Rock N Roll Music

20170316_160948Chuck Berry

I went to New York for my friend Marianne’s 60th birthday. Getting there was quite an adventure. I boarded the Amtrak train in Lancaster, PA. We barely made it past two stations when the power went out on the entire train. About a half hour later, they fixed the problem and we were rolling again. But the problem wasn’t really fixed. We made it past two more stations and lost power again. Once again it took about a half hour to “fix” the problem, and we were rolling again. We were only about 6 miles from Philadelphia when the train lost power again. This time they weren’t able to restore power, but they did come up with a Plan B.

Philadelphia was downhill from where we were stuck, so they decided to attempt to coast into the station. They released the pneumatic brake and we started rolling slowly. Gradually the train picked up speed and we made it all the way to the Philadelphia station. Once there, they announced that there would be a delay while they switched engines. Passengers could, if they so desired, walk over to track 3 and catch a train to New York, which would be leaving soon. Almost everyone raced towards track 3. It was like the lifeboat scene in Titanic. I was the only one to stay on board. I was on my way to a Patty’s Day party and it was only Thursday, so I wasn’t in a hurry. About 40 minutes later we were rolling to New York – the new engine, the train crew, and me. I had a private train all the way to Trenton, where two guys got on. Since it was no longer a private party, I had to take my music off speaker then and go back to wearing a headset. Fortunately, I took enough video while the train was my private train, so I’ll be able to put something on FaceBook to commemorate the day.

Marianne’s party was one of the best ever. As usual, she had hired Bob Gier to play the piano and entertain, but this time a bunch of us had parody songs prepared to honor Marianne. Her sister Geralyn channeled Robert Palmer to do a very funny parody of Addicted to Love. “Might as well face it that you’re over the hill.” One of Marianne’s cousins and her other two sisters, Eileen and Janet, played the gorgeous backup band who never crack a smile. They had the gorgeous part of the act, but couldn’t help laughing throughout the song. I can’t blame them. I was cracking up, too.

The entire O’Hara clan got up to do a riotous tribute parody to the tune of Piano Man. “It’s 9 o’clock on a Saturday. The regular crowd shuffles near. There’s a young gal sitting next to me, making love to her 60th beer.” More cousins and friends did their rewrite of If I Only had a Brain, that was a mini biography of Marianne. “A Driscoll she did marry, Producer legendary. Twelve Emmys he has won. Three children they created, all with talent unabated. Yes, one daughter and two sons.”

The talent included performances by real live Broadway and Off-Broadway performers. None were easy acts to follow, so my friend Johnny and I were nervous when it was time for us to perform a parody of Chuck Berry’s Sweet Little Sixteen we called, Sweet Little Sixty. “They’ll be rocking in Merrick, Lancaster, PA, On the streets of New York, As long as Bob can play, All over Long Island, And way across the sea, All the cats want to dance with Sweet Little Sixty.”

Afterwards, I found out that Chuck Berry had just died. Some said that our “singing” of his song is what killed him, but I don’t think we were loud enough to be heard in St. Louis, though, goodness knows we tried.

Rock on Marianne. Roll on to Rock N Roll Heaven, Chuck.

Peace & Love, and all of the above,



Shhhhh. Top Secret


“Honesty is the best policy.”

On Super Bowl Sunday, Bill O’Reilly interviewed President Trump. The most memorable part of that interview was when O’Reilly questioned the President’s respect for Vladimir Putin. “Putin is a killer!” O’Reilly reminded the President. Trump responded that “There are a lot of killers. We have a lot of killers. Well, you think our country is so innocent?”

Democrats and Republicans alike took umbrage with the President’s statement. They called it Un-American.

