How To Not Think About Trump* For Three Minutes And Change

*or Virginia, or Brexit, or all things Putin or…

Via my sister-the-music-professor’s ex, this perfectly wonderful youtube came to my attention today.  Now it comes to yours:


I have to confess that I’ve been overwhelmed lately — by work and the shock of the new semester, partly, and more by a sudden politics and strife overload. Everytime I’ve started to post here, I’ve found myself facing ten-digit paralysis, unable to move the fingers over the keys to report and fulminate on the overlapping, serial outrages.

Finally, I hope, my rage is once more ready to overwhelm my despair, so I plan to show up a bit more regularly, as soon as the last syllabi are complete…but in the interim glorious foolishness like the above helps me. I hope it pleases the jackalry.

This thread is, of course, open.

110 replies
  1. 1
    Fair Economist says:

    Argh, another inaccurate claim that the Weimar hyperinflation led to Hitler taking power when it was actually the Depression, 10 years after the hyperinflation ended.

    Also, very cute. Goodbye and good riddance to tone rows, though.

  2. 2
    germy says:

    @Fair Economist: I’ve been watching The Dictator’s Playbook series on PBS and they all seem to learn from each other.

    Fortunately for us trump is incapable of learning. Some of his people, like young Mr. Miller are different, though.

  3. 3
    Rob Lll says:

    Love the video. He done ol’ Schoenberg proud!

  4. 4
    satby says:

    I have to confess that I’ve been overwhelmed lately… and more by a sudden politics and strife overload.

    Been stepping way back or the despair will swamp me.

  5. 5
    Mnemosyne says:

    Feeling after the last couple of days online. 🙄

    Getting ready for a visit from out of town from my brother-in-law and his boyfriend. We’re all a little nervous because we haven’t spent much one-on-one time together yet, but it will most likely be fine. I suspect that an engagement announcement is in the offing since they’re already living together, so I really want everything to go well. 🙌

  6. 6
    trollhattan says:

    Nice to see you appear–however briefly!

    Video is a hoot, including the John Cage joke. Something Steve Martin might have done.

  7. 7

    I didn’t think about Trump for a while today, mostly because my car wouldn’t start when I tried to drive to B&N to write. The valet parking guys here jumped it for me and I drove 10-12 minutes to B&N, which turned out not to be enough because when I came out, it wouldn’t start again. Mr DAW came this time and used our jumper cables so I could get home. He says the battery isn’t all that old, but I haven’t driven it for a few days and I’d left an interior light on so it was really dead. We’ll see.

  8. 8
    trollhattan says:

    Well, there’s learning and there’s mimicing. Trump does the second.

  9. 9
    Enhanced Voting Techniques says:

    @Fair Economist: Also the German “Moderates” deciding that the thing to do the second the Depression hit was pay down Germany’s WWI debt and the whole “Hitler, or you could become a vassal of Joseph “I have a Hammer” Stalin” thing.

  10. 10

    @Mnemosyne: I hope it all goes great.

    @satby: My hairdresser rubbed essential oils on my hair yesterday which made it fragrant and shiny. I used to have oily hair but age has cured that. I wash in the shower every day. Does your product line extend to stuff like this? Does it sound plausible?

  11. 11
    germy says:

    BENNINGTON, Vt. (AP) — A self-described white nationalist who has harassed Vermont’s only female black legislator who later resigned pleaded not guilty on Thursday to two counts of possessing illegal, large capacity gun magazines.

    Max Misch, 36, was ordered not to possess, use or buy firearms and to have no contact with former Rep. Kiah Morris, her husband or Misch’s ex-wife. The judge also granted the state’s request to have the Vermont State Police confiscate Misch’s weapons and ammunition to ensure that he abides by the conditions.

    “When people talk about stockpiling weapons and ammunition, talk about white supremacy, that concerns me,” said Attorney General T.J. Donovan who attended the arraignment.

    According to an affidavit, Vermont State Police investigated after learning in January that Misch had allegedly purchased an AK-47 and several 30-round magazines. Last year, the Vermont Legislature passed a law banning high capacity magazines.

