So Long, Mr. Dorough

Bob Dorough – the man responsible for some of the music of my childhood – has died.

 

If you grew up watching classic School House Rock cartoons, you know the work of Mr. Dorough. Here’s a list compiled by Jen Chaney at Vulture. It’s a swell stroll down memory lane.

 

Later in life, I came to know the jazz music of Bob Dorough and each time I heard one of those songs, I smiled. Here’s a tune he did with Miles Davis. It comes up on my personal playlist most every year. “Old Devil Moon” bent to Dorough’s will and can’t be unheard, once visited. Take that any way you want, but know that I intend it with a loving smile.

 

I’m so grateful I had the benefit of knowing Bob Dorough’s work. I probably wouldn’t have memorized the preamble without him, and to this day, when I count by 3s, it’s his voice I hear. I say “3 is a magic number” all the danged time. And I have Bob Dorough to thank for that.

 

Here’s hoping Dorough, Blossom Dearie and Miles Davis are making great music together, in infinity.

Lost In a Living Dance

 

Spring has sprung, people. It’s hit near 90 degrees already and since 80 is the new 70, I expect to be getting the vapors any minute now. Such is life in La-La Land.

 

OMD at The Wiltern

 

Anyhoo – I’ve got music on the brain! And here are the 3 creatives holding my attention of late…

 

OMD – This one is easy, because Mister and I just saw them live. I had seen them back in the ’80s, but this was Mister’s first OMD concert. They did not disappoint, y’all, and I think they were just as good as when I saw them – gulp – over 30 years ago. So giving to their audience, so appreciative of being able to do what they clearly love, such camaraderie on that stage. It was a real treat to see them.

 

Janelle Monae’s “Make Me Feel – This one is easy, too, because Janelle Monae is so friggin’ awesome, I can hardly stand it. I’ve been listening to this song on a loop and I’m still not over it. Now before anyone says something about her trying to emulate Prince, know that this is a song honoring His Purple Highness, and Prince was a mentor of sorts to Ms. Monae. Rumors abound that Prince was even involved with this track before his death. Whatever the truth may be on that one, I do believe Prince would have been proud of this song and of Janelle Monae. I love the song. I love her. Mean it.

 

Appalachian Spring” by Aaron Copland – Copland, as creator of this beautiful music, may very well be my favorite composer. (Like colors, my mind changes on this fave from whim to whim and today Mr. Copland is tops.) This suite of music has moved me from curiosity to joy to blubbering, on more than one occasion. When I listen to it, I usually find myself seeking solitude at some point, so that I can cry in isolation. It is that perfect. Since the calendar rolled over to this new season, I haven’t yet allowed myself the privilege of hearing it anew. That time has come.

 

It will probably take a while for me to get Janelle Monae out of my system. And then I’ll surely return to it from time to time, just as I do the works of OMD and Copland’s masterpiece. That’s one of the great pleasures of music – renewal. It comes around in our lives and even though we’ve known each note for years, it feels and sounds fresh. Alive. New. Pretty much like spring itself. I am lost in a living dance…

 

Spring in Los Angeles

Glennon Doyle

 

 

I just received a beautiful video from Glennon Doyle. I don’t know her or anything, but I do follow her and the work she does.

 

The video is about the students who are leading the way toward sanity in our gun-crazed country. It’s truth. It’s sad. It’s inspiring. It’s real.

Soul Sparks

 

Joy

 

This month. Hmm.

 

I was going to start this post with dark thoughts. Thoughts about all but giving up on my country. Thoughts about being ashamed of people who’ve chosen to forfeit their moral compasses. Thoughts about the fear of where America is headed. But then I switched gears and read some things on the interwebz, watched a few videos and chose a different mood for myself.

 

Erica Buist had this to say on her insta-account: “Why not just ban guns and when people are upset about it, just send them thoughts and prayers? If ‘thoughts and prayers’ are good enough for people who’ve lost their families then it’s good enough for people who’ve lost their guns.” Ms. Buist has spoken truth to power here. She is also a bad-ass.

