SHARE

Share |

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Sunday Editorial: Does WTF = WIN?

If you're as old as I am, you may recall President Ford's WIN buttons. The abbreviation stood for "Whip Inflation Now". Here is part of the speech that Ford used to launch his failed campaign against inflation (which was a problem into the Reagan years):

None of the remedies proposed, great or small, compulsory or voluntary, stands a chance unless they are combined in a considered package, in a concerted effort, in a grand design.

I have reviewed the past and the present efforts of our Federal Government to help the economy. They are simply not good enough, nor sufficiently broad, nor do they pack the punch that will turn America's economy on.

A stable American economy cannot be sustained if the world's economy is in chaos. International cooperation is absolutely essential and vital. But while we seek agreements with other nations, let us put our own economic house in order. Today, I have identified 10 areas for our joint action, the executive and the legislative branches of our Government. 


Maybe it's me, but I heard echoes of this speech in the president's State of the Union address the other night. There are differences, and inflation isn't the problem now. But his Win The Future (WTF) is just as broad and unspecific.]

Endless war on behalf of of the Military Industrial Congressional Complex, the endless Drug War on behalf of the Prison Industrial Government Syndicate (you do the initials), and the criminal greed of corporations and Wall Street -- which Obama cited as a good thing in his speech: "Stock prices are up!" -- are the problems facing this country now. These, not Social Security and Medicare, are bankrupting Main Street America.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

SMOKING REEFERS -- Cab Calloway

Though I quit smoking weed for personal reasons, I still support complete legalization. Here is an unreleased Cab Calloway song a friend sent to me, followed by a couple more reefer tunes.

Louis Armstrong used to call reefer "Mister Muggles" and he wasn' talking about Harry Potter. Enjoy!







Friday, January 28, 2011

BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY with Jake Shimabukuro

Here's some ukulele music to make your weekend sweeter. Jake Shimabukuro is hands down the finest ukulele instrumentalist on the planet. You may have seen him doing George Harrison's "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" in a video that went viral a few years ago. Enjoy!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

FROM THE DEPT OF WTF: Mark Ruffalo -- terrorist?

WTF? Mark Ruffalo was put on the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Terrorist Watch List because he organized a screening of the Oscar-nominated documentary Gasland. This is the film that exposes hydrofracking for the rape of the environment that it is -- not the alternative clean energy source that eco-rapist T. Boone Pickens is claiming.

BROADWAY VAMPIRE -- CHAPTER 20

Well, yesterday the free serialization of my novel BROADWAY VAMPIRE reached the one third point. In other words, 20 of 60 chapters have now been posted. Only 40 weeks to go. Not exactly a landmark but worth mentioning, to my mind anyway.

Read it here.

Buy the entire book in paperback or Kindle editions here.

Thanks!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

LET’S GO SERFING NOW

Last night’s State of the Union speech was worse than pathetic. It was frightening. (The seating arrangement reflected the truth that there is only one party. But anyone with any sense already knew that.) Barack H. Obama, President of the United States, in his opening remarks praised the rise in corporate profits as a sign of what is elsewhere oxymoronically being called a “jobless recovery”. The man is a corporate whore through and through. If his recent appointments of William Daley and Jeffrey Immelt as his chief advisers weren’t proof enough that the president is out of touch with anyone but the corporate elite who are running this country down to dirt, the speech last night was.

Nowhere in the speech were the growing class of poor people and the shrinking middle class mentioned. At no point was relief for those suffering from the past year’s Gulf oil tragedy addressed. The rising tide of foreclosures? Zippety doo dah, my oh my what a wonderful day!

Tomorrow I will address the president’s favorite oxymoron – clean coal. 

Today I am still reeling that in one part of the speech Obama stated that some corporations paid no tax at all, and in the next portion of his speech offered his remedy – lower corporate taxes for all corporations.    

I do like the idea of high speed rail service. But 2025? 14 years from now? Talk about a lack of competitiveness. The transcontinental railroad was built in 6 years beginning in 1863 and completed in May of 1869. The Pony Express was the quickest means of communication while it was being built. The transcontinental telegraph -- the internet of its day -- was built simultaneously. It is worth noting that for 2 of those years, there was a war going on in this country. Yet, we’re being told that the new rail system is going to take more than twice as long as a similar effort took in the 19th century? WTF is wrong with this country?

This president is a complete political hack. He is setting up anyone who is not part of the multi-millionaire and billionaire class to be corporate serfs. The postal service is closing 2,000 post offices across the country this year and is considering closing another 16,000. Think about that. That move would hasten the electronification of money and increase the power of banks and other usurers exponentially. People will no longer be able to pay their bills by check. The choice of whether or not to yield complete control of financial information will no longer exist. Everything will be in the databases of the jerks who brought us the current economic crisis. This will also, to a large degree, privatize the mail, as there will still be packages to be delivered. FedEx and UPS must be licking their chops like Br’er Wolf.