    Misch’s ex-wife told police that she had disclosed to her therapist concerns about Misch purchasing weapons, large capacity magazines and stockpiling ammunition, the police affidavit said. The therapist alerted police, according to the affidavit. Misch’s ex-wife said Misch “had a predatory nature and tries to intimidate people physically and through the internet,” the affidavit said.

    Police searched his home on Wednesday and found two 30-round magazines, police said. Donovan said he believes it’s the first time that someone has been charged with illegally possessing such magazines in Vermont.

    Misch’s lawyer declined to comment after the arraignment.

  12. 12
    The Pale Scot says:

    Brought to mind the best song about Merle there is

    Pure Prairie League’s
    I’ll Change Your Flat Tire, Merle

    Monster God of the steel guitar John David Call riffing away, Mighty Fine!

  13. 13
    germy says:

    @trollhattan: I wonder if Friday brings any new indictments or other good news.

  14. 14
    AThornton says:

    @Fair Economist:

    The Great Depression caused the collapse of liberal democracies across Europe, not just in Germany.

    But we never hear about them.

    (Can’t imagine why :-)

  15. 15

    Should this apply to anybody here, Uncanny Magazine is taking submissions (fiction, nonfiction, poetry) for the “Disabled People Destroy Fantasy” issue:

    Disabled People Destroy Fantasy is a continuation of the Destroy series in which we, disabled members of the science fiction community, will put ourselves where we belong: at the center of the story. Often, disabled people are an afterthought, a punchline, or simply forgotten in the face of new horizons, scientific discovery, or magical invention. We intend to destroy ableism and bring forth voices, narratives, and truths most important to disabled writers, editors, and creators with this special issue.

    I am writing a story about a 12-step program for “magic-dependent” wizards.

  16. 16
    VeniceRiley says:

    After 2016 I asked a friend to join me & a scrabble board in a bunker for 4 years; afterwhich we would emerge, blinking in the overbright sun.
    I still think that would have been better.

  17. 17
  18. 18
    Fair Economist says:

    @AThornton: And the Great Recession seems to have brought down liberal democracy in Hungary a second time.

  19. 19
    trollhattan says:

    I [heart] those Mueller Fridays. Here’s hoping….

  20. 20
    Anonymous At Work says:

    …but I want to think about Virginia and what will happen when *I* become next in line for the Governor’s office…

  21. 21
    MagdaInBlack says:

    @The Pale Scot:
    Don’t get them sweet guitar pickin’ fingers all covered with erl?

  22. 22
    trollhattan says:

    Apparently, Cindy McCain isn’t adjusting well to her new life as a not-important person.

  23. 23
    trollhattan says:

    Trying to out-Baptist the Baptists? Just great.

  24. 24
    AThornton says:

    @Fair Economist:

    We seem to conducting a Real World/Real Time experiment to see if the old bromide “Fascism is the failure mode of liberal democracy” is accurate.

  25. 25
    germy says:


    “If you see something, say something.”

  26. 26
    Brachiator says:

    @Major Major Major Major:

    I am writing a story about a 12-step program for “magic-dependent” wizards.

    What’s the point of being a wizard if you can’t, you know, wiz?

  27. 27
    NotMax says:

    @Major Major Major Major

    “Hi. I’m Artemesteron and I’m a magiholic.”

  28. 28

    @AThornton: I’d never heard that. What a terrifying idea.

  29. 29
    Yutsano says:

    @trollhattan: Oh bless her heart.

    And yes I mean it.

  30. 30
    ruemara says:

    @Major Major Major Major: I might be interested. I’ve been swamped with ideas.

  31. 31
    mad citizen says:

    @humboldtblue: I bookmarked but haven’t read this article–thanks for it–but I am continually astonished that the Catholic Church even exists after all of the horrendous scandals.

  32. 32
    The Pale Scot says:

    @MagdaInBlack: You’re a honky I know, but Merle you got soul
    I ended up putting the album on, Cole has Little Feat, PPL Taking the Stage is timeless

  33. 33
    Brachiator says:


    Apparently, Cindy McCain isn’t adjusting well to her new life as a not-important person.

