Sunday, June 12, 2011

Maria's song





Maria’s Song
©2011 Dan Sullivan

There's a howling wind
There's a storm outside
There's a knocking on the door
"Please let me in" a voice does cry 
From a far off foreign  shore

I hear the small voice of a child
Pleading once more
"Please let me in"
The poor boy cries 
But no one answers the door

Won’t you spare his life, sweet Jesus
But if it’s not your plan for him
He’ll be knocking on Heaven’s door tonight
Won’t you please let him in

In a barrio 
In a border town
80 passengers are squeezed
Into the back of a tractor-trailer
Along with Maria Ruiz

Well, the Border Patrol
Saved most of them
But there among the deceased
They find Maria with her fingers
Still clutching her rosary beads

Won’t you hear her prayers, sweet Jesus
For she’s left this world of sin
She’ll be knocking on Heaven’s door tonight
Won’t you please let her in



Wednesday, June 8, 2011

16th Ave. (Song of the) South

It's been quite awhile since I posted anything here.   Not that there have been any complaints from anyone.   But I came up with a new song, so I thought I'd post it here.
The song was written in my living room and is loosely based on Richard M. Nixon's little known attempt to become a Music Row songwriter following his resignation from office in 1974. Like scores of thousands of other aspiring country songwriters, things didn't work out for the former president on 16th Avenue South. And after a few weeks in town, he returned to San Clemente to begin working on his memoirs. copyright 2011 Dan Sullivan

You hear a song on iTunes
You wish that it was yours
You wish you knew somebody
Who’d unlock the door
Who’d show you where the key is
Well I’ll tell you something kid
For a hundred dollar bill
I’ll show you where it’s hid

You hear all the stories
About Music Row
All of them are true
Streets are lined with gold
But none of it’s for you
If you leave it up to fate
For wide is the pathway
And narrow is the gate

If it was just up to me
I’d lend a helping hand
Seeking nothing in return
But I am a working man
I think you’ll find my fee
Well within your means
Not that I’d ever
Put a price on your dreams

It’s not who you know
It’s who knows you
You’ll need introductions
And I can make a few
We’ll co-write songs
For a few dollars more
Then a couple of open mics
To get your foot in the door

I’ll teach you all I know
‘Cause that’s what I do
I’ll get the word around town
The rest is up to you
This town is full of lies
And broken promises
Don’t listen to the cynics
Or the Doubting Thomases

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Trump wonders “Is the Pope Catholic?”

By Dan Sullivan

Having forced President Obama to cough up proof of his American citizenship, billionaire-businessman Donald Trump is now casting a suspicious gaze on the credentials of another world leader, Pope Benedict XVI.

“Is the Pope Catholic? I’d like to find out,” Trump said today.

“How much do we really know about this guy?” The Donald asked me during an exclusive interview this afternoon.

“We know he’s changed his name. His birth name was Joseph Aloisius Ratzinger. That doesn’t prove he’s not a Catholic. Lots of people change their names. But it does make you wonder,” The Donald said.

Trump says his suspicions were first aroused when he sent investigators to the Vatican last week, who reported the Pope’s baptismal and confirmation records were missing.

"Well I've been told very recently that the baptismal and confirmation certificates are missing," The Donald said. "I've been told they’re not there or they don’t exist. And if that's the case it's a big problem."

When asked about his sources, The Donald refused to say where he was getting his information from, saying the message, not the messenger is the real issue.

“You have to ask yourself, why doesn’t the guy just produce his baptismal certificate? Why doesn’t he release his confirmation certificate? That would settle the question once and for all.”

Trump denied his investigation into the Pope’s credentials to serve as Christ’s Vicar on Earth was just a stunt to promote his presidential aspirations or his reality TV show ‘The Celebrity Apprentice.’

He also denied any anti-Catholic bias in the investigation, saying, “I like the guy” and that he hopes the Pope can prove he’s Catholic and end all the controversy over the issue.

"I'd love to have him show his baptismal or confirmation certificate," Trump told a reporter. "And to be honest with you, I hope he can."

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

21st Century Paranoid Blues (alternate take)

21st Century Paranoid Blues
copyright 2010 Dan Sullivan

Private eyes eyeballing
Everyone they meet
Sensors in the hallways
And cameras on the street
Mailmen sending tips
To the F. B. I.
Men with black binoculars
Scanning the sky

I don't mean to panic you
I'm only tellin' the truth
It ain't paranoia if they're coming after you


Judge in his chamber
Someone wake him from his nap
There's three men in suits
And they're planting wire taps
A man on TV says
"If you break it you own it"
They listen to your calls
And you don't even know it

I don't mean to panic you
I'm only tellin' the truth
It ain't paranoia if they're coming after you

A bug on your computer
Sees every move you make
They can watch where you go
See every road you take
Satellites track you
In your home and in your car
An app on your cell phone
Tells them right where you are

I don't mean to panic you
I'm only tellin' the truth
All this paranoia and it's coming after you

Drama queens and Brahmins
Chanting in a foreign tongue
Hobos takin' No Doz
In the yard with railroad bums
They're headin' for the highways
They're leaving by train
The Bankers took the money
And they made their getaway

I don't mean to panic you
I'm only tellin' the truth
All this paranoia and it's coming after you

Houses underwater
In Detroit and New Orleans
Don't go blaming God
For what happens on the street
No one went to prison
Who would ever believe
A jail could be so crowded
There'd be no room for those thieves

I don't mean to panic you
I'm only tellin' the truth
All this paranoia and it's coming after you

Clark Kent eyes
Pat downs and watch lists
Old ladies and babies treated
Like their terrorists
Better not act annoyed or
You’ll get the evil eye
If you look suspicious
They’ll pull you out of line


I don't mean to panic you
I'm only tellin' the truth
It ain't paranoia if they're coming after you

All this paranoia and it's coming after you
It ain't paranoia if they're coming after you

Friday, April 22, 2011

A MODEST PROPOSAL TO REDUCE THE DEFICIT

By Dan Sullivan
April 22, 2011
The current Republican proposal before Congress to eliminate Medicare has been denounced by Democrats as a heartless and cruel plan to rob the elderly of health care in their final years. And perhaps it is, at least in its current configuration. But with a minor amendment the plan imagined by the Christian Congressman from Wisconsin, Paul Ryan - what he calls “The Path to Prosperity” - could not only ease the deficit and the financial burden of the taxpayer but also provide Americans with decent health care, food and shelter in their old age as well.

The way to do this is quite simple. I propose we bring back the Poor House.

Government welfare systems such as Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid have been in place for so long that most Americans take for granted the government’s involvement in these safety net programs. They forget that prior to the establishment of these programs there were old people that needed assistance. It would have been a cruel society that left the elderly to fend for themselves. So Poor Houses were established to provide food, shelter and health care for paupers and those too old or without the wherewithal to care for themselves.

These Poor Houses, or Work Houses as they were sometimes called, provided shelter and food while preserving the dignity of the residents by providing them work in return for the largesse they received. In America, they were often located on farms, where the paupers could raise their own food. And they were quite popular with the poor folk who’d fallen on hard times, as noted by Jack London, writing from London in 1902.

“The workhouses have no space left in which to pack the starving crowds who are craving every day and night at their doors for food and shelter. All the charitable institutions have exhausted their means in trying to raise supplies of food for the famishing residents of the garrets and cellars of London lanes and alleys. The quarters of the Salvation Army in various parts of London are nightly besieged by hosts of the unemployed and the hungry for whom neither shelter nor the means of sustenance can be provided.”

The American Poor Houses never achieved the level of popularity of the English Poor Houses, but they were certainly more popular than some of the makeshift programs they replaced, one of which auctioned off the pauper seeking assistance to the lowest bidder, who obtained the services of the poor man or woman in return for food, shelter and medical care.

Of course no one, not even a Christian Congressman, would want to see us go back to the days of indentured servitude when we have the Poor House as a model of dignified, civilized care for the elderly.

To preserve his or her self-respect and dignity, the elderly accepted by the Poor House would be required to work, just as they were in the Poor Houses of old, but only to the extent their age and health allowed.

Besides providing assistance and dignity to the elderly, another advantage of the Poor House would be to ease the financial burden on the taxpayer. With Poor Houses providing shelter and food, serious cutbacks could be made to Social Security. Such savings could be returned to the taxpayer in the form of lower income and corporate taxes, or perhaps even used to help assure the long-term solvency of the program for those who really need it.

Make no mistake about it, any reestablishment of the Poor House system would still require some taxpayer and government assistance. There’s no such thing as a free lunch. The rich can’t forever be expected to support the poor. But such financial assistance would be dramatically less than what is spent today propping up the strained Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid systems.
 
“The Path to Prosperity” promised in the Republican budget is nothing more than a Dead End Street. Democrats have already stamped it Dead On Arrival in the Senate.

It’s time to head down the real “Path to Prosperity.” It’s time to bring back the Poor House.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Immigrant Girls

copyright 2011 Dan Sullivan

They said the building was fireproof
So on the eighth and ninth floors
Where Immigrant Girls sewed garments
They locked the exit doors
When the fire broke out that day
There was nowhere else to go
They could stay behind and die in flames
Or jump to their deaths below

So say a prayer for the Immigrant Girls
Who died on that long ago day
Never forget the reason they died
And always remember their names

The fire engines came quickly
As a crowd watched in horror
But the ladders couldn't reach
Beyond the sixth floor
The girls screaming from the windows
Had only seconds left to decide
What their final thoughts would be
And which way they wanted to die

So say a prayer for the Immigrant Girls
Who died on that long ago day
Never forget the reason they died
And always remember their names

The funeral march to the gravesite
Was made in a pouring rain
Mourners lined New York streets
Four hundred thousand came
Now once a year the church bells ring
And for a moment heads are bowed
In memory of the Immigrant Girls
Each name is read aloud

So say a prayer for the Immigrant Girls
Who died on that long ago day
Never forget the reason they died
And always remember their names

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Friday, March 25, 2011

Immigrant Girls

I wrote this quickly this afternoon because I wanted to post it on the 100th Anniversary of the Triangle fire tragedy.    No music for it.   Yet.   Maybe later.  


IMMIGRANT GIRLS (The 1911 Triangle Fire Tragedy)

copyright March 25,  2011 Dan Sullivan

They said the building was fireproof
So on the eighth and ninth floors
Where Immigrant Girls sewed garments
They locked the exit doors
When the fire broke out that day
There was nowhere else to go
They could stay  and die in flames
Or jump to their death below

So say a prayer for the Immigrant Girls
Who died on that long ago day
Never forget the reason they died

And always remember their names

The fire trucks arrived quickly
As a crowd watched in horror
But the ladders they brought couldn’t reach
Up to the higher floors
Where  girls screamed from windows

With only seconds left to decide
What their final thoughts would be
And which way they wanted to die

So say a prayer for the Immigrant Girls
Who died on that long ago day
Never forget the reason they died

And always remember their names
 
The funeral march to the gravesite
Was made in a pouring rain
Mourners lined  New York streets
Four hundred thousand came
Now once a year the church bells ring
And for a moment heads are bowed
In memory of Immigrant Girls
Each name is read aloud

So say a prayer for the Immigrant Girls
Who died on that long ago day
Never forget the reason they died

And always remember their names
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Take time to remember. And never forget.

It was 100-years ago today that the 146 women working in a sweat shop in New York city died when a fire broke out in the workplace and they couldn't escape because all the doors had been locked from the outside by the company bosses.

The Triangle Factory Fire, as it was called, so shocked the nation that Congress was compelled to pass  some workplace safety reforms and  the labor union movement began to grow across the country, in part as a response to this horrific tragedy.  

Most people weren't taught this history in school.   It didn't fit in with an education system that is more concerned with preparing  children to fit into the corporate world than it is in teaching the sometimes shameful  truths of history.   So most people have never heard of the Triangle Fire.   

How tragic that 100 years later unions and working people are again under attack by corporatists and Republican policies that elevate reverence for wealth and power over respect for working men and women.

Click the links below to learn more about American history.

The story of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire

Death behind locked sweatshop doors.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Editorial: One Reason To Vote NO On APWU Tentative Agreement

March 23, 2011 by Lu
Filed under: APWU, Articles, postal, postal news, usps 
By Dan Sullivan, APWU retired, Southwest Michigan Area Local
 
There are plenty of reasons for union members to vote in favor of the tentative agreement between the American Postal Workers Union and the Postal Service. You can find most of those reasons on the general comment and editorial pages of 21cpw.com and in the sales pitches put out by APWU national and local officers around the country, people who are more knowledgeable about the tentative contract than me.

I know only one thing about the proposed contract. And the one thing I know is the reason why I could never vote for it or ask any union member to vote for it.

The one thing I know is that it asks us to accept for future postal workers wages that none of us would accept for ourselves.

The principle guiding me is called the Golden Rule. Jesus put it another way, telling his followers to “do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

Twenty centuries later American union organizers phrased it slightly differently, but they meant the same thing when they took as their rallying cry the slogan “An injury to one is an injury to all.”

Other cultures and religions have similar ethical teachings. It seems to be a universal idea.

If you wouldn’t vote yourself a pay cut, you shouldn’t be willing to vote a lower pay scale for new workers. That is if you believe in the Golden Rule and the union concept of solidarity.

The workers in Wisconsin aren’t locked in a life-or-death battle with corporatists and right wingers – and they didn’t take over the Capital building – just to save their own hides. They’re also fighting for future generations. And so are the unionists from around the Midwest and the nation who streamed into Madison to support them.

And the same can be said for the union workers battling right-wing, corporatist regimes in Michigan, Ohio, Florida, Indiana and elsewhere.

Maybe some think it’s old-fashioned to stand on principle. Or just stubborn. But I can’t forget about the future generations of postal workers when I vote on the proposed contract.

I’m voting no.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Marching on Tripoli

Marching on Tripoli
Copyright 2011 Dan Sullivan

There’s fear and there’s dread
On the road up ahead
There’s Mirages over the sea
While children at home
Sleep safely in bed
We’re marching on Tripoli

And it’s hi hi ho
And it’s hi hi he
We’re marching on Tripoli
And they’ll fill up the graves
With rebels and slaves
We’re marching on Tripoli

It’s a good day for war
So we’re marching once more
We’re marching on Tripoli
We’re on the attack
Just like in Iraq
And we’re bringing democracy

And it’s hi hi ho
And it’s hi hi he
We’re marching on Tripoli
And they’ll fill up the graves
With rebels and slaves
We’re marching on Tripoli

From the south of Khartoum
To the ancient sand dunes
Along the North African shore
There’s rockets and blood
And death in the mud
From genocide, murder and war

And it’s hi hi ho
And it’s hi hi he
We’re marching on Tripoli
And they’ll fill up the graves
With rebels and slaves
We’re marching on Tripoli

There’s a dozen or more
Armed conflicts and wars
They’re going on endlessly
What’s one more or less
On the Dark Continent
So we’re marching on Tripoli


And it’s hi hi ho
And it’s hi hi he
We’re marching on Tripoli
And they’ll fill up the graves
With rebels and slaves
We’re marching on Tripoli

In a few days or more
We’ll wrap up this war
That’s what they’ll tell us again
We’ll throw a parade
And bands will play
And someone will ask, “Did we win?”

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Here's Hannah's interview on her 9th birthday.   Guess who did most of the talking?

Sunday, March 13, 2011

This is one that came to me a few days ago.   I slapped some images together to make a YouTube video of it.    

Crown of gold
Copyright Dan Sullivan 2011

I’m gatherin’ all my thoughts
I’m wonderin’ what’s worse
To live without your love
Or to die of thirst

I’ve concealed my feelings
Kept them under lock and key
Had to hide from prying eyes
What you mean to me

Darkness softly slipping
Like a hood over my head
Every night I dream of you
Laying on my bed

Now storm clouds are gatherin’. They fill the western sky
As the sun slips away like love slowly dyin’

I’m gatherin’ my defenses
I’m lifting shield and spear
I can hear the trumpets calling
As my enemy draws near


I’m gatherin’ all my thoughts
I’m wonderin’ what’s worse
In this world both truth and lies
Haunt me like a curse

I’m harvestin’ from dreams
Planted long ago
That a crown now made of thorns
Might one day turn to gold

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

MI Gov. granted dictatorial powers

BREAKING NEWS

The Michigan legislature has approved a bill giving the governor authority to execute a coup 'd etat over any and all governmental jurisdictions in the the state. The bill gives the governor power to declare an emergency and to appoint a overseer with dictatorial powers anywhere in the state.

Democracy, anyone???

More on this tomorrow and in the upcoming days.

Monday, March 7, 2011



 
"CHEESE"


What a weekend.   Four of the hooligans stayed at the mansion Saturday
night.   And guess what?    No fights!
They all got along great.
Erik had said something about wishing
he'd learned to play the guitar or piano
when he was younger.
I told him there's no time like the present
to get started.
So I showed him a few chords and  he
spent 2 or 3 hours
practicing on the guitar
and piano.
I also gave him a keyboard to take home so he'd
have something to practice on.
I told him if he learns
to play the piano a little bit, I'd buy
him a guitar and he could
start on that.
Who knows?   Maybe he'll be
a musician.

The girls so far aren't
interested in making music, preferring
to mug for the camera
or play games online.
Next time they're here I'll try
to get them to record
a song.
I'm not sure how I'll get them
all to sing in the same key.
THAT will be a real trick!


Tuesday, March 1, 2011

I guess things have changed

I went to St. Mary’s Catholic grade school as a child. That was 50 years ago. But I still have fond memories of  getting rapped on the knuckles, berated, hollered at, called a communist and knocked out of a chair by a nun during my book-learning days.

I guess nowadays some people would think of that as child abuse or something. But I never thought about it that way. Neither did the rest of the kids I went to school with. Heck, we thought that was normal. And we understood we probably deserved a rap on the knuckle or a sharp word when we were caught in some mischief or horseplay or were tardy with our homework.

And I sure never told my parents the nuns were being mean to me at school or I would have gotten whipped on twice, once by the nuns and once by my Dad.
 
So I was shocked when I read this posting from a friend of mine on her Facebook wall.

“wtf?? My daughter just told me her gym teacher told her " I don't hate you I just dislike you" Are you fricken kidding me??!!!!”
 

By the time I read the posting there were already more than 20 responses to this alarming news.

“O M G” is the way one friend eloquently expressed her disbelief.

Which prompted this reply from my friend.

“ummmm yeah!!! WOW how professional is that?!”

With the cat out of the bag now, another friend put her two cents in.

“My girls have issues with their teacher, but she's never said anything like that!!! Time to call a meeting!!”

“ummmmmm yep! C----- said the lady didn't like her since day 1, I thought she was just reading something into it that wasn't there. WOW I am just blown away!!”

A third friend chimed in with this thoughtful advice.

“Wow--I'd be calling a principal, I think.

As word spread, a fourth friend could barely express her shock.

“Wow!!”

“Time for someone to lose their job,” a fifth fumed.

Things were obviously escalating. And my friend was smoking now.


“ummm yep, going to head up to the school, kick ass and take names later....do NOT f with my kids!!”

Another friend offered encouragement.

“Wrong, wrong, wrong...Momma bear take action!”

Momma bear was growling now.

“umm yeah, C----- her and her friend were in gym dong what they were supposed to do and the teacher came up to the other girl and asked what happened, that she always did what she was told until C------ came there... C----- said see I told you she hates me and the teacher said that in response... Ummmm NOT!”

My friend quickly added this.

“ummmmm yep J---..... not cool at all!”

Just as things were heating up, a  typo offered a little levity and let us all LOL.


“In the gym dong ::inappropriate giggle::”

"lol hehehehe..... ooops fricken typo queen!!”

A few hehehes and hahahas later a couple more friends climbed on the bandwagon.

“wow, thats pretty inapprop”

“wow, that's BS. Also go to damnyouautocorrect.com. J

Finally, another friend who apparently also knows the mean teacher added these comments.

“B----- got hit with a dodge ball in the face oin elementary school, and he cried a little bit and she said 'Quit crying you big baby'....I was livid!!!…it's not like 5th grade boys have enough to tease each other about....then they all hear the teacher call him a baby.....I was mad! I called the principal and she was going to 'look into it'“

Whew!

I almost posted a brief comment on my friend’s wall telling her she should be thankful the teacher didn’t pull a ruler out and have her little darling lay her pretty little pinkies on the desk. But I thought better of it.

I didn’t mind getting a whipping from a nun when I was a kid. But at my age I sure as heck don’t intend to take a whipping FOR a teacher from a bunch of angry  Momma Bears.

Sorry, it’s every man, teacher and Momma Bear for him or herself.


Sunday, February 20, 2011

Plenty to drink

It had been a while since I wrote a drinking song.  So our new Governor decided it was time I write another one.  

Plenty to drink
copyright 2011 Dan Sullivan

Guv'nor Snyder of Michigan
Says we have to raise taxes on the citizens
'Cause he needs $1.5 billion
To give to his Chamber of Commerce friends

There's plenty to drink for everyone
And there'll be more where this came from
He's talking about shared sacrifice
The rich get whiskey and we get ice
The rich get whiskey and we get ice

Ol' Rick Snyder's got a clever plan
If anyone can make a dollar he can
He sold Gateway to a China man
Now he's pickin' my pocket in Michigan

There's plenty to drink for everyone
And there'll be more where this came from
He's talking about shared sacrifice
The rich get whiskey and we get ice
The rich get whiskey and we get ice

Teachers pay cut, the poor get sliced
Seniors get taxed on their pensions twice
Middle class getting squeezed in a vice
And here's the Governor's advice

There's plenty to drink for everyone
And there'll be more where this came from
He's talking about shared sacrifice
The rich get whiskey and we get ice
The rich get whiskey and we get ice

Yeah he's talkin' about shared sacrifice

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Ed Schultz reporting from the front lines in Wisconsin

Click here to watch the latest video feed from the Wisconsin war zone where MSNBC's Ed Schultz has been reporting from the front lines all week.   Schultz' dispatches from the front are giving the American people the most accurate account of the Republican/Tea Party war against  unions and the middle class and the courageous resistance of the people of Wisconsin.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Turning off the PC


Killing time before a attending a songwriter's show tonght at 8, I came up with this Shel Silversteinian lyric.  

I’ve got no friends on Facebook
And I’m feelin’ blue about it.
‘Cause when there’s news to share
I’ve got no place to shout it
I’d hang my head in shame
If I hadn’t already bowed it
I’ve got no friends on Facebook
And I’m feelin’ blue about it

I’ve got no friends on MySpace
And I’m feeling really low
I send out friend requests
But the answer’s always no
Ya know, no friends on MySpace
Is about as low as you can go
I’ve got no friends on MySpace
And I’m feelin’ really low

I’ve got no friends on Twitter
And what’s THAT all about
I got no tweets comin’ in
And no tweets goin’ out
I feel just like a paper boy
With no-one on his route
I’ve got no friends on Twitter
And what’s that all about
 
I guess I’ll turn the PC off
Why do I need friends?
All they’ll do is hurt
My feelin’s in the end
Ya know it's happened before
N' it'll happen again
I guess I’ll turn the PC off
Why do I need friends?
 
Yep, I’m turning off the PC
Now what am I to do?
I think I’ll take a walk
It’s a lovely afternoon
Or maybe read a book
Or learn to play the spoons
Yep, I'm turning off the PC
Now what am I to do?
 
 
 

Thursday, February 17, 2011

It's not dark yet (but it's getting there)

There can be a beauty to sadness.    And this has got to be one of the most beautiful  and sorrowful songs I've ever  heard.   This is the song of one lost, hopeless soul. 

In Dante's Inferno, there's a sign outside the gates of Hell saying "Abandon all hope, ye who enter here."      That's what this song reminds me of.

You just don't want to listen to this song when you're having a bad day.

Shadows are fallin' and I've been here all day
It's too hot to sleep and time is runnin' away
Feel like my soul has turned into steel
I've still got the scars that the sun didn't heal
There's not even room enough to be anywhere
It's not dark yet but it's gettin' there.

Well, my sense of humanity has gone down the drain
Behind every beautiful thing there's been some kind of pain
She wrote me a letter and she wrote it so kind
She put down in writin' what was in her mind
I just don't see why I should even care
It's not dark yet but it's gettin' there.

Well, I've been to London and I been to gay Paree
I've followed the river and I got to the sea
I've been down on the bottom of the world full of lies
I ain't lookin' for nothin' in anyone's eyes
Sometimes my burden is more than I can bear
It's not dark yet but it's gettin' there.

I was born here and I'll die here against my will
I know it looks like I'm movin' but I'm standin' still
Every nerve in my body is so naked and numb
I can't even remember what it was I came here to get away from
Don't even hear the murmur of a prayer
It's not dark yet but it's gettin' there.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Democracy? We'll see




The media and American public have hailed the revolution in Egypt as a triumph of democracy, a victory of good over evil.    I'm not so sure.

If you believe the bloggers and commentators, this was a revolution made on the streets of Cairo, an inspired insurrection of the plain folks using weapons like  Facebook, Twitter and Google against the might of the government.

And the good guys won.   Democracy has come to Egypt.   And soon it shall spread throughout the Middle East.  Who knows?   Maybe even to China.   Power to the people.

Forgive me for being skeptical.

Mubarak was a thug and a grifter, a corrupt dictator who looted the country.   But he was our thug for 30 years.   The United States government supported him, providing weapons and financial aid because he provided a measure of stability in the Middle East and was one of the few nations in that volatile region that was at peace with Israel, one of our allies.

Now that he's gone, I'd be surprised if Egypt turns into anything resembling a democracy.  The military is running the show now.   There are powerful religious, military, financial and secular forces working behind the scene to grab the levers of  power in Cairo.   Anyone who thinks the interests of the Egyptian man in the street will prevail in the days, months and years ahead is living in a dream world.

I have no idea where it will all end.   I don't think anyone else can say, either.   One thing I am pretty sure of is that "democracy" - however you define it - is no answer to all the woes of the Egyptian people.   The haves aren't giving it up to the have-nots that easily.



Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Who's this Jackie Greene fellow??


So I posted "Walking to Jerusalem" on this website called "No Depression." One of the other videos posted there was of a kid from San Francisco called Jackie Greene. I'd never heard of the guy.  But "Brokedown Emotion" sounded like an interesting title, so I hit the play button.   You never know when you'll hear something you like.

Right from the first note I knew I wasn't listening to some teenager in his bedroom making a YouTube video.    This kid was good!

Actually, he's not a kid.   He turns 30 this year.    And he's been putting out CDs since 2002.   But he writes and sings like he's been scribbling songs and  singing since the '60s.  

He's obviously been influenced by Bob Dylan.  When he's in his folkie mode strumming a flat top guitar  with a harmonica holder hanging from his neck he even looks like a young Dylan.   And if he can't match Dylan's lyrical depth (who can?), he shows a gift for story-telling and a way with words you don't often see anymore.    And he definitely sings better than Bob.  

So without further ado, as Ed Sullivan used to say when introducing an act, here's Jackie Greene.


Saturday, February 5, 2011

Walking the streets of Jerusalem



Walking the streets of Jerusalem
copyright 2011 Dan Sullivan




It was cold that night
There was somethin' in the air
Somethin' wasn't right
So I said a little prayer
While I was walking the streets of Jerusalem


Two women in Burqas  
Being questioned by the cops
There's a man standing watch
In the doorway of a mosque
And I'm walking the streets of Jerusalem


The man in the doorway
Well he needed a bath
So I handed him a cigarette 
And he lit it with a match
I just kept walking the streets of Jerusalem


An Imam's being interviewed
By  Al Jazeera
In a hotel across the street
Narcissus smiles into a mirror
While I'm walking the streets of Jerusalem


She puts on her best dress
And she  walks outside
To join some kind of  flash mob 
That's  being  televised 
As I'm walking the streets of Jerusalem


So I'm walking down the street 
Knowing something isn't right 
Could almost put  my finger on it
Almost but not quite
And I'm walking  the streets of Jerusalem


From across the street a man
Comes walking up to me 
He says,  "Do you know who I am?"
I say, "You're the Man of Mystery"
And we're walking  the streets of Jerusalem


"You're a clever man yourself," he says
"Soon all will be revealed
But 'til then you must keep quiet" 
I say, "man, my lips are sealed
I'm just walking  the streets of Jerusalem"


"The sky is full of lies," he says
"The world's full of deception
It's too late to negotiate
It's too late for concessions
Just keep walking  the streets of Jerusalem"


"I know very well that things 
Aren't always what they seem
But your words are so confusing"
I say, "tell me what you mean"


He says, "there's  lies on every tongue
Fallin' from every mouth
Hang around here long enough
And you'll figure it out
While you're walking  the streets of Jerusalem"


Then with one bony finger
He points towards the Temple
'N says, "It's all been written down
None of it's accidental"
And we're walking  the streets of Jerusalem


"The hour's late.  I have to go
But I'll see you around
I've got a little business
In a garden  outside  town"
And we're walking  the streets of Jerusalem


"Keep  all of this  a secret
Don't put it on your blog
Don't speak of it in church
Or at the synagogue
Just keep walking  the streets of Jerusalem"


It was cold that night
There was something in the air
Something wasn't right
So I said a little prayer


While I was walking the streets of Jerusalem


Friday, February 4, 2011

Union Man


This is a union song. It's from a time in American history when working people rallied behind the union banner in factories and workshops in places like Detroit, Pittsburgh, Kalamazoo, Youngstown and all the small mill and mining towns of the Northeast and Midwest. Hard-scrabble places where things were made and the workers understood they could only get a fair shake from the boss if they stood with their union.


People don't sing songs like this anymore. Unions are now lumped with Muslims, Communists and Liberals in the popular imagination. But once  troubadours like Woody Guthrie,  Pete Seeger,  Ramblin' Jack Elliott and other long forgotten folk singers gave voice to the union movement and sang the praises of the American worker.  It seems like a long, long time ago.


The Musicians of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra have been  on strike since last October.  The strike is what strikes are always about:  wages and working conditions.   The bosses want to add work and subtract wages. The musicians don't think that's fair.   Check out their website if you're interested in learning more about their union and supporting their cause.


video


Union Man
copyright Dan Sullivan 1990


I'm a postal clerk in Memphis
I'm a teacher in L.A.
I play guitar on the records
That the radio stations play
I'm a truck driver in Dallas
I'm a store clerk in San Fran
I'm a waitress in El Paso
And I am a Union Man

And when we stand together
We never stand so tall
An injury to one of us
Is an injury to all
I wear the union label
And I'm proud of who I am
I've never crossed a picket line
I am a Union Man

I forge the steel in Pittsburgh
I'm a nurse in Tennessee
I make the cars in Michigan
And work the docks in New Orleans
I'm a plumber in Chicago
I build houses in St. Paul
I'm the woman at the hospital
Who takes the emergency calls

And when we stand together
We never stand so tall
An injury to one of us
Is an injury to all
I wear the union label
And I'm proud of who I am
I've never crossed a picket line
I am a Union Man

I've never crossed a picket line
I ain't no company man
I am a Union Man

Thursday, February 3, 2011

What storm of the Century?

You wouldn't have guessed it was the "Storm of the Century" if they hadn't told us that's what was coming.   As is usually the case,  the storms of life look worse before they arrive than after they pass.  


P.T.  Barnum was right.   You don't sell tickets by calling it a pretty good circus.   You call it "The Greatest Show on Earth" and you have to turn them away at the door.


We got about a foot of snow in Southwest Michigan, half of what many weathermen and forecasters were predicting.    We get a storm like this every 3-4 years and nobody thinks much of it.


It took me about an hour to shovel out the driveway.   That's how I judge a storm.    If it had been a real "Monster Storm" as some predicted, I would have been out there for 2-3 hours shoveling.


I would have probably even  needed to call  a taxi to bring Hannah and her shovel here.









Ashley Classen of Kalamazoo clears her walkway in the Stuart neighborhood on Wednesday morning after the snowstorm.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Batten down the hatches



Batten down the hatches is an old nautical term meaning secure the ship in preparation for an oncoming storm.  It's sound advice at sea and sound advice ashore.   So I'll be busy today preparing for what the weatherman calls a "dangerous storm" heading our way.   Not that there's much to do except restock the pantry before the snow starts flying Tuesday night.


The weatherman is saying we'll get one and a half to two feet of snow and wind gusts of up to 40 miles per hour!    That's harder than the wind roars through the halls of Congress.  The storm is expected to continue until midday on Wednesday.   If what he predicts comes to pass, I'll be busy  digging out the driveway by that afternoon.


According to the Kalamazoo Gazette the weatherman has "warned that the the storm could rival the Blizzard of ’78, a monster that blasted the state with nearly 2 feet of snow on Jan. 26, 1978. Kalamazoo saw 22 inches of snow from that storm."


I remember it was a Thursday night when the snow began falling.   I went to work at the post office and by the time my shift ended Friday morning I couldn't get my car out of the parking lot.  It was a mile or mile and a half walk home, with a stop at a grocery store along the way to pick up a 12-pack of beer.   By Sunday afternoon they'd pushed most of the snow out of the parking lot with plows and I was able to dig my car out and drive home.


Some people complain about these winter storms, but in Michigan most of us take them in stride.   And some of us actually are looking forward to this one.   Those would be school children  in the area who are gleefully  counting on a day off  Wednesday.   




Lori Sullivan is dwarfed by banks of snow following the
Great Blizzard of '78




                             
Dan Sullivan supervises snow removal operations
Lori Sullivan pauses from her duties for a snapshot














Sunday, January 30, 2011

Revolution in the air

By now, everyone knows they're raising holy hell in Egypt.  The people are in the streets demanding democratic reforms.   Rumors are flying all over the Internet and on the corporate news shows.   Thousand of prisoners  have escaped or been released from Egyptian prisons and are terrorizing the streets of Egyptian cities.   Police have deserted their posts.   Army tanks clank down the streets of Cairo.  Revolution is in the air.   And it's all being brought to you via  twitter and shown live on the Internet.

What does all this portend?   For Egypt?  For the United States?   For the world?

Nobody knows and anyone who says they do is lying.   Primeval forces have been unleashed.   The  genie is out of the bottle.   You have to go all the way back to when Yahweh unleashed ten plagues on Egypt to force  the stubborn Pharaoh to let Moses and the Israelites go to find something comparable to what's happening in Egypt today.

I expect the End Timers will see all this as a sign of things to come, a preface to Armaggedon.   Paranoia? Who knows?

All I know is that this crusade we've been on since 9/11 to bring democracy to the Middle East hasn't exactly worked out as the United States government planned.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

21st Century Paranoid Blues
copyright 2010 Dan Sullivan

Private eyes eyeballing
Everyone they meet
Sensors in the hallways
And cameras on the street
Mailmen sending tips
To the F. B. I.
Men with black binoculars
Scanning the sky

I don't mean to panic you
I'm only tellin' the truth
It ain't paranoia if they're coming after you

Judge is in his chamber
Someone wake him from his nap
There's three men in suits
And they're planting wire taps
A man on TV says
"If you break it you own it"
They listen to your calls
And you don't even know it

I don't mean to panic you
I'm only tellin' the truth
It ain't paranoia if they're coming after you

A bug on your computer
Sees every move you make
They can watch where you go
See every road you take
Satellites track you
In your home and in your car
An app on your cell phone
Tells them right where you are

I don't mean to panic you
I'm only tellin' the truth
All this paranoia and it's coming after you

Drama queens and Brahmins
Chanting in a foreign tongue
Hobos takin' No Doz
In the yard with railroad bums
They're headin' for the highways
They're leaving by train
The Bankers took the money
And they made their getaway

I don't mean to panic you
I'm only tellin' the truth
All this paranoia and it's coming after you

Houses underwater
In Detroit and New Orleans
Don't go blaming God
For what happens on the Street
No one went to prison
Who would ever believe
A jail could be so crowded
There'd be no room for those thieves

I don't mean to panic you
I'm only tellin' the truth
All this paranoia and it's coming after you

Clark Kent eyes
Pat downs and watch lists
Old ladies and babies treated
Like they're terrorists
They say we must adjust to
Those things we can't avoid
If you stand up for your rights
They'll call you paranoid

I don't mean to panic you
I'm only tellin' the truth
It ain't paranoia if they're coming after you

All this paranoia and it's coming after you
It ain't paranoia if they're coming after you