Talking Heads

Psycho Killer

Talking Heads – Psycho Killer

Do you realize that we are not even a week out from the first presidential debate? What the fuck. What the Fuck?! In those handful of days, Trump tested positive for COVID, went to the hospital, had a kitchen sink of drugs injected into him, had doctor’s lie about the timeline of his illness, went for a joyride to visit his “fans” lining the streets outside the hospital, and then demanded he be released. There is a psycho killer in the White House, no way around it. How else can you describe an evil, narcissistic, fascist, hopped up on steroids, while infected and contagious with a deadly virus, leaving the hospital and returning to cough and breathe all over every surface and everyone in the building?

That would be bad enough but first he tweets to all his cult members, “Don’t be afraid of COVID. Don’t let it dominate your life.” Fantastic. It wasn’t hard enough to deal with all of the anti-maskers before, it’s going to be impossible now. More assholes with guns will show up on capitol steps demanding to be allowed to infect their neighbors because Dear Leader told them not to be weak and believe in science. Own the libs. Catch a deadly virus and extend the damage that’s already been done.

I’ve lost count how many people in his administration and other high ranking GOP members now have tested positive for the coronavirus. That superspreader event to celebrate their Supreme Court coup is like a cruise ship in February. I just can’t imagine being so arrogant as to think that there’s no chance you might catch it and to just roll the dice and forego any safety precautions that most of the nation has been living with for over half a year now. 210,000 people have died and millions more have been sick, some with debilitating, lingering health problems, but no, it won’t possibly touch me. I’ll just sit here next to these people who have been god knows where and with whom, not wear a mask, watch as people hug and touch each other, touch their noses and then hug some more. Let’s celebrate the impending decision to strip health insurance away from millions of Americans with pre-existing conditions during a pandemic. Couldn’t happen to us. Cheers!

What. The. Actual. Fuck.

Every single one of those adults at the ceremony deserves what they get. Same with the people at the golf club fundraiser. No, they didn’t know he had the virus, but they knew they were spending $250,000 to hang out with a lying con man who knew from the beginning how contagious and deadly this disease is, yet deliberately sought to downplay it’s severity and deprive the nation of information and medical supplies. I saw this great Twitter thread that summed up this moral failing, “Finding a non-white supremacist reason to support a white supremacist still aligns you with white supremacy. Finding a non-authoritarian reason to support an authoritarian still aligns you with authoritarianism.” to which I would add, finding a non-science denying reason to support a science denier gives you COVID. 

It’s all so bizarre that I can see how people are inclined to believe the whole thing has been staged. His breathing looked really labored on the balcony of the White House though. Time will tell. 

First Week/Last Week…Carefree

Talking Heads – First Week/Last Week…Carefree

Here we are, new week. Over the weekend I managed to do one of the things I had planned to do from the previous weekend but there are still other things that got pushed off again for some other weekend. Then there are the tasks you need to accomplish during the work week that have nothing to do with work. If only we could all choose our own work schedules. Think how much happier and more productive people would be if they knew they could have time to make those phone calls to deal with things and not have to take vacation time to do it.


David Byrne – Blind

One of those September shows was David Byrne. I’d always regretted that I hadn’t seen Talking Heads before they broke up. Not that I really had the chance but it wasn’t physically impossible. I have felt this way since Stop Making Sense came out. I was in my senior year of high school and a friend and I went to see it at this tiny movie theater in our town up in Maine. Of course back then, I didn’t think I would never get the chance. We left our seats and danced in the aisle; I remember thinking, wow, imagine how great this would be in real life.

I also had thought about going to see David Byrne when he teamed up with St. Vincent for Love This Giant but I couldn’t really swing it. Earlier this year I heard about David Byrne’s tour for his latest album American Utopia. I checked out the schedule but the nearest venues for me were far away and not good timing so I didn’t get a ticket. As luck would have it, he announced a second string of dates with a show just a little farther than my usual haunts and it was even on a weekend! It was a seated venue I hadn’t been to before so I wanted to get a good seat. As soon as pay day rolled around, I managed to get a spot with only two people next to me and no one in front of me in the first tier (up three steps from the floor). It often pays to need only one ticket!

When I got there, the spot was even better than I had expected due to the weird way they configured the stairs and the railing. I had my own little private triangle of dancing space in front of my seat. 10/10, would buy again! But I was worried that people would be duds and not get up and dance and yell at me to sit down. No one was on their feet for the opening band, tUnEyArDs, and there were a lot of bald and gray-haired heads in the crowd. Thankfully those fears were put to rest as soon as the house lights went down and everyone in the packed auditorium was on their feet for the duration.

