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Entry date: 1-15-2024 – Eff Evan Mecham in the B Day – Letters to My Friends

Dear Friends,

 

Last year we had a lovely three-day weekend for MLK day, and I wrote about how Arizona was negatively impacted by Evan Mecham’s ridiculous and backwards policies related to making today a holiday here. Funny how tame that looks in comparison to the politicians today. I struggle to see how people can get so bamboozled by all the propaganda.

 

Look, I know I have come across very harshly when it comes to the whole MAGA cult. I feel badly about a lot of what I have said because I know a lot of those people who have bought into it are now boxed into a tough corner. No one likes to admit they are wrong. I watched an interview on Saturday with a woman who is going to prison for five years for her part in January 6 and it was clear that she is really struggling with keeping her allegiance, even though she put on the bravest face possible.

 

People who dig any politician these days have drank the Kool-Aid. They are all a bunch of crooks, in my opinion, and just pushing forward whatever agendas will put some extra scratch in their bank accounts. I don’t trust any of them to do what is best for the American people and that is just sad.

 

I have to believe that the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. would have a lot to say about the way things are in our country right now. It’s too easy to say that his dream has turned into a nightmare. I don’t really understand why people would want Dr. King’s dream to become a nightmare, to be honest. It just doesn’t make sense that people can’t accept that there are others who don’t look or believe the way they do.

 

Dr. King was talking about tearing down walls between us. He wasn’t saying that we all have to be friends, but he was talking about us working together, despite our political and religious beliefs, to remember that the right thing to do is to come and be together when it really matters. I don’t have to like you, for example, to still want you to have what you need to live and be healthy and happy.

 

Is that bad? Does that make me a bad person or weak? I don’t think so. Even people who don’t like me, what is the point of being an asshole to them or wishing them ill? That’s just a waste of my time and energy. If you don’t like me, well, that’s up to you. Kindly give me a wide berth, then, and I will do the same for you. That’s the only thing that needs to happen. Why go out of your way to bring harm or malice to someone else?

 

We need more people to figure out what it means to be moral and embrace that some things are just wrong or a waste of time. You don’t have to like everyone. You don’t have to agree with everyone, but for fuck’s sake, if people are just trying to live in a peaceful and respectful way, leave them alone if they don’t agree with you.

 

We all want to live better, be happier, and have more wealth and opportunity for our kids. Why is this threatening to those who have already accumulated wealth and power? They, of all people, should understand this desire well if they have gone out and done it for themselves. Those who were born to wealth and power, well, I can understand how they might feel entitled, but even then, they have had access to the best education available.

 

An ostrich buries its head out of fear. I guess people do, too.

 

I am often reminded of how Ghandi once said, “I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.” This quote reminds me of how I felt in the 1990s when I was trying to learn about Christianity and faith so I could better understand my grandparent’s affinity for the Roman Catholic Church. So much of what is wrong in the United States is done in the name of Christ. Which Christ are they working for?

 

Here’s to using our power for good and making the world a better place. Smile at someone today. Say hello to a stranger. Wish them peace. You’ll feel better if you do.

 

*****

 

I could blame the inclusion of this record in this list on my recent re-falling in love with Northern Exposure, but that’s not the case at all. Los Lobos does seem like a band that would have been played in the background of the show, but I got hipped to this record while creating a playlist for an event at Club Placebo. Kiko by Los Lobos is just a great record, though.

 

There is an off-beat nature to this record that I love. It’s almost genre-defying, in a way, as it is not a reflection of exactly what was popular in 1992 (at least in my head), but it has all the elements of the time, too.  The songs are well-crafted and one of the great things about Los Lobos is they have a wonderful sense of when a song should end.

 

What I mean by that is there is not a song on Kiko that overstays it’s welcome. There are rockin’ numbers and ones that are a bit slower in pace (even psychedelic, at times), that burn perfectly slowly. If it were possible for a song to amble, there are a few on the record that do just that. “Angels with Dirty Faces” is a perfect example of this auditory phenomenon.

 

Another fabulous thing about this record is that I can play it for my students. It’s great background music for our breakfast time. It’s interesting enough to get a few ten-year-olds going and it keeps me tapping my toes, too. “That Train Don’t Stop Here” is a cool little number with a slippery drum beat that swings nicely and a groovy organ riff.

 

“Kiko at the Lavendar Moon” is the standout, though. It’s the one that sucked me in last year (or the year before…they all run together). There is an otherworldly nature to it provided by some nifty accordion work that gets all twisted up with some equally nifty keyboard work. The two instruments weave a cozy little nest for the rest of the song to thrive in. I just love it.

 

I want to drive across the desert under a full moon and listen to “Kiko and the Lavender Moon” for the whole journey. Just the one song on repeat. Perhaps this is a special kind of psychosis, but it seems right. Prepare my padded, lavender cell please.

 

At sixteen tracks, there really is something for just about everyone on the record. You have some more traditional Mexican sounds here and there and some great Tex-Mex rockers, too. “Reva’s House,” for example, is one of these great rockers. I keep coming back to the drumming, too. Just perfect and in the pocket.

 

“When the Circus Comes” has some of best lyrics on the record, too. “The day I burn the whole place down is when the circus comes to town,” is one of the best lines on the record. I love how thoughtful this record is and was intrigued to learn this is the sixth record Los Lobos did. It has a much fresher feel, and I would have guessed it was earlier in their catalog.

 

When I get to the tenth track, “Short Side of Nothing,” I am reminded of my old friend, Lawrence Zubia. I miss that guy. Something about this song just makes me think of him and makes me wish I could hear him sing it. I know he would have done a great job with it.

 

*****

 

The Bet will be back tomorrow.

 

See you then.



Motivation is

just another man's sunny

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