    Was there ever any thought given to appointing her to her husband’s Senate seat, having her run, etc.

    Also, I thought she would just settle back into life as a wealthy beer heiress and avoid the public sphere.

  34. 34
    oldster says:

    Very cute video. I liked how they pronounced “Schoenberg” as “Showin’ Berg.”

  35. 35

    Sacha Baron Cohen gets Rs to agree that arming kindergarteners is a good idea.

    The gang of five Republican who stared directly at the camera and supported giving semi-automatics and even mortars to 4- to 12-year-olds includes former Senate Majority Leader Tent Lott, Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, Rep. Joe Wilson, former Congressman Joe Walsh and Larry Pratt, director emeritus of Gun Owners of America.

  36. 36
    J R in WV says:

    OMG, that music video is frabjously wonderful. Gimme some of that old Atonal Music! Wow. And then the banjo picker dies just that.

    Wow, thanx Tom!!!

    Also, for me, more rage than despair. Just sayin’. Can at times damage my expensive crowns, when I grind my teeth in the wee hours. Also hoping for another pre-dawn arrest visit by a large squad of FBI agents, perhaps escorted by Secret Service staff.

  37. 37
    Yutsano says:

    @Brachiator: I wondered that myself. She had more money than God even before McCain’s pension. She could have just shut up and retreated into the background. Except maybe she never wanted to be there to begin with. I dunno. I’m done with giving rich people the benefit of the doubt anymore.

  38. 38

    more by a sudden politics and strife overload. Everytime I’ve started to post here, I’ve found myself facing ten-digit paralysis, unable to move the fingers over the keys to report and fulminate on the overlapping, serial outrages.

    Why I’ve been posting mostly pets and fun stuff. The rest completely overwhelms me.

  39. 39
    NotMax says:

    @Dorothy A. Winsor

    “Look what grandpa brought you, Timmy. It ‘s a real My First Uzi!” //

  40. 40

    @Yutsano: No one cares what Cindy McCain thinks. Except she’s wandering around assuming she’s the boss. She needs to STFU. Mehan too.

  41. 41
    Peale says:

    @Major Major Major Major: Should probably be an 11 step program since 12 may be considered have magic implications that might hinder recovery. 13 steps, of course, would be out of the question.

  42. 42
    oatler. says:

    @MagdaInBlack: Don’t worry, I’ll fix your flat tire.

  43. 43

    Hey Pence, this is what a healthy marriage looks like:

  44. 44
    Raven says:

    It’s 74 degrees as the sun drops and the princess is going out with her pals so me and the pups are at the BBQ by the tracks.

  45. 45
    eemom says:

    @mad citizen:

    I am continually astonished that the Catholic Church even exists after all of the horrendous scandals.

    It has not only existed, but thrived, for well over a thousand years in the face of a solid track record of mass murder, child abuse, torture, complicity in genocide, corruption, extortion, and demagoguery, amongst other things….so why would a few scandals stop it now?

  46. 46
    JPL says:

    What’s not to love about this quote “keep your Bach and Chopin, they’re melodic and passe” Oh the Aha’s were nice also
    Thank you Tom and Tom’s sister.

  47. 47
    Steeplejack says:


    There’s some cruft at the end of that link (at least for me). Fixed: “Feeling after the last couple of days online.”

  48. 48
    JPL says:

    @TaMara (HFG): I saw that earlier and laughed. She is great.

  49. 49
    JPL says:

    @Raven: It was 80 here and at the same time tomorrow it will be 48, which is normal I guess.

    whoops 78 now

  50. 50
    Yutsano says:

    @JPL: Georgia sounds downright balmy. It was 7 degrees when I left for work this morning. 7 degrees FAHRENHEIT.

  51. 51
    NotMax says:

    Watched a B-minus 1930s movie last night hadn’t seen previously, Sing Sing Nights, because the premise was interesting enough (keeping in mind its dependence on less than the most modern forensics),

    No question a man was shot dead in his home. But – shot three times, with the bullets coming from three different guns, Any one of the three shots would prove instantly fatal. Three people who have never met one another before being taken into custody individually voluntarily confess to shooting and killing him (and each believes he is the one whose bullet killed him) and each turns in a gun but clams up regarding any other information. Who ends up rightfully charged with murder as opposed to shooting into a corpse?