I don’t really think it’s possible to describe this show adequately. It was magical. David Byrne is a creative genius. It was equal parts theater performance, marching band routine, choreographed dance, light show, and concert. To say nothing of how talented, diverse, and international the band was. Everyone barefoot and in identical gray suits. Six percussionists wearing their instruments like a high school drum line. A keyboard player likewise outfitted. Two back-up singers/dancers, a guitar player, a bass player, and all wireless. Musicians came and went through a beaded backdrop that created three sides of a cube. So much to see and take in. I could have seen it every night for a week and still not have gotten it all.

There were a lot of Talking Heads songs but also plenty from the new album, and songs from his earlier collaborations and projects as well. I don’t think I will ever see anything like it ever again. It easily belongs in my top twenty concerts of all time, maybe even in the top ten. And that’s not just me, my sister and brother-in-law saw the show a few days later in New York and were similarly blown away. My mother’s neighbor saw it up in Maine and described it as “off-the-charts amazing.” In looking for a video to use with this post, I came across one from a woman in London who wrote in the description, “I think this is the best live show I’m ever going to see.” A sentiment echoed by NME.

I hope he had it filmed at some point because even though videos don’t really capture the energy of a live performance, it deserves to be professionally recorded. David Byrne is 66 years old and is not slowing down. I love that he is still as unconventional now as he was in the early days of Talking Heads. And it isn’t just for show, he walks the walk. He had along and urged everyone to vote, and they closed the night with a cover of Janelle Monae’s “Hell You Talmbout.”

The tour has moved on to Europe and then I think to New Zealand and Australia so I think you missed your chance if you didn’t get to go. I think it will be hard for him to top this but I’ll definitely keep my ears open for his next project.

Warning Sign

Talking Heads – Warning Sign

I have this one friend on Facebook who reposts things from his memories all the time. If you’re not on FB, it’s this feature that shows you what you posted on that day in years past. Reading these things now from a year, two years, or even longer ago is especially grim in our current circumstances. Yesterday he reposted a Tweet written by Andy Borowitz of The New Yorker which was incredibly prescient. Posted on Nov. 13, 2011, it said, “Be on the lookout for a mentally challenged pathological liar and sexual pervert. He could be the next GOP frontrunner.”

Stops you in your tracks. Some of us have been sounding the alarm for a long time and yet, here we are. I shudder to think where we might be a year from now. I read a couple of really depressing articles this week that just knock the wind out of you. Of course we keep fighting, keep resisting, but what about the gullible millions who are so angry and deluded that they steadfastly stand behind Der Orangeführer, no matter what? They’ve been brainwashed by Fox News and simply reject facts, truth, or expertise of any kind. You can not reason with them or explain anything to them that doesn’t fit into the narrow view they allow themselves to operate in. I know we outnumber them but they are not going anywhere any time soon and the Kochs and Mercers of this world will continue to feed the beast with their billions.

The Great Beyond

The Great Beyond

From before Twitler took office, I have felt that he would get us all killed. Today we dropped a massive bomb on Afghanistan, apparently, and are making threats to North Korea. So it seemed like maybe I should not keep holding on to my memorial service playlist but that the time is right to share it. After all, if we’re going to have World War III, I may as well make sure this is out there.

However, the caveat is not all of these songs are available online in the versions that I would actually like to use and it varies between Spotify and YouTube which ones had to be substituted. For that reason, I’m running down the list below. I also can’t help the visuals on some of these videos, which is why I prefer an audio only experience for this, but life could be short so I’m over it. YouTube above, Spotify below.

The Great Beyond
1. Angelika Suspended – Poi Dog Pondering (Spotify has the preferred version)
2. Just Breathe – Pearl Jam
3. If You Want to Sing Out, Sing Out – Cat Stevens (here the YouTube is worth it for the Harold and Maude clips since that’s key to its selection)
4. Belong – R.E.M.
5. Weird Fishes/Arpeggi – Radiohead (Spotify for the studio version, though I like the Scotch Mist version fine, it’s not the “right” one)
6. Treefingers – Radiohead (optional – serves as a transition but could also be cut or used as music while people are milling about before things get started)
7. Blood of Eden – Peter Gabriel (YouTube is the correct version from Until the End of the World)
8. Calling All Angels – Jane Siberry with k.d.lang
9. Heaven – Talking Heads
10. Wendell Gee – R.E.M.
11. Untitled – R.E.M.
12. This Must Be the Place (Naive Melody) – Talking Heads

While there are a lot of songs that you might think I would have on a playlist for my memorial service, this is meant to be something you can actually play for assembled grieving friends and family and not bum people out too much. It shouldn’t make people feel worse. At the same time, sometimes it’s good to cry and let it out. The idea is that this should be in place of any hymns or prayers since I am not religious, though there are some songs that gesture toward that, after all I have a number of church-going family members, including my aunt the nun.

