Louise Brown walks down King Street during a Black Lives Matter march, Saturday, June 20, 2015, in Charleston, S.C. The event honored the Emanuel AME Church shooting victims. (AP Photo/Stephen B. Morton)

Louise Brown walks down King Street during a Black Lives Matter march, Saturday, June 20, 2015, in Charleston, S.C. The event honored the Emanuel AME Church shooting victims. (AP Photo/Stephen B. Morton)

Political parties are private clubs.  The best way to prevent outsiders from messing with party stances are closed primaries.  As long as that is the system by which we nominate Presidential candidates, voters have only a few of choices:

  • Join the club and work from within for your vision of what it should be
  • Start your own club
  • Stay home and let others run things

If your club gets beat, you make changes or break it up and form other parties.  In the past this has resulted in Federalists, Anti Federalists, Whigs, Republicans, Bull Moose, Democratic, Socialists, Progressives  and even wholesale trade of positions between parties as with the “Southern Strategy”.

Bernie and his followers found out the hard way, that the political parties are highly resistant to outsiders trying to break-in to the club without filling out a membership card.  The Democrats may adopt some of his positions for later issues, but he and they can forget about a nomination.  Barring any totally unforeseen dramatics, it will be Hillary Clinton

The Republicans are having a rougher time of it courtesy of a total assault on the ramparts backed by the torches and pitchfork crowd they have encouraged with ignorance, fear and hatred for decades.  Barring a well deserved lightning strike from on high, it will be Donald Trump.

One of them will win the World Series.  Which one will depend on those outsiders.  Do they pick a major team and vote?  Do they pick a minor leaguer and mess up the results?  Do they stay home and do nothing until given a chance to bitch about it all in 2020.

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The Band Played Waltzing Matilda

As most who know who pass through here, one of my passions is genealogy. It is a rather dramatic quirk of Scottish history that for a variety of reasons, both coerced and voluntary, they have spread throughout the world, particularly to British possessions. For some reason Mungo Bisset packed up his wife and seven children some time after 1854 and headed to the southern hemisphere. As a result, their descendants have lived ever since in Australia and New Zealand. Because of this move, many of them ended up in an unpleasant place called Gallipoli, and one nurse never returned home. ANZAC Cemetery Turkey.

If you have never read any of the history of Australia much beyond “Isn’t that where the English sent convicts?”, or seen a movie called Gallipoli, you may not know the singular importance of this event in creating a national identity. When war broke out in 1914 Australia had been a federal commonwealth for only fourteen years. In 1915 Australian and New Zealand soldiers formed part of the allied expedition that set out to capture the Gallipoli peninsula to open the way to the Black Sea for the allied navies. The plan was to capture Constantinople (now Istanbul), capital of the Ottoman Empire and an ally of Germany. They landed at Gallipoli on 25 April, meeting fierce resistance from the Turkish defenders. As a result of poor planning, ignorance of command officers, and failure to recognize the changes that had taken place in modern siege warfare, what had been planned as a bold stroke to knock Turkey out of the war quickly became a stalemate. Over 8,000 Australian soldiers were killed. and 25 April quickly became the day on which Australians remembered the sacrifice of those who had died in war.

War is never wonderful. This was one of the times, unfortunately not the last, when incompetent leaders led to the slaughter of thousands while thousands more paid for those mistakes with a lifetime of crippling wounds.

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Now and Forever


While we may never know for sure, a recent documentary indicated that there is some evidence that Shakespeare’s skull may have gone wandering despite the famous curse that rests above his grave to thwart what was a somewhat common occurrence for the time.

Good friend for Jesus sake forbeare, To dig the dust enclosed here. Blessed be the man that spares these stones, And cursed be he that moves my bones. 

Within on of his most famous plays, he takes a rather dismal view of fame:

The evil that men do lives after them; the good is oft interred with their bones.

Old Will then turned around and told us that fame might die but love could endure forever.


Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate:
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer’s lease hath all too short a date:
Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,
And often is his gold complexion dimm’d;
And every fair from fair sometime declines,
By chance, or nature’s changing course, untrimm’d;
But thy eternal summer shall not fade
Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow’st;
Nor shall Death brag thou wander’st in his shade,
When in eternal lines to time thou grow’st;
So long as men can breathe or eyes can see,
So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.

After 400 years if your work is still mandatory reading, if the words you invented are quoted daily by people who don’t know their source, and if even ubiquitous Google must contribute artwork for your birthday celebration, then you are definitely not famous but very, very well loved.  I must be totally besotted, since I’ve written about him so often:  Shakespeare and Seasons; Brush Up Your Shakespeare; Happy Birthday Will; In Good Company; Matinee Idol?; Bucket List Revision; and Burnham Wood To Dunsinane.

Even Cole Porter couldn’t resist his charm:

So to the gentleman who has never failed in giving me unlimited pleasure:  Happy Birthday dearest Bard.




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Rootless – Where’s Home?

This article resulted from a strange conversation with my son.  Where do I want to be buried? I’m 72 so it was not an unusual question that needed an answer.  Unfortunately, it is a question without an answer. Anthony Bourdain has a quote:  “The more I travel, the less I know”.  As with Gertrude Stein, when asked about her childhood home of Oakland, she answered “There’s no there there” since everything she remembered  was now gone”.

My theme song has always been “Anyplace I Hang My Hat Is Home”.  It was always beautifully done by Judy Garland and then I found this version by Audra McDonald and fell in love with it all over again.