  52. 52
    Raven says:

    @JPL: big ol CSX Rolling by, bohdi barked!

  53. 53
    Steeplejack says:


    They get addicted to the spotlight in the public sphere. She went to the Davos conference, for chrissakes!

    Apparently she’s a big wheel, or fancies herself such, in the anti-human trafficking movement. And she’s prepared to roll up her sleeves and do the hard work, one unhinged phone call at a time.

  54. 54
    --bd says:

    Merle Hazard is on Spotify and has 49 monthly listeners. Well, 50 now.

  55. 55
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Fair Economist:

    Goodbye and good riddance to tone rows

    I feel quite certain that I’ve shared this here, possibly more than once, but when I was a music student I took a class in 20th-century composition. One assignment was to come up with an original 12-tone row and then write a short composition which incorporated examples of retrograde motion, cancrizans, inversion, stretto, and similar rules-based serial exercises. I hated the assignment, so I decided to write a limerick and set it for SATB voices:

    This music that’s dodecaphonic
    I consider a joke quite ironic:
    How can I make incursions
    Into retro-inversions
    When I don’t even know where’s the tonic !?

  56. 56
    NotMax says:


    the BBQ by the tracks

    Hobo jungle? How retro.


  57. 57
    jl says:

    @TaMara (HFG): No 4 sirens and ‘must quote BJ blog’ on that?

    OK… one think that I like about Josh Marshall is that he is an historian and he reminds me of obscure history stuff that I learned me once in school but have long since forgotten. So, J Fallwell Jr is squawking that the holy blissful Founders would have never approved of whites blackfacing it up, and that they would be horrified that DC burbs would ever spill over into the great sovereign state of By God Virginia.

    ok one more thing. The district originally literally did sprawl out into Virginia. Ever wonder why the 10 mile sq isn’t a square. Va got the feds to give that part back to VA so they could make sure it remained safe for slavery.

  58. 58
    Raven says:

    @NotMax: It’s an old coat hanger factory right, and I mean, right on the tracks.

  59. 59
    The Pale Scot says:

    @Dorothy A. Winsor:

    Sacha Baron Cohen gets Rs to agree that arming kindergarteners is a good idea

    Just WOW, Jobu I hope they’re in on the joke

  60. 60
    Steeplejack says:



  61. 61
    Immanentize says:

    as soon as the last syllabi are complete…

    What? Only someone at an elite institution could finish their multiple syllabi a month after classes started. 🤠

  62. 62
    humboldtblue says:


    Even worse, because they wield far more influence and power due to money from very wealthy donors and patrons.

    @mad citizen:

    Not just survived but flourished.

    The article mirrors what the GOP under McConnell has done over the past eight years, attack the very structures of our governance for single-party gain.

  63. 63
    Steeplejack says:


    If I go to a barbecue place, I’m not getting catfish tacos! Just sayin’.

  64. 64
    evodevo says:

    I watched Merle quite a lot on youtube during the leadup to the Great Crash – I think my favorite was In the Hamptons lol

  65. 65
    Raven says:

    @NotMax: Of course, Proud of What I Am is my fav.

  66. 66
    Brachiator says:

    After that paean to atonal music, I might be ready for some economic bluegrass.

  67. 67
    JPL says:

    @Yutsano: The dogs loved it and didn’t want to come in. Last week was thirty plus degrees lower and tomorrow will be the same.

  68. 68
    Raven says:

    This is Athens. I like this place once in a while by White Tiger is my favorite and he has BBQ and vegetarian.

  69. 69
    K488 says:

    Getting here late, but wanted to add that my kids (children of a post-tonal composer) have been snickering via Facebook for a few days. My sister (early music person, pre 1750) put it up for the yucks. I was less amused personally, but love that my kids are laughing.

  70. 70
    Immanentize says:

    @humboldtblue: I have a huge amount of opinion about such Catholics. They are like the protagonist in Wise Blood, a Church without Christ. Always susceptible to the monies, churches will lean toward promoting the earthly rather than the Divine. I hate those mother fucker control freaks.

  71. 71
    Tom Levenson says:

    @Immanentize: MIT’s drop dead date for syllabi is the end of the first week of classes. So, basically, yeah.

  72. 72
    jl says:

    @The Pale Scot: The GOPers are in on the sick joke, but they just don’t know it.

  73. 73
    JPL says:

    @Raven: Decades ago when I lived in IL I was invited to go out for drinks with a group of women. The bar was near some tracks and a train came by. I mentioned how my two young sons would be excited about that. They didn’t invite me again. Actually I probably said a choo choo.

  74. 74
    Chris Johnson says:

    Hey juicers… homeboy made the FYNYT! :D

    I am (and have always been) that Chris Johnson. The article was actually based on my research :)

    And just in time for that, my web hosting attacked my site and took everything down complaining about bandwidth and CPU issues. Understandable, right? It’s a wordpress site, and it was getting more than 400 hits a day :D (weeps)

    Not that they linked to me in the article, so small blessings eh?

    DEFinitely enough to distract me from Orange Julius (I mean Caligula)

  75. 75
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    Some excellent, if strangely-timed, news from my Congressional District (GA-7): the R incumbent, Rob Woodall, announced today he won’t seek reëlection in 2020. In the 2018 midterms, for the first time in his career, he was up against a genuine challenger (MY GAL CAROLYN BOURDEAUX REPRESENT!), who. came within a 400-vote whisker of beating and unseating him. Good riddance to him, he’s a waste of oxygen. Carolyn has already said she’ll run for the what is now an open seat. She was/is/will be a terrific candidate and I’m pretty confident we can put her decisively over the top in 2020.

  76. 76
    B.B.A. says:

    @AThornton: Just once I’d like to get a liberal authoritarian dictatorship out of a failed state. Can you imagine what Nancy Pelosi would do if she commanded death squads?

    But nooooo.

  77. 77
    jl says:

    @K488: The post-tonal kids need to study up on their history. Webern spent his last days composing canons that sound to most people to be very tonal (because they kind of were, but except kind of not, formally). And Berg told Stravinsky that he wished he could compose some of Stravinsky’s happy time tonal music. I think the piece in question was Capriccio for Piano and Orchestra. And what parts of Purcell’s Fantasia’s are tonal versus not tonal.. interesting question.

    Capriccio for Piano and Orchestra, Stravinsky

  78. 78
    Yutsano says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: I’m back to being greedy again. I want them all. And I want us to not lose a single seat we gained from the Republicans in 2018. And I do mean all of them.

    @jl: To quote Shostakovich: “There are still so many things to say in C major..”

  79. 79
    NotMax says:


    Anyone else remember those diner-type eateries where the gimmick was that your food and beverages were delivered to the booth or table by model trains?

  80. 80
    Brachiator says:


    No question a man was shot dead in his home. But – shot three times, with the bullets coming from three different guns, Any one of the three shots would prove instantly fatal. Three people who have never met one another before being taken into custody individually voluntarily confess to shooting and killing him

    Was this a thing in mystery novels and movies for a while?

    This plot reminds me a bit of one of the Philo Vance movies I recently watched on TCM, The Kennel Murder Case. A man is shot and his corpse arranged to make things look like a suicide, but it turns out that there was an earlier attempt on his life.

  81. 81

    @NotMax: I’ve eaten at a sushi place in japan where it’s delivered by a tiny bullet train.

  82. 82
    SiubhanDuinne says:


    he is an historian

    Steve? Steve in the ATL? You around?

  83. 83
    NotMax says:

    @Major Major Major Major

    Don’t think my reflexes are keen enough to grab the plate there before it flashes by.


  84. 84
    SiubhanDuinne says:


    “Hi. I’m Artemesteron and I’m a magiholic.”


  85. 85
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: BAN THAT POSTER!!!!!

    I do a couple of hours worth of work and this place goes to hell….

  86. 86
    joel hanes says:

    @Dorothy A. Winsor:

    she needs to STFU. Meghan too.

    Would that Liz Cheney would stifle.