I wasn’t surprised by the political response, but I was astonished about the irony of the whole thing. Throughout the Presidential Campaign, Trump told one lie after another with relative impunity. Now, he spoke the truth, and it sent people into an uproar. Did all these people really believe our country was so innocent or were they mad because he spoke the truth so openly? I think it was a combination of the two. I think that most Americans are unaware of the atrocities committed by American military and intelligence agencies. To them, to even think that this country has skeletons in its closet, is Un-American. I think that those who were aware of the atrocities were appalled that an American President would shed light on them. To them, that was Un-American. Truth, Justice, and the American Way is all good for Superman, but Truth has no part in the American Way of politics.

A President telling Americans that we were responsible for the cold-blooded killing of people is worse than if he told Kindergarten classes across the country that there is no Santa Claus. It disturbs Americans to think that we gave smallpox infected blankets to the Indians, enslaved boatloads of Africans, turned away boatloads of Jews fleeing Nazi Germany, locked up over 100,000 Japanese-Americans in Internment Camps during World War II, or massacred people at My Lai. So, we don’t talk too much about that kind of stuff, even though they are all well-known events. Most Americans would be absolutely horrified to learn of the further atrocities that are hidden under the veil of secrecy, such as Top Secret Black Ops to assassinate world leaders and ruthlessly overthrow democratically elected governments.

Louis Brandeis, an associate justice of the U.S. Supreme court once said that “Publicity is justly commended as a remedy for social and industrial diseases. Sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants; electric light the most efficient policeman.”

The way to control evil behavior is for evildoers to be exposed, and many have been exposed and prosecuted. Even more are now being exposed as the government records shielding them have been declassified. Right now, I’m listening to a 17 CD audio book called, “Legacy of Ashes: The History of the CIA, by Tim Weiner.” It is based upon the contents of more than 50,000 CIA documents that have been declassified. I’m only on disc 7 and it is becoming a bit painful to continue. Most of the villainous black ops committed by the CIA were illegally hidden from the Presidents and Congress. Some, though, were carried out with their full knowledge. The CIA was originally formed to gather intelligence, not carry out Black Ops. Despite this, there were 163 Black Ops carried out by the CIA during the 8 years that Eisenhower was the President. And they were just warming up. They carried out 170 Black Ops during the 3 short years that Kennedy was The President. I’ve learned how they were responsible for hundreds of deaths, and I still have 10 more discs to go. No, Mr. O’Reilly, this country is not so innocent. President Trump spoke the truth. We have stone killers here, too.

The trouble is that by the time these documents were declassified, the evildoers were no longer alive. That is the trouble with Top Secret documents. By the time they are declassified and we learn the truth, the truth is no longer relevant, and the situations are no longer correctable. On the other side of the coin, many good projects absolutely require secrecy. The Allied Invasion on D-Day is probably the best example. I, therefore, propose that the government must be able sometimes to operate in secrecy, but that classified documents should be declassified much more rapidly – in years, not decades. Evildoers must know that they will be exposed in their lifetimes. Knowing that, just might prevent them from hatching some of their evil plans, and help clean up the swamp a bit, even if we can’t drain it completely.

Now, back to President Trump. I would like to think that his moment of truth was an effort to bring transparency to the government, but I can’t help thinking that it might have been something completely different. We all know that he is in favor of torturing prisoners for information. When questioned about Waterboarding, he said that he believed in it, and MORE. So, I fear that The President’s frankness about U.S. killers was less about transparency and more like a lawyer introducing legal precedents which would allow him to proceed in the same manner. I fear that he thinks it might be okay to overthrow any government that won’t let the U.S. dictate their policy, simply because we already did it in Chile, Guatemala, Africa, Iraq, and plenty of other places.

We are putting The Monroe Doctrine on steroids. Not only does this President feel obligated to control the “bad hombres” in our hemisphere, by doing things like threatening to send the Army into Mexico, but he feels that he can interfere with any government anywhere if they don’t do what we say, and he has requested more military spending to help him carry out his wishes. The fact that he made his killer comment on TV during the Super Bowl shows that he’s not even trying to keep it a secret.

Peace & Love, and all of the above,