones. It was the era of Joseph McCarthy. 'Merkins were being warned that there were Communists under every bed, or inside every pumpkin in the case of Nixon.

The House Un-American Activities Committee ramped up in 1938 to find subversives and Communists in 'Merka, not that it was illegal to be a Commie. By the next year HUAC issued its "Yellow Report," which called for the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II.

When the war ended HUAC considered briefly investigating the KKK, but decided against it to go after Commies some more. That led to 9 days of hearings in 1947 on Communist influence in the entertainment industry, most notably Hollywood. Ronald Reagan, who was President of the Screen Actors' Guild, went before HUAC and, famously, named names.

The Wiki has more:
Many of the film industry professionals in whom HUAC had expressed interest—primarily screenwriters, but also actors, directors, producers, and others—were either known or alleged to have been members of the American Communist Party. Of the 43 people put on the witness list, 19 declared that they would not give evidence. Eleven of these nineteen were called before the committee. Members of the Committee for the First Amendment flew to Washington ahead of this climactic phase of the hearing, which commenced on Monday, October 27.[22] Of the eleven "unfriendly witnesses", one, émigré playwright Bertolt Brecht, ultimately chose to answer the committee's questions.[23][24]

The other ten refused, citing their First Amendment rights to freedom of speech and assembly. The crucial question they refused to answer is now generally rendered as "Are you now or have you ever been a member of the Communist Party?" Each had at one time or another been a member, as many intellectuals during the Great Depression felt that the Party offered an alternative to capitalism. Some still were members, others had been active in the past and only briefly. The Committee formally accused these ten of contempt of Congress and began criminal proceedings against them in the full House of Representatives.

In light of the "Hollywood Ten"'s defiance of HUAC—in addition to refusing to testify, many had tried to read statements decrying the committee's investigation as unconstitutional—political pressure mounted on the film industry to demonstrate its "anti-subversive" bona fides. Late in the hearings, Eric Johnston, president of the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), declared to the committee that he would never "employ any proven or admitted Communist because they are just a disruptive force and I don't want them around."[23] On November 17, the Screen Actors Guild voted to make its officers swear a pledge asserting each was not a Communist.
The Screen Actors Guild Loyalty Oath implemented on this date in 1947 continued for decades. Actor and former-SAG President Richard Masur is quoted in 50 YEARS: SAG REMEMBERS THE BLACKLIST as saying:
"When I joined the Screen Actors Guild in 1973, I signed the loyalty oath that, 20 years earlier, the SAG Board of Directors had made a requirement for membership. I never stopped to consider what it was I was signing. It was one in a series of papers I needed to fill out, and I was so eager to join the Guild, I probably would have signed anything they put in front of me. And I did. That's one of the most frightening legacies of the Blacklist Era: the institutionalization of fear and prejudice.

You see, the Guild Board had not yet removed the loyalty oath from our bylaws. In fact, no action was taken until some new members refused to sign it. Those new members were the rock group The Grateful Dead, and the year was 1967.

Only after The Grateful Dead refused to sign did the Board of Directors reconsider the necessity of a loyalty oath as a precondition for joining a union of artists. Even so, the oath had become so ingrained and institutionalized by that time that initially it could not be entirely eliminated. It was simply made optional. Another seven years would pass before, in July of 1974, a year after I joined, the loyalty oath was finally removed from the Screen Actors Guild bylaws.
That's right. It was the Grateful Dead that finally broke the back of the Loyalty Oath. Masur continues, as he make amends on the 50th Anniversary of the Oath:
Tonight, the Screen Actors Guild would like to express how deeply we regret that when courage and conviction were needed to oppose the Blacklist, the poison of fear so paralyzed our organization.

Only our sister union, Actors Equity Association, had the courage to stand behind its members and help them continue their creative live [sic] in the theater. For that, we honor Actors Equity tonight.

Unfortunately, there are no credits to restore, nor any other belated recognition that we can offer our members who were blacklisted. They could not work under assumed names or employ surrogates to front for them. An actor's work and his or her identity are inseparable.

