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I just restored one of my student films from 2006 to YouTube with new music by Salon de la Guerre. The song was made specifically for the movie, but it will also appear on an album of jazz tunes I hope to release this year called Hot Tears.

Enjoy the movie … or the music … or both!

I’ve Been Told …

…since I was a child by Republicans that outsiders ended Rome. Now Republicans are trying to end the Republic.

I’ve been told since I was a child by Republicans that there has to be a hell, because otherwise what would be done with Nazis? Those people have now joined a Nazi movement.

I’ve been told since I was a child by Republicans that I had to follow the teachings of Jesus when Jesus scorned their world view specifically.

I’ve been told by so-called libertarians that they don’t want to be told what to do by Democratic leaders but whom now use protests by African-Americans as an excuse for a strongman to invade the cities with force.

I’ve been told by Republicans that black Americans should give up their grievances because slavery is over, and then these same Republicans try to explicitly deny African-Americans’ votes.

I’ve spent my entire life forming an opinion of Republicans based only on what Republicans say and do. They think I’ve been in a bubble. I have been. Theirs. And nothing in it is true.

Anniversary

We didn’t have a dinner out
The plague would not hear of it
I couldn’t buy her a nice new gown
She’d have no place to wear it

She wouldn’t want a special cake
It would make way too much of her
My offer of a walk she wouldn’t take
Cause getting out the door was a bother

She didn’t need a night at the play
It’s dangerous to sit in the rows
She didn’t need a day at the spa
Or to see a jar with a dozen or one rose

She didn’t need an anniversary
With all the gestures such as these
Cause most of what we share is all right there
Each happily seeing what the other sees

And ten months together we’re locked away
With more laughs than shouts in between
We both know we chose right on a long ago day
And are loving our year seventeen

No, the 2020 election was not “close,” as Donald Trump fans addicted to wrongness are going to mutter for years to cast doubt on our system and further justify their own exceedingly poor judgment.

It was only the time line and the inconsistent way the results were revealed that made this election a so-called “nail-biter”–specifically the big, dramatic, crashing reveal much later that Joe Biden had won by a fairly wide margin. This means the idea of closeness was always meaningless to the omniscient universe.

Storytellers know all this: You might be coming to the movie already knowing that Romeo’s going to get snuffed or Luke Skywalker’s going to blow up the Death Star, but a lot of bad news early on has you doubting your instincts every time, and the play has got you hooked. It was a play. And the bad guy in this one never really had a chance.

Remember

You were freed, too, conservatives.

Now that Donald Trump is losing the 2020 presidential election, he has continued to allege voter fraud without any evidence. And some Republicans are fanning that idea to their minions on the street, who eventually could try to stop a legitimate election with violence.

If Donald Trump, a man you didn’t like five years ago, can so easily turn you into liars on his behalf now, conservatives, what hope do you have to articulate your values in the future and win people to your causes? Who will trust you? Who will trust your judgment? Your maturity? Your goodness? Who would believe that your ideas come from a good place and not from your ability to be so easily molded by malefactors? Who would not reasonably ask, “Was being molded by bad people what got you to where you are in the first place?” You risk everything, including your souls, standing by this man.

The third volume of my serio-comic epic novel The Ghost and the Hemispheres is now available as an e-book on Amazon.com. This was the last part of what was originally supposed to be one giant book. I noticed when I was still talking to agents that the size of the work put them off, so I have chopped the novel into what I hope are three more palatable bites.

The book is about the family of Octavio Albedo, a coffee baron who builds his empire in the early 20th century in northern Nicaragua. Octavio’s success helps build the town of Ascension, which over the years sees civil war, hurricanes and upheaval. The town is also beset by metaphysical problems: Its denizens start to think that they are living half in a dream, half in reality. Some are possessed by demons. Others see themselves caught in the conspiracy of capitalism.

In Volume 3, we follow four of Octavio’s great-grandchildren after they’ve fanned out into the world. One is a blood-thirsty, murderous Contra whose downfall comes when he finds his own capacity for goodness. Another grandchild is an inmate in a Honduran prison who’s got a secret formula for an amazing and possibly valuable street narcotic tattooed on his back. He becomes a highly prized target of several gangs. Next is a child prodigy painter in Miami who finds that the demons chasing her family have somehow inspired an awe-inspiring artistic talent in her.