 

Scott-Dani Pappalardo posted a video of himself destroying an AR-15 rifle. Not only is Mr. Pappalardo a registered gun owner and proponent of the 2nd amendment, he is also someone possessing decency and common sense.

 

And then there are the kids. God bless the kids! Too many children in this country have been lost to gun violence. Too many survivors have witnessed it up-close. Thank all the gods, the kids are now making their voices heard. On March 24th, there will be an organized show of common-sense, can’t-wait-another-moment support for gun control. The “March For Our Lives” is planned to take place in Washington DC and in cities across the country. (I’ve even read about marches around the globe. Fingers crossed and thanks to those who haven’t given up on us here in the US! We need your support!) As many have pointed out, these young people may be mere teenagers now, but a lot of them will be old enough to vote in 2020. (I’m counting on these kids to register to vote and then to actually do it!) Every single politician who has accepted dirty NRA contributions should be scared as hell. If you look at this single issue, it’s incredibly easy to discern which elected officials are with us and which are against us. At the rate we’re being murdered in this country, there is no time to be wasted when it comes to gun control. And any politician who tries to talk his way out of this one doesn’t deserve another chance.

 

So. This month. I’m hanging in there. I’m trying to grab on to hope, where I can, when I can. It ain’t easy. And I don’t always win my personal battles. Some days I feel nearly broken and struggle to find even a shred of joy. But I still believe there are more decent folks than not. And the spark in my soul is still glimmering. Every little bit of positive momentum helps. Every time someone chooses to be an honorable human, I find myself exhaling into love.

 

We’ve lost a lot here in the States. There may be more pain ahead. More struggle. But I’m not giving up. Nor should you. Those of us who’ve held on to our decency will continue to show up for one another. Personally, I’m looking forward to celebrating my birthday with the “March For Our Lives.” Supporting others whose soul sparks continue to glimmer is going to be an honor. Hope I see you out there.

My Own Personal Hell

 

Construction

 

Have you ever had one of those days (weeks, months) where you’re just trying to get shit done, but your whole house is shaking because of the construction going on next door, and you keep having to move things from counter and shelf edges to keep them from falling to the floor and breaking, and the noise is so freaking loud that you suddenly realize your heart is racing and you’re starting to feel physically unwell, but those rat-bastards are gonna keep at it until it’s dark, only to start again the next morning – probably earlier than allowed by law, and it’s been going on for so long (a couple of years) that you’re starting to think you may actually have died and are now doing time in hell, and this is your life now, for all eternity?

 

No? Oh. This is clearly my own personal hell then. Be grateful it isn’t yours.

Breaking

To Whom It May Concern:

 

I am an ordinary person. My ego is average (or at least I like to think so). My intelligence is average as well. I am terribly creative, and I own that. Even though I operate this sporadic blog, I do not over-seek fame or recognition, which I also have to own, as that has often led to the stagnation of my career and ambitions. I share all of this so that it is understood where I’m coming from. I’m just a girl.

 

My country is breaking. It is being destroyed from without and from within, by ugly ignorance and by ugly individuals. All the perpetrators of injury to America are wrong, but our elected officials who choose to damage our country are the worst. There is no excuse for their continued behavior and they should absolutely be held accountable and in certain cases, prosecuted.

 

In 1968, president-elect Nixon committed treason, but his actions were hidden and he was never charged for that crime. (Look it up – dag.) Now, 50 years later, we find ourselves with another treasonous president at the helm. Too many of our elected officials have jettisoned morals, values and reason in exchange for god knows what from this president. Looking at the downward spiral of my country, it would seem we are incapable of learning from our past. I fear we are doomed to make the same if not worse mistakes. I am more than sad and I am also terrified.

 

I am inspired by the Womens March and its efforts. I am inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement. I believe in peaceful protest and efforts toward decency. In short, I believe in decency. I actually believe there are more decent people in America than not. But if they’re anything like me, they don’t know what to do right now. They don’t have a clue how to help move the United States away from hate and ignorance, and toward love and kindness. Those words are incredibly simple, I know. But they’re good words. They matter. Or at least they should.

