Thursday, January 19, 2017

Triumph Tower

ON INAUGURAL EVE

On Inaugural Eve high up in Trump Tower, 
The Donald reflected on his newfound power.
The conservative masses had come out in force, 
And delivered a victory that would chart a new course.

The snowflakes were shell-shocked with tears in their eyes, 
The media lied to them. What a surprise!
They had been promised a Hillary win,
But the criminal Clinton took a blow on her chin.

And though from all corners celebrities flew, 
They made no impression, for they hadn’t a clue.
They talked about climate, racism, and such,
And stories they told showed they didn’t know much.

The fake news and ignorance came at great cost, 
And they can’t understand all the reasons they lost. 
They blame it on Comey and Bernie and Vlad,
But fail to acknowledge the one who was bad.

Yes, Hillary Clinton, in many ways flawed, 
Was her own biggest hurdle toward getting the nod. 
The campaign exposed her corruptness and greed,
And her speeches were punch-less as ten dollar weed.

So out in the streets there arose a great clatter, 
It was Soros-paid rioters and Black Lives Matter. 
With cities to pillage and windows to smash, 
They knew not the issues, but wanted the cash.

Eight years of Obama had given them cause, 
To expect a replacement of their Santa Claus. 
But soon the protestors will all feel the pain, 
When the wheels fall off of their old gravy train.

And now all the snowflakes are riddled with fear, 
Upset and offended by all that they hear. 
The cocoa and crayons may help for a while, 
But fact-based reporting will soon cramp their style.

At first I supported, and voted, for Cruz, 
In the end, I would vote for whomever they’d choose. 
He wasn’t my first choice, but soon I would cede,
The one they call Trump is the one that we need.


I saw him on TV in front of a crowd,
He spoke about veterans, it made me feel proud. 
He spoke about energy, safety, and jobs, 
Taking us back from the Washington snobs.

He was dressed in Armani, all tailored and neat, 
And the Brunos he wore made his outfit complete. 
For a man of his vintage, he seemed very fit,
And he looked presidential, I have to admit.

His eyes glowed like embers, his smile was the best, 
And his hair was the color of my old hunting vest. 
His love for this country was on full display,
And his actions spoke louder than his words could say.

He thanked all his voters, and before he was gone, 
Saved thousands of jobs while Obama looked on. 
The fate of this country left nothing to chance,
So, he filled out his cabinet weeks in advance.

The men he had chosen were of the same mind, 
Let’s set the bar high, and not lead from behind. 
He picked up his phone as he rose from his seat,
With a flick of his finger, he sent out this tweet; 

"Now Mattis! Now Kelly! Now Sessions! And Pruitt! 
On Perry! On Flynn! You’re the ones who can do it.
Start lifting restrictions; start building the wall, 
Now dash away! Dash away! Dash away all!” 

The roar of his audience rose from the stands,
He kissed all their babies and shook all their hands. 
He answered their questions and calmed all their fears,
Till they knew it would be a fantastic four years. 

Then he jumped in his limo, and off to his jet, 
A fellow the Leftists won’t soon forget.
He sent one more tweet as the evening expired; 
"Happy Inaugural to all, 
and, OBAMA,
YOU’RE FIRED!

Welcome home, Mr. President!


~ by Tony Olson - courtesy of TOM - lightly emended by FT

Wednesday, January 18, 2017




We All Should 
Wish Them Well

The Official White House Christmas Card, 2016


For all the quips and jibes and taunts
And brutal castigation
This First Family's image haunts,
And begs new valuation.

Both elegant and wholesome 
This group radiates great charm
We should feel proud 
they reached a goal some 
Tell us did no harm.

Their image, lean and lissome, 
Does great credit to their race.
To know them might be bliss. Some
Might wish to kiss each face.

The father’s been a failure
Many say with unchecked bile.
Rated as the Holy Grail your 
Welfare class adored his style.

Conservatives despised him
And insisted he must fail,
While the the Left who idolized him,
Thinks the Right belongs in jail. 

And so we’re now divided
Many saying we’re at war
With those we have derided
Thus forgetting what Life’s for.

Although his leftist stance
Has been essentially perverse
We should not want to dance
Upon his grave. That make things worse 

By deepening the chasm 
That now between us yawns
We kill enthusiasm
Thus darkening all our dawns.

So please try to remember
Barrack with charity;
His legacy’s an ember
Now. Let’s pray Trump sets us free.