Screen Actors Guild's participation in tonight's event must stand as our testament to all those who suffered that, in the future, we will strongly support our members and work with them to assure their rights as defined and guaranteed by the Bill of Rights.
With the ugly hate rhetoric that came out of the Trump campaign, we could do worse than remembering how the Grateful Dead stood up for the First Amendment. And, with Donald Trump about to take the oath of office for POTUS, it's incumbent on all of us to stand up for Muslims, Immigrants, Mexicans, LGBT communities, and Black folk and not allow the hate to define us.

Let us be defined by who we defend.
The same goes for Trump supporters.

The Grateful Dead released their debut LP the same year
they refused to sign the Screen Actors Guild Loyalty Oath.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Making Friends Wherever I Go ► Unpacking the Writer

I proudly wear this t-shirt
First the big news: The NEW and IMPROVED Not Now Silly Newsroom will open to the general public on January 1, 2017. Check out the teaser.

Yes, folks, we're going the dot com route.

Excitement and trepidation fills the newsroom as we finally get our own domain name. As longtime readers of NNS can attest, this has been a long time coming, with some speed bumps and roadblocks along the way. Over the last few weeks the dedicated and underpaid NNS staff has been busy preparing for the move to our shiny new digs. We've carefully bubble-wrapped all of the 952 published posts (and the 45 stories still in draft form) from our vast archives to ensure they do not break during shipping. They were lovingly packed into boxes to await the moving men, expected any day now.

One of the things NNS will lose when we abandon this joint are the stats, so let's take what may be our last look at one of the numbers we've run up over here. It amazes me that almost a half a million people have traipsed across the NNS threshold to read what I have to say. Unless it was 1 person visiting 472,851 times. I'm gratified and just a little intimidated. The more people who trust my writing, the more NNS feels the responsibility to publish the truth (as we see it). I understand there are posts here that don't really merit serious attention. The Monday Musical Appreciation and Throwback Thursday, f'rinstance. They're kind of filler between the important stories.

District 2 Commissioner Ken Russell at tent city

Pic shared by Nene MainMarri Coats on Facebook
However, there are NNS posts that I not only want people to take seriously, but to also share all over the innertubes. My recent post, Intense Intents in Tents about the Housing for All Miami protest in Coconut Grove, is one of them. It's the third post in the Unpacking Grand Avenue series, with several more in the works. I was thrilled that Commissioner Russell felt my post was worthy of sharing with his constituents. I was also thrilled to learn that he slept in one of the protest tents on Sunday night.

Not only is Grand Avenue a slow-motion humanitarian crisis, it is Exhibit A in my prosecution of rapacious developers who are only interested in lining their own pockets at the expense of the poor and disenfranchised folk, who are about to be gentrified out of the historic Bahamian enclave that was unique in this country because it had, at one time, the highest percentage of Black home ownership that anywhere else in the country.

Which brings me to why this post is titled Making Friends Wherever I Go. That's sarcasm, folks.

In the last several days I've managed to piss off a lot of people, beginning with some of the folks who attended the Grove 2030 charrette on Saturday who seem to think I called them racist. I'm having a polite dialogue with one gent on Commissioner Russell's facebookery, but I'm in no mood to be polite.

That's because of the fight I am still having with the City of Miami's Public Records Office. It was all I could do not to respond to the latest outrage with every 4-letter word I know. I've been CCing the entire world on our email chain, so I'm not sure how many of them will continue to take my calls.

This month's Top Five
Then there's Tom Falco of the Coconut Grove Grapevine. I had no doubt he'd be angry over Coconut Grove Grapevine, Stop the Lies! I'm just surprised he told so many people because he must know, by now, that people talk to me. He should have spent some of that time correcting his lie and changing his mendacious slogan.

None of that can really spoil the good mood I'm in because my post on the Housing for All protest has become the fastest growing post of all time in the Not Now Silly Newsroom. Closing in on 600 hits in just 3 days makes me hopeful that moving to our own domain is the right thing to do.

Something I've always maintained about the Not Now Silly Newsroom since the very beginning: I don't know what people want. Therefore, I really don't write to please anyone but myself. I go with the philosophy that what is of interest to me will be of interest to others, and some more than others. Not every post here will please everybody, but that's never been the point. The point is to share knowledge, shine light on neglected and forgotten topics, and learn. Hopefully, that will bring the eyeballs that will make going dot com worth it.

I want to send out a big Thank You Very Much to all my loyal readers who are taking the journey with me.

Take it from Kevin Ayers, our most recent Monday Musical Appreciation: