Last year, 2012, that is, I wrote, “It’s well past time to update this site once again. I’ll not turn it into a “blog”, but there is a space for feedback. I no longer have any excuse to ignore this site and I have no intention of ever deleting it” on this very page.
Well, guess what I’ve done since I wrote that? If you said I ignored this site, you’re right. I’ve ignored this site even though I’ve had visitors – not a whole lot of visitors – but visitors just the same. However, since none of the visitors offered any feedback, I never received any “reminders” to come back here and look. Just the same, I still have no intention of deleting this site. I still have far too much to say.
Granted, I’ve pretty much given up saying what’s on my mind by way of the essay or oped piece. The people of The Formerly United States of America obviously want this country to remain that way, formerly united. I’ve been around longer than most of you and I’ve never felt so uncomfortable living in this country.
“If you don’t like it here, then move” you might say to me. The FUSA is a large and powerful nation and its leaders have done their very best to make the entire world an uncomfortable place to live and I have no intention of committing suicide. Besides, in a democracy, isn’t a citizen supposed to have the ability to change his country from within, even if the democracy is clouded by being hidden within a republic?
I suppose I could write about how some of our citizens, who may have been part of what was called “the middle class”, don’t realize that they’re working their tails off for people who want to keep them and their descendents from ever making up anything close to a “middle class”.
For example, I could ask why so many Americans believe that health care is a privilege. The answer is pretty simple. Where one is in one’s life informs one’s outlook on society. Far too many people who were in “the middle class” are still around and don’t seem to realize that those things that put them in “the middle class” are no longer with us.
I’m in that position. I’ve been part of the middle class all my life. I’m still fortunate enough to have health insurance through my wife’s employer. I don’t know why I can empathize with those less fortunate, but I believe some of us are exceptions.
I find it amazing that my wife’s employer, who used to be my employer, still employs any Americans to make anything. Yet, there’s still stuff that’s still made in this country and that stuff is profitable enough to justify some manufacturers keeping some of their American facilities running. I guess as long as the CEO of the company for whom my wife works is able to scrape $18 million a year from the top of the company’s profits, he’ll be “American” enough to continue to hire some Americans and pay them fairly well. He still offers his employees health insurance, but the employees have to carry a much larger responsibility to pay for that insurance. This is in the face of those employees’ wages remaining stagnant since about 1980.
We have to remember that there are a couple presidents, vice presidents, a CFO and a few other people at the top of the company pulling over $5 million per year from the same profit. Today, when one says one is “working for” someone, one means that one is actually working so that those above him or her can be wealthier than anyone has to be.
So, many of us who are in the disappearing middle class are still kicking and not many of us care whether others have the same chances we had. We like to say that we don’t want to pay for someone else to have health insurance. Yet, many of us think it’s just fine for young men and women to put their lives on the line for the rest of us. That’s right, we don’t want to pay the taxes required to keep this country civilized, but we don’t mind paying the taxes that keep it uncivilized.
When I wrote essays, I hoped that some of those very people would read them and some did. They hammered me. They said that socialism doesn’t work. I wrote about the kind of socialism that most of the rest of the civilized world embraces. I wrote about citizens doing for one another and people who pull in an inordinate amount of money paying more in taxes than those who have much less. However, we still have crazy people like Limbaugh and Hannity and O’Reilly telling us that we’re envious of wealthy people; that our jealousy is what motivates us to speak out in favor of a more equitable society.
I can say this much; I would never wish to be like those at the top. I’m not jealous of them or their wealth and I’m not after their wealth. In fact, I’m perfectly happy paying my dues for civilization. However, what I’m able and required to pay in taxes doesn’t buy enough civilization to make this a civilized nation or even a civilized world.
People are still saying that those less fortunate need to “get a job”. It’s the same old shit. They don’t seem to realize that “jobs” like they had or I had are no longer available to many Americans. They also don’t realize that many who need this nation to collect more revenue do, indeed, have jobs; the only kinds of jobs that are still available; very low paying jobs and those employers don’t care one way or the other if their employees are taken care of when they’re ill or injured. Those employers count on socialism to make their employees whole. They count on socialism while they scare the bejesus out of anyone they can about socialism.
I’ve already written too much about the ills of The FUSA and, indeed, the world. If people like Thom Hartman, Rachel Maddow, Chris Hayes, Amy Goodman, David Swanson and other left leaning authors can’t convince people that “society” is better than no “society”, I sure as hell can’t do it. So I’m going to turn to what’s different about this site.