~ FreeThinke







Monday, January 16, 2017





___________ A January Man __________

Ghandi set the pattern for your feet ––
Needing methods that could overthrow 
Ingrained –– entrenched –– Injustice you faced heat
Ku-Klux-Klansmen lit to bring you low.
Looking Terror squarely in the face 
Many would have flinched, but you stood firm.
Relentlessly you gave courage to your race ––
Oppressed –– assessed as lower than a worm!
Truth and Courage were your sword and shield.
Cleansing us from same you spoke aloud
Of mindless meanness –– our disgrace revealed.
Despite denials, our heads are bowed.
O, martyred man of God, you had one flaw
They say, but we look back on you with awe.

~ FreeThinke - The Sandpiper




Friday, January 13, 2017


What Do You Think of 
JAMES  COMEY'S ROLE 
In the 2016 Presidential Election?

Was He

A Slick Operator With 
A Hidden Agenda?

A Hero?

A Villain?

A Renegade?


A Turncoat?

A Blundering Fool?

A Clown?

Or Just a Man Doing His Job 

The Best Way He Could?


[NOTE: Please do your best to present evidence to the contrary in a polite, thoughtful way. Insults, smear tactics, emotional outbursts, childish taunts, and irrelevant comments will be removed. Try for a change to treat someone with whom you disagree with respect. Insults and mud-slinging are NOT acceptable debate practice. If “we” are to have any credibility at all, we must elevate the tone of our rhetoric. Thanks.]

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Hubris personified! Ta ta! Hasta la vista! Bye!

FAREWELL, OBAMA

We loved you madly once,  or so you thought.
But now your reign is soon to come to naught.
This makes your story sad for us to tell,
So let’s be kind, and just forget the hell
You and Michele have given. Left unsaid,
We sweetly choose to sing to you, instead.

Farewell, Obama,
Adios, Addio, Adieu! 
Farewell, Obama.
It was no fun, and now it’s done, 
WOO HOO!
Still now and then, vain Obama,
When you are strutting 
with the stars beyond belief,
We’ll recall all the stress 
and the high drama, 
Vanished now with a sigh of relief!

~ FreeThinke (with apologies to Cole Porter)

Buh-bye, Babe! You won't be missed.



Monday, January 9, 2017


Nat Hentoff, Journalist and Social Commentator, Dies at age 91

Nat Hentoff at his Greenwich Village apartment 2009, age 84

“… [H]e often infuriated leftist friends with his opposition to abortion, his attacks on political correctness and his criticisms of gay groups, feminists, blacks and others he accused of trying to censor opponents. He relished the role of provocateur, defending the right of people to say and write whatever they wanted, even if it involved racial slurs, apartheid and pornography …”

“… His parents were Jewish immigrants from Russia, and he grew up in the tough Roxbury section in a vortex of political debate among socialists, anarchists, Communists, Trotskyites and other revolutionaries. He learned early how to rebel …”


by Robert D.McFadden, 
The New York Times
January 7, 2017


Nat Hentoff, the author, journalist, jazz critic and civil libertarian who called himself a troublemaker and proved it with a shelf of books and a mountain of essays on free speech, wayward politics, elegant riffs and the sweet harmonies of the Constitution, died on Saturday at his home in Manhattan. He was 91.

His son, Nicholas, said he died of natural causes, surrounded by family listening to Billie Holiday.

Mr. Hentoff wrote for The Village Voice for 50 years, and also contributed to The New Yorker, The Washington Post, Down Beat magazine and dozens of other publications. He wrote more than 35 books — novels, volumes for young adults and nonfiction works on civil liberties, education and other subjects.

The Hentoff bibliotheca reads almost like an anthology: works by a jazz aficionado, a mystery writer, an eyewitness to history, an educational reformer, a political agitator, a foe of censors, a social critic. He was, indeed — like the jazz he loved — given to improvisations and permutations, a composer-performer who lived comfortably with his contradictions, though adversaries called him shallow and unscrupulous, and even his admirers sometimes found him infuriating, unrealistic and stubborn.

In the 1950s, Mr. Hentoff was a jazz critic in Manhattan, frequenting crowded, smoky nightclubs where musicians played for low pay and audiences ran hot and cold and dreamy. “I knew their flaws as well as their strengths,” he recalled, referring to the jazz artists whose music he loved, many of whom he befriended, “but I continued to admire the honesty and courage of their art.”