For every place I have ever lived, there is no longer any “there there”.  No, neither parent was in the military.  My family was just went nuts at yearly intervals and somebody else got the well loved but “inconvenient” kid.  In my first 17 years of life and 12 years of school, I attended 21 schools without repeating a year in any town two years in a row.  Then I got married and settled for nine years, and then started the habit of moving again.

Los Angeles, Oakland, Chowchilla, Fresno (First Grade), Westchester, Phoenix, Albuquerque, Pasadena, Chowchilla, Fresno, El Monte, Westchester, Torrance, Anaheim, Gardena, Hawthorne, Hollywood, Redondo Beach, Westchester, Redondo Beach, Westchester (Graduated), West Covina (Married) and then it got a bit more stable for awhile:  Burlingame, San Carlos, San Mateo, Campbell (26 Divorced) Covina, Hollywood, Redondo Beach, Santa Monica, San Fernando, Port Hueneme, Washington DC, Salt Lake City, Fresno, Vancouver (the one in WA) Stockton, Fresno, Sacramento, Tacoma (Been here for 10 years now, but it isn’t really “home” and neither is anyplace in California either because there is not longer any “there there”)

Fortunately the somewhat wacko family who made me rootless gave me a gift to go with it:  A good brain and the ability to adjust and accept change.  I am not a part of anything but I am a part of everything.  So where do I want to go for disposal?

I think maybe Asilomar Conference Grounds because the Ocean in November is wild and wonderful while walking the beach, Monterey in all its touristy attractions of the Monterey Bay Aquarium, restaurants, whale watching boats, and old California historic tour are a mile down the walk path or you can opt for sanity and get settled into one of the historic rooms by the fireplace reading good books .


Pines Resort at Bass Lake. It’s pretty there, the National Forest is very green across the lake, there’s a nice breeze through the mountains, and it is quiet except when it’s the only Fourth of July celebration in the whole area or the Bass Tournament is on.  Yosemite Mountain Sugar Pine Railroad is close as is the Yosemite entrance.  I was happy in the chalets or while floating on the lake in a party boat all alone reading very good books.

So Chris, make the fish happy, toss the ashes in the water in the place you would most like to visit for a fun or a relaxing stay or since your sister will try to talk you into a modern hotel in Monterey, split the difference because I love you both.  Oh and neither place has telephones except those connected to the guest switchboard and you can have “SILENCE”.


Asilomar Campgrounds

Ailomar LodgeAsilomar Beach Asilomar2

Chalets at Bass Lake


Bass Lake lenght

Bass Lake Party Boat

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Listen Up Children

THE WEST WING -- SEASON 3 -- Pictured: (l-r) Dule Hill as Charlie Young; Rob Lowe as Sam Seaborn; Allison Janney as Claudia Jean 'C.J.' Cregg, Martin Sheen as President Josiah "Jed" Bartlet, Richard Schiff as Toby Ziegler, Stockard Channing as Abbey Bartlet, John Spencer as Leo McGarry, Janel Moloney as Donna Moss, Bradley Whitford as Josh Lyman -- Photo by: David Rose/NBCU Photo Bank

THE WEST WING — SEASON 3 — Pictured: (l-r) Dule Hill as Charlie Young; Rob Lowe as Sam Seaborn; Allison Janney as Claudia Jean ‘C.J.’ Cregg, Martin Sheen as President Josiah “Jed” Bartlet, Richard Schiff as Toby Ziegler, Stockard Channing as Abbey Bartlet, John Spencer as Leo McGarry, Janel Moloney as Donna Moss, Bradley Whitford as Josh Lyman — Photo by: David Rose/NBCU Photo Bank

It seems as if the Bernie and Trump people need a history lesson.  First there is absolutely nothing Democratic about the nomination of a party nominee by the political parties.  They weren’t created that way and they are definitely not that way now.  At absolute best now that things are decided by the election of delegates to represent voters at a convention it is somewhat more equitable, but it is still not a popular vote by just anyone who wants to vote.

No political parties existed at the time of the 1788–89 presidential election. Candidates were either Federalists, meaning they supported the ratification of the Constitution, or Anti-Federalists, meaning they opposed ratification. These groups were not established political parties, however, and were united in supporting Washington for president.

In the beginning, each state decided how its electors would be chosen and there was no participation of the general population for several years.  The original desire by the founders was that there be no political parties.  Needless to say this came to an end somewhere around the first time the Senate voted.

Once political parties of whatever name existed, they had only one purpose: WIN!!  Nothing has changed since.  Parties have come and gone, split, reformed, traded places on positions, formed third parties and disappeared.  Still they exist for one purpose:  WIN!!  No matter how idealistic you might be on the issues, you cannot interfere with that one purpose.

Once this purpose passed to the states rather than the vote of the Senate, various methods arose whether by caucus or primary to establish the Party nominee in Convention.  It still is not “democratic” in the sense that is understood by most people.  All you get is the opportunity in November to vote for whomever the party people have decided is their candidate by whatever method they have chosen to come to that nomination decision.

If you do not like the people who the parties have chosen, there is only one way to change the system.  Go to work and elect a school board and wait thirty years.  The School Board becomes a City council becomes a County legislator, becomes a Congressional district, becomes a state office holder, becomes the person who draws Congressional district.  In other words, do the work or forget about electing your ideals to office because those party activists are the ones who organize the caucuses and primaries, sit at tables for hours, and count the votes.  Once everybody has said their piece, they get to be delegates, attend conventions, and supposedly do what you tell them to do for one vote and one vote only.  After that, if there is no nominee, they get to put their thumb on the scale and you get what you get.

If you did not understand any of the above, go binge watch The West Wing.  Start here and keep streaming.





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