There is an alternative model to a complete corporate take over of the government and the body politic. I strongly recommend that you read it here.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Sons of Anarchy

It seems to be one of those blogging things to rave about a TV show, or shows. I don't watch a lot of television. I still think of it as the Boob Tube, a phrase seldom if ever heard anymore.

All that said, I really got hooked into the FX network original series Sons of Anarchy. It is violent, testosterone-filled and has all sorts of other things that normally make me click to another channel.
However, SOA has some of the best acting and writing on television.

I've now watched every episode from the 3 seasons of the show's existence. This meant getting previous seasons from Netflix and watching episodes on DVD. Then, last night, I did something that is quite far-fetched, for me -- I paid to stream the only episode that I had missed from the most recent season. And I was glad I did.

When Katey Sagal was announced for winning the Golden Globe, I actually cheered.  Charlie Hunnam and Ron Perlman should have won, too.

Kim Coates as Tig is one of the most frightening yet likable psychopaths ever portrayed on screen. Maggie Siff is totally believable and brilliant in the difficult role of an intelligent woman set adrift by love from the accepted points of the moral compass.

I love this show. No apologies.
Publish Post

R.I.P. Anna Mashutina

I don't know her plays but it sounds like a real loss. All organized religion is madness.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

More from the Dept of Random Thoughts

Growth is not an economic policy. It's what tumors do.

All you have to do is look at the transnational corporations and Wall Street banks to realize that this is true.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

BROADWAY VAMPIRE new chapter posted

The serialization of BROADWAY VAMPIRE -- the novel of Broadway, vampires, murder and mayhem -- continues today with the posting of Chapter 19. Enjoy!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

THE PUPPETEER AND THE ROCK STAR

As Rich Schapiro of the NY Daily News reported last week, the opening night for the Spiderman musical on Broadway has been delayed once again. Here's what the producer had to say by way of explanation:

Spider-Man "is 10 times more complicated to [technically rehearse] than anything else, and the preview schedule allows for only very limited rehearsal time" - 12 hours per week, said Michael Cohl, co-producer of "Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark," noting that the new final scene still needs work.
"We simply need more time to fully execute the creative team's vision before freezing the show."

I've got news for you, Mike. It took 410 days to build the Empire State Building. It cost $40,948,900 to build. You and your team are staging a Broadway show and are into it for $65 million. Just saying..

I was surprised to read that the next scheduled opening night is March 15. The Ides of March? Really? I guess the idea is that no one in the theater will blame them for canceling that opening, too, when it's closer -- given the Shakespearean connection.
Finally, Bono and the Edge had this spin to put on the delay:
"Working on this show has been one of the great thrills of our lives," they said. "We'll continue working as long as they let us. We are looking for the extraordinary here, and we are nearly there."

Extraordinary, boys? Really? My Fair Lady was extraordinary. It was based on a play by George Bernard Shaw. It actually had something to say. However it turns out, you guys are putting on a show based on a fucking comic book.

Ego, like medicority these days, knows no bounds.

CATCHING UP ON MY THOUGHTS

My Mom called to wish me a Happy Birthday. She asked how everything is going. My reply: "Same as it ever was. Rich people still ahead."

I'm really glad Congressperson Giffords is doing well recovering from her head wound. Do we really need to hear the endless updates, though? I know Americans love to wallow in tragedy ( or at least the mainstream media thinks we do, and therefore shoves it down our throats endlessly.) However, there's one tragedy that isn't getting any coverage these days -- the wars that are bankrupting this country. (I guess that's 2 tragedies but why quibble?) Ms. Giffords voted for the wars. A lot of soldiers have suffered tragic head wounds, too. Of course, they're not part of the DC elite. So, their wounds and recuperation don't deserve coverage 24/7. Don't worry, network news readers and talking heads. I get it -- the rich and powerful are more interesting; and no one is accusing you of being real journalists anyway.

The current pope is giving his predecessor the fast track on sainthood, thanks to the prayers of some nun. Pope John Paul II would be the same guy who was in charge when the Irish bishops got squelched on reporting child abuse by priests. Am I the only person who makes these connections? If this beatification is the result of praying, then all I can say is to hell with prayer and to hell with pervs.

Monday, January 17, 2011

CONGRESSIONAL REFORM ACT OF 2011

Did you know that serving in Congress for even one two-year term nets you a lifetime pension of your full salary, plus health insurance for the rest of your life? It's true. Even if you're convicted of a crime or crimes. It's a disgusting state of affairs.Congress sells out the American people to corporations on an almost daily basis. Bank bail outs, NAFTA (anybody remember Ross Perot talking about the loud sucking sound of jobs going south of the border?), GATT and so much more.

People get elected, go to Washington DC and become millionaires, and call it public service. 