 

On inauguration day in January of 2017, I began wearing a black armband. I did this because I was in mourning for my country. With only a handful of exceptions, I wore it all year. During the last few weeks of 2017, I put the armband aside. I had begun to feel that the act of wearing it was casting a shadow over me. That my mourning was adding to the depression I had felt since the previous presidential election. Depression is hard to carry. It’s dark and it’s unhealthy. If taking off my armband might ease my depression, I was willing to take it off.

 

Now it’s February 2018. The depression hasn’t lifted and I’m quite certain the source is the horribly ugly person occupying the White House, along with the shameful people who choose to do his bidding. The willful ignorance expressed by the most vocal among us is incomprehensible. What’s more, it is un-American to my thinking. So-called party loyalty that outweighs all else deserves no respect. Having lost respect for many people has also added to my depression. Some of those individuals show no signs of willingness to reclaim their decency. That’s heartbreaking.

 

All of this leads me here, to writing you. I don’t know your name. I have likely never met you. But I am asking you to dig deep and lead us. Us – the good, decent people of America. We need guidance, we need a plan. We need someone to show us how to peacefully move our country out of ignorance. We need someone to provide us with practical ideas for action. A yearly march is wonderful. Kneeling during anthems that don’t represent all of us is brave and patriotic. I’m all for these things. But what about every day? How can I show my disdain for this administration while supporting my country’s potential for decency? How do I function in my day-to-day life while making it clear that my moral compass is functioning fully?

 

The armband counts, but I know exactly two people with those, and one of them is me. My mind goes back to the suffragists and their wearing white. I know I could make this choice, but I’d also have to spend money to update my wardrobe. That isn’t exactly practical. I’m asking you to come up with something – anything – that I and others can do to show who we are, to each other and to the world.

 

I know I’m not making a lot of sense here. I don’t know how to do this. I’ve never been an adult during a leadership crisis of this magnitude. I’ve never witnessed such heinous people tearing apart my country. I am at a loss. I can do my part, but I’m not the gal to lead us through and out of this, before it’s too late. I’m hoping, praying, for the right person (or persons) to step forward and guide us. Through love. Through peace. Through integrity.

 

For now, the black armband is coming back. It is still a representation of mourning. But now, for me, it is more. It is a show of my defiance of the chosen hatred of the few. It is a sign of love and respect for the good America can be, even if we’re wandering in the dark right now. I’m going to wear it, even if some don’t like it.

 

So – dear person – I’m waiting for you. I’m hoping for you. I need you. America needs you. The world needs you.

 

Thank you.

 

Mikki

Just a Girl

Strangers

 

Love

 

During the month of February, 12 years ago, I sold my first CD to a stranger. I know this because it was such a pleasant surprise, at the time, that I scribbled a note about it in my then-current calendar. When it came time to transfer significant dates to the next year’s calendar (things like International Talk Like a Pirate Day and Tom Baker‘s birthday), I took that little note along. And I’ve done so each year since.

 

I just got an accounting of digital music sales and it was lovely. Not for the money (of which there was barely enough for a beer), but for the information contained in the report. Canada, Japan, the UK – all were shown as places of downloads of my little songs. It really made me smile and reminded me of that day, 12 years ago, when someone I never met paid for my musical art. My heart really needed that boost this week. And I’m so grateful the world gifted me with that sweet energy.

 

Though the world doesn’t know it, I still carry dreams and ambitions for music. I have plans (that shall remain private for now), I have hopes. I have many new songs. I have the soul of a creator. Denying it doesn’t change the fact. It only gets me down. So I don’t deny it. I own it. I practice voice training and work on songs. I paint things I want to look at. I weld art for my own home. I cook good food to savor and share. I create, when and where I can. If I don’t, my soul shrinks. That’s no good for me, and when I’m not good to myself, I’m of little use in the world. And just as I cannot deny my need for the best me I can be, I also cannot deny the fact that the world needs me to show up every day. To be a good human. A good citizen. A good artist. You know what I’m talking about, I imagine, because you know that the world needs you, too. Desperately.