The things that are different about this site have mostly to do with music. Actually, other than updating this page, what’s different about this site only concerns music. To repeat what I wrote last time I updated this page, “It may even be time for me to upload videos to YouTube or, possibly, even to this site. Up until now, I’d been hesitant to do that because I was concerned that my age would be a turn off. The ironic thing is that, at this point, I’m too old to care about that anymore.” I still feel that way.
I haven’t released any new albums since I last updated this page, but I’ve released two singles.
The first single I’ve released is entitled “Struggles Of The Psyche”. I wanted to write this song for quite a while; ever since the tragic shooting of first graders at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, but I couldn’t find the words. I asked a couple people with whom I’ve co-written songs to help me write about that awful event. The Americans with whom I’ve shared creativity couldn’t come up with words either. I think we Americans were just too close to it.
So, I turned to the British gent with whom I wrote “Streets Of Eden”, Alan Hodgson. When I first asked Al for help, he said, “I don’t know if I can do it. We don’t have that problem here in The UK.” Indeed, they don’t.
So, I tried to do it alone and that didn’t work. As I mentioned, I turned to some very talented American writers and they couldn’t seem to do it either.
I asked Al for help again and he said he’d try. I told him that the message I wanted to emphasize was one that I’d heard on Reason Podcast. Reason Podcast is a wonderful broadcast that airs live every Sunday evening at 8 PM, ET. If one can’t hear it live, it can be downloaded from iTunes and Blog Talk Radio. In fact, I listen to Joshua Billingsley and Paul Wittmeyer starting on Monday morning and listen to it daily until I’ve heard the entire hour and a half podcast. It’s well worth it.
I first heard Paul talk about what I decided to emphasize in “Struggles Of The Psyche”. He mentioned the fact that people like Adam Lanza, the man who gunned down innocent children and teaching staff at Sandy Hook, usually end their acts by killing themselves. If that doesn’t happen, the police kill them. Paul said that we need to take one of those people alive to study them and find out why they commit such heinous acts.
“Struggles Of The Psyche” deals more with the shooters, as well as the American obsession with gun ownership. It isn’t a song either mourning or celebrating the lives of the victims. We were all shocked when Newtown happened and we mourned the deaths of the innocent people. “Struggles Of The Psyche” isn’t a sad, tear jerking song about those innocent people. It’s a narrative about what happened and how it happened. It asks why it happened and suggests that we make more of an attempt to take the shooters alive in such seemingly senseless killings.
The song does not feel sorry for the shooters. It doesn’t suggest that the shooters need a little therapy and, then, should be released back into society. Neither Al nor I think that. However, none of us are born thinking that twenty years hence we’re going to blow innocent people away. I believe that these people call out for help well before they commit their crimes. I also believe that the gun obsession mentioned earlier plays a large part in how and why these crimes are committed. Al researched the event and wrote most of the lyrics overnight. I helped with the lyrics, tweaking here and adjusting there, but Alan Hodgson wrote most of the lyrics and did a magnificent job.
The second single I’ve released is called “Freed Me From The Past”. It’s much more personal in nature. If you’ve read the About Michael page, you know that much of my past was less than pleasant. One cannot be conditioned as I was without carrying it with him or her for the rest of one’s life. Luckily, I met someone who taught me how to live in “the now”. Our relationship has, indeed, freed me from the past.
I have updated three of my albums on this site. I’m working on the fourth.
The songs for the albums 10, Unholy Trinity and Haven’t We Met?, as well as the two singles, can be played as either a wave file or an mp3 file. As I indicate on those pages, the wave file loads more slowly than the mp3 file but is of a much higher quality. I’ve also gone back to allowing the entire song to be played and downloaded. It’s more important that people hear and enjoy my music than it is for me to make lots of money from it. The songs are copyrighted and registered with BMI, so I’m still going to go after people who think they can steal anything that I write and try to pass it off as their own. That I will not tolerate. Would you? I didn’t think so.
As I mentioned last time I updated this page, you can still find my music on many digital music web sites. CD Baby is still the main distributor of my music and it can be purchased directly from their site. It can also be purchased from iTunes, Rhapsody and other digital music outlets. Last, but not least, it can be purchased directly from this site.
The polls and space for feedback are still on each and every page of this site. I’m still hopeful that those who read these pages will use the polls and feedback to help me improve or merely just to express their opinions.
One other difference is that I’m not under the allusion that I can “inject common sense and compassion into the human race”. Nah, I just want people to enjoy my writing and, if the message gets through to and changes a mind or two in the process, that’s an extra benefit. Enjoy and, please, if you can think of any constructive criticism, use the feedback forms. Thanks.
“Don't compromise yourself. You are all you've got.” - Janis Joplin
“Don't compromise yourself. You are all you've got.” - Janis Joplin