In the days to come I’ll take each one as a separate post with more details but for now I’ll let it speak for itself.

Born Under Punches

Talking Heads – Born Under Punches

In just a few days, a matter of hours really, we will say goodbye to what has always been a given. Presidents come and go, some we wish would have left sooner, but I never before felt like our entire system of government was in jeopardy. Specific laws or rights have been under attack before but the very nature of our government?

The speed at which the Republicans in Congress have been trying to dismantle everything they fought against during the past 8 years is enough to make your head spin. Just keeping tabs on all the devious tactics feels like a full-time job. I worry that we won’t all be able to maintain this level of attention once Twitler is in office.

I keep seeing articles where it outlines all of the reasons why Trumpenführer is headed for impeachment but I just can’t see Ryan or McConnell doing anything to stop him. They are having too good a time screwing over the vast majority of the population. Just look at those shit-eating grins they’re sporting in every picture of either of them since Election Day.

It’s so impossible for me to contemplate living under a fascist that I’ve been imagining what else could possibly be in our future. Those assholes in Congress are so craven and ruthless that they will keep forging ahead with their plans and either ignore or support the Cheeto unless he does something that challenges their plans. I don’t think he’s smart enough to out fox them but I can imagine him becoming a political liability, especially if the Russia story gets more embarrassing. If it suits them, then maybe they’ll take up the cause to rid us of this disgrace. But then what?

Pence. He’s really an evil bastard. I actually wouldn’t put it past him to be working on some kind of scheme of his own to push the Orange Fool out and take over himself. I have previously been of the opinion that at least he’s a normal, if despicable, conservative politician and at least we know how to fight that kind of snake. But recently I’ve wondered if that would be better. I feel like I’d worry less about the country being ruled by a fascist authoritarian but Pence would probably do equal damage domestically. He wouldn’t Tweet us into World War III but he’s coming for your birth control and he wants to remove every LGBTQ protection we’ve managed to put in place. Education? Still fucked. The Supreme Court? Toast. Black Lives Matter? Not a chance. Worse yet, I feel like the relative “normalcy” Pence would bring might be enough to see a return to complacency amongst the general population. I want this over as soon as possible. Unless there’s some way to invalidate the election and never have either of them, while not handing things off to Ryan, then it’s hard to know what is the best possible outcome. It’s all so awful.

We have to keep our eyes on these slippery fuckers. These government men. Keep the heat on.

“All I want is to breathe.” Maybe in 2020.

(I encourage you to check out the whole concert this clip comes from. Really great. The comments contained this gem, “No one will ever be as attractive as Tina Weymouth is in this video.” Those biceps!)

Life During Wartime


Talking Heads – Life During Wartime

This ain’t no fooling around. Another day, another hoooollly fuck. How is this real life?

I really can’t imagine what life will be like in two months. Two months. That’s all we have left. I am not one for dystopian novels but I’m beginning to think perhaps I should’ve read a few as a survival guide.


Talking Heads – Heaven

Yesterday I went to a funeral for my former boss at my previous job. He had been really ill from cancer and honestly, if he wasn’t going to beat it (which he wasn’t) then I’m glad he wasn’t suffering any longer. But. He was only one year older than me and he leaves his wife to raise their 13-year-old son alone. His older brother had died some years earlier so there were his parents, outliving both of their children. It was all very sad and it sure made you think about how unfair and random life can be.

He was not religious, pretty agnostic I’d say, so it seemed a bit odd to have the service led by the hospice chaplain. To hear him tell it, after just two visits, my old boss had become a believer.

Maybe I’m just too cynical. Maybe everything the chaplain said was true, or if not true, perhaps it was at least comforting to people who would feel better about the situation if they thought he had come to peace with god before he died.

Not being inclined that way myself, I found my thoughts drifting while the chaplain rambled on about what awaits us in the hereafter. I can appreciate that it would be a difficult day and probably your loved ones are not in a condition to be playing the role that the chaplain did, but this is why I have my funeral playlist. There were a number of songs played at my old boss’s service yesterday. Some unconventional choices which, while not what I was expecting having listened to his music booming out from his office for the better part of five years, were at least a nod to the man everyone knew.