 

So – this month. I endeavor to move toward creativity, with kindness and purpose. I endeavor to love deeply. I endeavor to be the best me I can. And I do it with gratitude for the global souls – strangers – who have reminded me how it feels to be appreciated. My heart overflows…

Los Angeles Women’s March 2018

 

Womens March 2018 - Still Protesting

 

The day after our ridiculously inept, single-party-led government failed to keep the lights on (way to go, fuck-sticks), I and 600,000 of my tribe got together in downtown Los Angeles for a march. We numbered about 150,000 fewer than last year’s march, but we still felt mighty. And so we were.

 

Womens March 2018 - 5 Girls on the Subway

 

Mister and I again took the subway down for this year’s march. But unlike last year, we started early. We did this because it was a flippin’ nightmare boarding a too-crowded train last year, and we wanted to maybe not be all up in someone’s breathing space during the hella-rough flu season we’re having. And, we wanted to relax. The early departure worked. We were comfortable and even met these 5 lovely teens, with their awesome signs. A couple of them are on the verge of voting status. I’m counting on them to show up at the polls in November.

 

Womens March 2018 - Breakfast of Champions

 

Since we arrived downtown with time to spare, Mister and I headed over to Grand Central Market for some breakfast. And some beer. Because, you know, we’re grown. Then we moseyed toward the designated gathering area.

 

Womens March 2018 - DTLA

 

Without meaning to, we found ourselves immobile in just about the same spot as last year, near the march’s starting place in Pershing Square. I had a brief moment when the immense crowd began to overwhelm me, but I looked up at the sky and tried to dig deep. I pulled myself together, toughed it out and stayed strong. A dude nearby wasn’t so lucky. He had an anxiety attack and hit the bricks. Nearby folks did all they could for him, and he seemed to be coming around after a while. Once the crowd started moving toward City Hall, the guy looked much better.

 

Womens March 2018 - Wild Feminist

 

Like last year, the mood was peaceful. Some signs were funny. Some were terribly sad in their honesty. The crowd was mostly female, but all comers were welcomed and plenty of males attended. I was happy to see so many fathers there with their young daughters.

 

Womens March 2018 - A Patriotic Pink Panther

 

After morning turned to afternoon, Mister and I did something we did not manage last year: we met up with friends. And it was lovely. Then we all made our way to our respective homes and collapsed. Well – that’s what Mister and I did anyway.

 

Women March 2018 - Vaginas Will Vote You Out

 

Only after we got home did we hear our numbers. Only then did we hear that, like last year, no arrests were reported. It had been peaceful. It had been powerful. It had been inspirational. I and my tribe will be focusing on getting out the vote during the coming year. We’re so completely over the racists and the sexists and the bullies and the liars and the cheaters and the predators and every other ugly asshole out there. I heard Samantha Bee say something about how women are like elephants in that we never forget. She’s right. We don’t. We won’t. And we are absolutely pissed off. We’re also more hopeful than ever before, and more committed to bringing about change than the assholes can even imagine. I would say to the incompetent prigs running for re-election “you’ve been warned,” but they’re too superior to listen.

 

Womens March 2018 - Womb Tang Clan

 

Those November mid-terms… Can’t hardly wait.

 

Womens March 2018 - Dog in a Pussy Hat

Mr. Poe

 

 

Today is Edgar Allan Poe’s birthday. If you’ve not read any of his poems since your schoolin’ days, I highly recommend looking one up and reciting it aloud. No need to read in front of others. You, yourself, will do. May you enjoy the beautiful, dark flow of his words.

 

Isn’t it wonderful that Mr. Poe became a writer and not a soldier? Wonderful indeed.

New Toy

 

Over the holidays, I got myself a new toy: a kitchen torch. Not only is this thing fun, it was also inexpensive. I like inexpensive, y’all.

 

Kitchen Torch

 

Anyhoo – I used it to make this amazing Creme Brulee. If you’re game, I highly recommend this yummy concoction, as written.  Even though I have a tendency to tinker with recipes, there’s no need when the goods are this great. And if you’re so inclined, I also recommend getting yourself a kitchen torch. In the words of the renowned sage Beavis, “Fire! Fire!”