In the 1960s and ’70s, he wrote books for young adults, nonfiction on education, magazine profiles on political and religious leaders and essays on racial conflicts and the Vietnam War. He became an activist, too, befriending Malcolm X and joining peace protests and marches for racial equality.

In the 1980s and ’90s, he produced commentaries and books on censorship and other constitutional issues; murder mysteries; portraits of educators and judges; and an avalanche of articles on abortion, civil liberties and other issues. He also wrote a volume of memoirs, “Speaking Freely” (1997).

His writing was often passionate, even inspirational. Much of it was based on personal observations, but some critics said it was not deeply researched or analytic. His nonfiction took in the sweep of an era of war and social upheaval, while many of his novels caught the turbulence, if not the character, of politically astute young adults.

While his sympathies were usually libertarian, he often infuriated leftist friends with his opposition to abortion, his attacks on political correctness and his criticisms of gay groups, feminists, blacks and others he accused of trying to censor opponents. He relished the role of provocateur, defending the right of people to say and write whatever they wanted, even if it involved racial slurs, apartheid and pornography.

He had a firebrand’s face: wreathed in a gray beard and a shock of unruly hair, with dark, uncompromising eyes. Once a student asked what made him tick. “Rage,” he replied. But he said it softly, and friends recalled that his invective, in print or in person, usually came wrapped in gentle good humor and respectful tones.


Nathan Irving Hentoff was born in Boston on June 10, 1925, the son of Simon and Lena Katzenberg Hentoff. His parents were Jewish immigrants from Russia, and he grew up in the tough Roxbury section in a vortex of political debate among socialists, anarchists, Communists, Trotskyites and other revolutionaries. He learned early how to rebel.

On Yom Kippur in 1937, the Day of Atonement and fasting, the 12-year-old Nat sat on his porch on a street leading to a synagogue and slowly ate a salami sandwich. It made him sick, and the action outraged his father. He had not done it to scandalize passing Jews who glared at him, he said in a memoir, “Boston Boy” (1986). “I wanted to know how it felt to be an outcast,” he wrote. “Except for my father’s reaction and for getting sick, it turned out to be quite enjoyable.”

He attended Boston Latin, the oldest public school in America, and read voraciously. He discovered Artie Shaw and fell passionately for Louis Armstrong, Bessie Smith, Duke Ellington, Fats Waller and other jazz legends. As more modern styles of jazz emerged, Mr. Hentoff also embraced musicians like Thelonious Monk, Charlie Parker, Charles Mingus and, later, Ornette Coleman and Cecil Taylor.

Nat Hentoff with Jazz clarinetist Edmond Hall, Savoy Clib, Boston 1948

At Northeastern University, he became editor of a student newspaper and turned it into a muckraker. When it dug up a story about trustees backing anti-Semitic publications, the university shut it down. Mr. Hentoff and members of his staff resigned, but he graduated in 1946 with high honors and a lasting devotion to the First Amendment.

After several years with a Boston radio station, he moved to New York in 1953 and covered the jazz scene for Down Beat until 1957.

He was one of the most prolific jazz writers of the 1950s and ’60s, providing liner notes for countless albums as well as writing or editing several books on jazz, including “Hear Me Talkin’ to Ya: The Story of Jazz as Told by the Men Who Made It” (1955), which he edited with Nat Shapiro. It was a seminal work of oral history.

In 1958 he was a founding editor of the influential The Jazz Review, which lasted until 1961. In 1960, he began a notable if brief career as a record producer, supervising sessions by Mingus, Max Roach and others for the Candid label.

Around the same time, he began a freelance career that took him into the pages of Esquire, Harper’s, Commonweal, The Reporter, Playboy and The New York Herald Tribune.

In 1958, he began writing for The Village Voice, the counterculture weekly. It became a 50-year gig, despite changes of ownership and editorial direction. Veering from jazz, he wrote weekly columns on civil liberties, politics, education, capital punishment and other topics, all widely syndicated to newspapers.

Nat Hentoff in his prime


In January 2009, he was laid off by The Voice, but said he would continue to bang away on the electric typewriter in his cluttered Greenwich Village flat, producing articles for United Features and Jewish World Review and reflections on jazz and other music for The Wall Street Journal.

Citing the journalists George Seldes and I. F. Stone as his muses, he promised in a farewell Voice column to continue “putting on my skunk suit at other garden parties.”

He wrote for The New Yorker from 1960 to 1986, and for The Washington Post from 1984 to 2000. He also wrote for The Washington Times and other publications. For years he lectured at schools and colleges and was on the faculties of New York University and the New School.