  87. 87
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @jl: does he live in an house?

    Probably a apartment, since he’s in the city.

  88. 88
    Amir Khalid says:

    If you Google “my first rifle”, you will come across a real company called Keystone Sporting Arms that makes junior-sized rifles in brightly-coloured plastic for children. A few years ago, they were obliged to take down a photo gallery full of pre-teenage children (all of them white, as I recall) firing these rifles.

  89. 89
    Immanentize says:


    I do. And Kura Sushi is it’s modern child. I live a Kura restaurant

  90. 90

    @SiubhanDuinne: this is approximately how the story begins, except his name is Dennis.

  91. 91
    mad citizen says:

    @eemom: True Enough. Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition!

    In other open thread news, I slapped a Kamala Harris sticker on the back of my SUV this afternoon.

  92. 92
    debbie says:

    So that’s what I was playing when I had a banjo so many years ago!

  93. 93
    SiubhanDuinne says:


    We briefly hit 78° a couple of hours ago. It’s glorious, but it’s wicked wrong. My Inner Eeyore is worried as to what this may portend. A lot of the flowering trees and shrubberies are already getting all fluffy, weeks before they should. Beautiful. Wrong.

  94. 94
    Brachiator says:

    @Major Major Major Major:

    I’ve eaten at a sushi place in japan where it’s delivered by a tiny bullet train.

    Fast food?

  95. 95
    NotMax says:

    @Major Major Major Major

    “Mandrake, we saw you gesture mystically just now. For shame.”

    “I was scratching my nose. Honest.”

  96. 96
  97. 97
    Aleta says:

    Thanks for that song!
    At the top worst times for me these two + years, it’s only music that gave a full relief to my brain. Harmonies and chords especially.

  98. 98
    NotMax says:


    Not a fan of the Nancy Drew Ann Historian mysteries, eh?

  99. 99
    Skepticat says:

    I’ve finally found something that makes U.S. politics look good by comparison. The bodies and parts thereof of the shipwreck victims have begun to resurface and come ashore. Lucky for us that the currents are taking most a bit further down the island chain. I still prefer them to tRump, however.

  100. 100
    Victor Matheson says:

    @Fair Economist: I have to say that as an economist and a bluegrass musician, I was extremely disappointed not to hear any economics bluegrass. I think he is dead wrong that the kids aren’t into that these days.

  101. 101
    Victor Matheson says:

    @Brachiator: You and me both! Economics bluegrass all the way!

  102. 102
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @Victor Matheson: economics and bluegrass go together like tanqueray and chronic!

  103. 103
    Uncle Cosmo says:

    @NotMax: FYI the Vytopna Railway Restaurant on Vaclavske namesti in Praha (Wenceslas Square in Prague for the unCzeched amongst us) persists in doing precisely that. Here’s a short vid. I had pivo there once. Overpriced but fun.

  104. 104
    Ohio Mom says:

    @Victor Matheson: Merle has lots of songs about economics. You can google such hits as “The Great Unwind” and “How Long (will interest rates stay low)?”

    It’s cute stuff.

  105. 105
    oatler. says:

    @Steve in the ATL: Fond memories of the Dillards on “Andy Griffith”.

  106. 106
    K488 says:

    @jl: The Stravinsky is a cool piece, and pure delight. Based on Weber (not Webern), if I remember right. And of course Berg’s last work, the Violin Concerto, contains lots of tonal references. Schoenberg, too, when he came to the US continued to compose works based on 12 tone rows, but also wrote the wonderful Variations for Band in a very chromatic, even Reger-esque, g minor. Lots of musical languages were at play in the 20th century, with lots of lovely music, both tonal and post-tonal emerging therefrom. Thanks for the reminder of the Capriccio.

  107. 107
  108. 108
    satby says:

    @Skepticat: well, that’s horrible. How sad.

  109. 109
    Mathguy says:

    This reminded me of the Austin Lounge Lizards, who perform some terrific pieces of satirical bluegrass. My favorite: “Jesus Loves Me, but He Really Hates You.”

  110. 110
    seaboogie says:

    Thanks, Tom – that was fun!

Comments are closed.