So I returned to the thoughts about what is a service for? My mother pointed out that a funeral, in her book an actual sacrament and religious rite, is more about sending that person off with all the appropriate prayers and solemnity one expects. A memorial service could be more of an occasion for friends and family to remember the person and celebrate their life, tell funny or heartfelt stories. More about the person, less about the death and dying.

I kept thinking, when this is over, and we are safely out of earshot in our car, I am telling my husband, do not let any service for me be like this. Do not, under any circumstances, let some priest who never (or barely) met me, stand up and tell everyone what his ideas are about what I was thinking at the end, or how I was feeling. What comes next. You take my now-renamed memorial service playlist and you hit play.

This song is on there. If it gives people comfort to think about me up in heaven (which I don’t believe in) then let it at least be a bar where the band plays my favorite song, plays it all night long.

Burning Down the House

#WhereILivedWednesday: Mrs. Black’s House

This is part of a series of entries about places you once called home, started by Ann Imig of Ann’s Rants. Check out the links on her site for more stories!

My mother started a new job in a small Maine town during the summer of 1983. Our house in New York was on the market but not generating much interest and the three of us still left at home needed to join my mother up in Maine by the start of the school year. When the first day of school rolled around, we were still living at a summer place an hour away, in the tiny beach town where we’d spent many summers of our childhood. After two weeks of making that drive with three reluctant passengers at 6am, my mother found someplace closer to school.

Our new temporary home was also a summer house, right down by the water, but in the same town as my mom’s new job and our school. It was owned by an old lady named Mrs. Black who cleared out after Labor Day and was happy to have some extra income by renting it to us. The reason she moved back into town then was because the house wasn’t winterized; a new term for me that I didn’t fully appreciate until later.

At first it was great. September in Maine is still beautiful, with the fall colors starting, and you could still look forward to warm afternoons. The house had a very large open room with a double fireplace smack in the middle. One corner was the dining area, the opposite corner had a big sofa and one of those lobster trap tables common in Maine summer houses. There were two bedrooms back behind the living room area of the open room, and one small bathroom. There was another bedroom tucked in behind the kitchen but it was a little creepy and we preferred to double up in the regular bedrooms.

Even though we were now in the same town as our school, it was about as far away as you could be and still be in the same district. We could have taken a school bus, and in fact my younger sister did start taking the bus home from school after a couple of weeks. But my older sister and I were New York snobs and absolutely refused to do anything so rural as ride a school bus. Besides, there was nothing to do at Mrs. Black’s house. It was lovely but remote. You could go for a walk past the deserted summer community and that was about it. My mother borrowed a black and white tv from a young guy in her office but again, being that far away from a broadcast center, you could get maybe two channels, no cable, no MTV.

September turned to October and the sun set earlier every day. Those crisp fall days everyone loves? Not so fun when your summer cabin has no heat or insulation. That big double fireplace didn’t really work. We tried once but just managed to smoke up the whole room. There actually was some kind of electric heat source, a grate in the floor blew hot air when you flipped a switch on the wall, but after my younger sister nearly set her sweater on fire by placing it on top of the grate to warm up one frosty morning, my mother declared it off limits. The bedroom my older sister and I shared had a little space heater that was basically like leaving the door open on a toaster oven. We were allowed to run it for a few minutes before going to bed to take the chill off the room so you could stand to change into pajamas. Under no circumstances were we allowed to let it run all night for fear of it shorting out and starting a fire. I think my mother was more afraid of us burning down the rental house than of our own personal safety but it was a pretty sketchy heater so we obeyed.

By November it was bad. Really bad. We now had no hot water either. It turns out that one night when it got really cold, the hot water pipe had cracked and every time we turned on the hot water, instead of coming out of the sink or shower head, it was dumped onto the rocks beneath the house and trickled down to the ocean. We wore long underwear, sweatpants, and flannel nightgowns, all at the same time, two pairs of socks, and mittens, when we went to bed. My mother and little sister started sharing a twin bed, for warmth, with the cat sleeping on top of them trying to get in on some of that body heat.

We lived out there until Thanksgiving. Our house in New York still hadn’t sold but we couldn’t stay in the non-winterized house any longer. A person my mother knew at work had built a new house and was having trouble selling his old one, just like we were. He agreed to rent it to us until he had a buyer or we managed to sell ours and finally really move up to Maine.

Hey, it’s my two-year blogiversary! I’ve got a tradition going now of posting Talking Heads songs on this day, this makes the third one. We listened to this album a lot that first year up in Maine, and the last song on the record is my favorite TH song, but that’s the song on my first post so I took this one instead. It seemed to fit better anyway.