Despite leaving their war-torn country, the various Albedos still find themselves plagued by various feelings of unreality, post-traumatic stress disorder and thirst for revenge—but an even deeper hunger for understanding of their world and what their madness really means.

Lest that all sound too austere, I should remind the reader that the novel is absurdist and funny. Here is the description on the Amazon site:

“A mountain town in Central America lives half in reality and half in dream. In Volume 3, the great-great grandchildren of Octavio Albedo fan out across the hemisphere trying to put their lives back together after a decade of war, but find that as spiritual creatures, their flesh is something best inhabited only part time.”

You can check out Volume 1 of The Ghost and the Hemispheres here.

You can check out Volume 2 here.

Again, the cover painting and design is by my friend Corey Brian Sanders.

Coming soon to Amazon … the last novel in my three-volume work, The Ghost and the Hemispheres.

(Cover design and painting by Corey Brian Sanders.)

Tonight, Vice President Mike Pence faced off against Democratic VP candidate Kamala Harris in Salt Lake City, Utah. The debate was shrouded in anxiety over what doctors considered high risk of Covid-19 transmission, and plexiglass dividers were set up between the candidates.

What were some of the highlights?

–*When asked why the U.S. death rate from Covid-19 is higher, Vice President Mike Pence said it was far worse to imagine the deaths that could have happened in the past under the Barack Obama administration. Unfortunately, this joke has no punchline. The stupidity and ignominy speak for themselves.

–*Covid-19 is on top of people’s minds tonight. Also, it might be on on top of Mike Pence’s clothes.

–*The plexiglass dividers allow us to wipe the communist China comments off with Windex and bleach.

–*Mike Pence dodges the question and starts talking about taxes when somebody says, “Mr. Vice President, I might be having a heart attack right now. My God, can you call an ambulance!”

–*Mike Pence grants you the serenity to accept the climate change that Mike Pence will not change.

–*Pence asks Kamala Harris whether her team will stack the Supreme Court and dilute the court system’s current crop of unqualified, ideological conservative lackeys.

–*Kamala Harris has spent her career honing her skills cross-examining people who are desperately lying to keep themselves out of terrible trouble for high crimes and mischief. So, yeah … that …

–*When asked about the debate, four out of five viewers said, “Jesus, would you stop using the phrase ‘thread the needle’! Give it a rest!”

–*Pence promises to close the gender gap his ticket faces by pressing ahead with the Trump administration’s plan to grab more women by the crotch.

–*We now cut away for commercial break … Yikes! … suicide hotline ad. Not a good time. We don’t want to give anybody any ideas.

–*Pence stands solidly behind those members of American law enforcement not currently investigating multiple members of his administration.

–*Kamala Harris stands up for the future of racial justice (and probably ought not talk about her role as a prosecutor in racial justice past).

–*America is easily distracted by a fly that spent several minutes on Mike Pence’s hair. That would be frivolous of them, but if you’ve been looking at or listening to Mike Pence for any length of time, I’d say the frivolity boat has already sailed.

–*”Vote for the Fly” would be a funny hashtag, right? Sure, go back and tell your 2016 self how well “Vote for the Fly” worked out.

–*Covid-19 is no laughing matter. Remember to ask your sexual partners if they’ve had any contact with Mike Pence.

A cruel loss for music. RIP Eddie Van Halen. Though no one likes to admit it, stunt guitarists are a dime a dozen. A lot of them can play fast. A lot of them can play different styles. Given all his flash, you might be forgiven for not noticing that Van Halen was, like all great musicians, imaginative, innovative, witty, melodic and even—wait for it!—tasteful. He knew how to use noise and silence, distortion and clarity. He understood the dynamics of a song and knew that the mood and color were ultimately more important than the showboating. And in that way he was able to create his own aesthetic universe and expand upon it. It’s obnoxious to just call it metal (full disclosure, heavy metal is not my favorite genre). One of my favorite Van Halen songs, probably more for the attitude than anything else, was “Finish What Ya Started.” Why? Because it starts life as something that could be mistaken for k.d. lang song, gets VH fans tarted up for the hot signature Eddie solo, and then … bang! He wreathes them in country guitar licks. It was as if he were saying “Think I can’t play roots music? Watch me play roots music, assholes!” I always found the song hysterically funny. We’re sorry you’ve left us Eddie, but eternally grateful for what you’ve left behind.