Mr. Hentoff’s first book, “The Jazz Life” (1961), examined social and psychological aspects of jazz. Later came “Peace Agitator: The Story of A. J. Muste” (1963), a biography of the pacifist, and “The New Equality” (1964), on the role of white guilt in racial reforms.

“Jazz Country” (1965) was the first of a series of novels for young adults. It explored the struggles of a young white musician breaking into the black jazz scene. Others included “This School Is Driving Me Crazy” (1976), “Does This School Have Capital Punishment?” (1981) and “The Day They Came to Arrest the Book” (1982). They addressed subjects like the military draft, censorship and the generation gap, but some critics called them polemics in the mouths of characters.

Many of Mr. Hentoff’s later books dealt with the Constitution and those who interpreted and acted on it. In “Living the Bill of Rights” (1998), he profiled the Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas, the educator Kenneth Clark and others as he explored capital punishment, prayer in schools, funding for education, race relations and other issues.

In “Free Speech for Me — But Not for Thee: How the American Left and Right Relentlessly Censor Each Other” (1992), he attacked not only school boards that banned books but also feminists who tried to silence abortion foes or close pornographic bookstores; gay rights groups that boycotted Florida orange juice because its spokeswoman, Anita Bryant, crusaded against gay people; and New York officials who tried to bar South Africa’s rugby team because it represented the land of apartheid.

In 1995, Mr. Hentoff received the National Press Foundation’s award for lifetime achievement in contributions to journalism, and in 2004 he was named one of six Jazz Masters by the National Endowment for the Arts, the first nonmusician to win the honor.

Mr. Hentoff was the subject of an award-winning 2013 biographical film, “The Pleasures of Being Out of Step,” produced and directed by the journalist David L. Lewis, which played in theaters across the country.

Mr. Hentoff’s first two marriages, to Miriam Sargent in 1950 and to Trudi Bernstein in 1954, ended in divorce. His third wife, the former Margot Goodman, whom he married in 1959, is a columnist and author of essays, reviews and short stories.

Besides his wife and son Nicholas, he is survived by two daughters, Jessica and Miranda, a son, Thomas; a stepdaughter, Mara Wolynski Nierman; a sister, Janet Krauss, and 10 grandchildren.


Christopher Mele contributed reporting.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Adoration of the Magi
EPIPHANY

1. capitalized :  January 6 observed as a church festival in commemoration of the coming of the Magi as the first manifestation of Christ to the Gentiles, or in the Eastern Church in commemoration of Christ’s baptism

2.  an appearance or manifestation, especially of a divine being


3. a) a sudden awakening to the essential nature or meaning of something  b) an intuitive grasp of reality through something (as an event) usually simple and striking  c) any illuminating discovery, realization, or disclosure d) a revealing scene or moment


THREE KINGS of ORIENT

TWO VERSIONS


THE ROBERT SHAW CHORALE


THE CAMBRIDGE SINGERS 
Setting by John Rutter
Conducted by John Rutter


We three kings of Orient are
Bearing gifts, we traverse afar.
Field and fountain, moor and mountain,
Following yonder star.

O Star of Wonder, Star of Night,
Star with Royal Beauty bright,
Westward leading, Still proceeding,
Guide us to Thy perfect Light.

Caspar:
Born a King on Bethlehem plain,
Gold I bring to crown Him again,
King forever, ceasing never
Over us all to reign.

O Star of Wonder, Star of Night,
Star with Royal Beauty bright,
Westward leading, Still proceeding,
Guide us to Thy perfect Light.

Melchior:
Frankincense to offer have I,
Incense owns a Deity nigh,
Prayer and praising, all men raising,
Worship Him God on high.

O Star of Wonder, Star of Night,
Star with Royal Beauty bright,
Westward leading, Still proceeding,
Guide us to Thy perfect Light.

Balthazar:
Myrrh is mine, it's bitter perfume
Breathes a life of gathering gloom,
Sorrowing, sighing, bleeding, dying,
Sealed in the stone-cold tomb.

O Star of Wonder, Star of Night,
Star with Royal Beauty bright,
Westward leading, Still proceeding,
Guide us to Thy perfect Light.

Glorious now behold Him arise,
King and God and sacrifice!
Heav'n sings Alleluia:
Alleluia the earth replies:

O Star of Wonder, Star of Night,
Star with Royal Beauty bright,
Westward leading, Still proceeding,
Guide us to Thy perfect Light.

~ John Henry Hopkins (1857)