Here's an idea whose time has come:
Congressional Reform Act of 2011
1. Term Limits.
  12 years only, one of the possible options below..
  A. Two Six-year Senate terms
  B. Six Two-year House terms
  C. One Six-year Senate term and three Two-Year House terms
2.  No Tenure / No Pension.
A Congressman collects a salary while in office and receives no pay when they are out of office. 
3.  Congress (past, present & future) participates in Social Security.
All funds in the Congressional retirement fund move to the Social Security system immediately.  All future funds flow into the Social Security system, and Congress participates with the American people. 
4. Congress can purchase their own retirement plan, just as all Americans do.
5. Congress will no longer vote themselves a pay raise.  Congressional pay will rise by the lower of CPI or 3%.
6. Congress loses their current health care system and participates in the same health care system as the American people.
7. Congress must equally abide by all laws they impose on the American people.
8. All contracts with past and present Congressmen are void effective 1/1/11. 

The American people did not make these contracts with Congressmen.  Congressmen made all these deals for themselves. It's time for "we, the people" to stand up for ourselves and demand this. Endless war, the constant encroachment on the environment on behalf of corporate interests, and so much more, are bankruting our country financially, psychically and ecologically.
Serving in Congress is an honor, not a career.  The Founding Fathers envisioned citizen legislators, so ours should serve their term(s), then go home and go back to work. 

Friday, January 14, 2011

MAKING SOME [BROKEN] BONES ABOUT IT

Today's "You've Cott Mail" included three links regarding the nature of theater previews and extended runs.

The first was Charles Isherwood's reasoning about allowing the moneyed elite as much time as they want to get theater pieces right, while charging top dollar for tickets.


Next was Matt Freeman's excellent response. His summation is worth posting here:

"That's why, I guess, I'm skeptical of the argument that defends previews as a way to serve Art with a capital "A." It feels more like an elaborate game of "Mother May I?" The standard mapped out ("never review the play until it's completed to the producer's satisfaction") is neither universally applied, nor could it be feasibly - at least not until the Showcase Code is adequately reformed. In the end, there's a brilliance to the profit model of charging your audience to watch you develop a show and keeping the press at bay as long as possible. Let's just not pretend that, in all cases, it's in service of more than protecting an investment. The rest of us aren't given such generous allowances."

The final link is from today's The (London) Telegraph and deals with how a production can mature and become better, a month after the reviewers have offered their opinions.

Though I found Isherwood's column spurious on a couple of counts when I first read it, I'm going to refrain at this late date from registering them, unless someone comments and a clarification is in order.

I will say that I'm glad to be a subscriber to Thomas Cott's daily email. Thank you, Mr. Cott!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

BROADWAY VAMPIRE -- CHAPTER 18

Chapter 18 of my novel BROADWAY VAMPIRE is now posted. I've stopped promoting this serial of the novel on other sites, for the time being. Enjoy!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Ukulele Land!



This video of Ukulele Land! is from the 2008 production.The Readers' Edition is now at the printer. Here's how you can get a copy and save yourself shipping charges:

Buy an advance copy of the First Edition of the book and lyrics for the musical comedy Ukulele Land!, by Uke Jackson. Each advance copy will be inscribed and autographed by the author. If you wish, your copy can be personally dedicated to you. 


SHIPPING IS FREE until February 15, 2011. Ukulele Land! is being published in trade paperback format, and includes an introductory statement from the author and a list of the personnel who worked on the 2008 showcase production. 


Should you want, you can buy a copy of both Ukulele Land! and Uke Jackson's new novel Broadway Vampire together. Just use the drop down menu to select Option 2 and Buy Both for $29.90. Again, shipping is FREE until February 15, 2011. YOU SAVE $6.95 with this option. (Purchased separately, an autographed copy of Broadway Vampire is $16.95, plus $4.95 shipping.)


BUY BOTH




Thanks for your interest!

Monday, January 10, 2011

WHY I DELETED MY FACE BOOK ACCOUNT

I've gotten a couple emails about my recent disappearance from Face Book. So, I suppose it is something that needs addressing. Face Book is a huge waste of time. I know this. I think most people know this. We do (did) it anyway. It was fun, or something approximating fun, for awhile.

However, the recent announcement that Goldman Sachs now owns a piece of Face Book put me into a moral quandary. I tried discussing this on Face Book but that really did not address what I was feeling. It got so I started feeling physically ill every time the site came up on my screen. Why?

Quite simply, Goldman Sachs is one of the most morally degenerate organizations on the planet. Millions of people have lost their homes as a result of their deceptive business practices. Peoples' pensions are in shambles. entire countries are suffering financial deprivation as a result of the way Goldman Sachs does business.

Knowing this -- and if you don't, please leave a comment and I'll hook you up with several links -- how can any right-minded person continue to use Face Book? I'll leave that answer up to you. But please know this: every time you click on that site, you are helping Goldman Sachs, and that means you're selling your soul -- for nothing. Isn't it worth more than that?

If you would like to delete your Face Book account (it feels really, really good, btw) the following link will allow you to do that. It takes about 2 weeks for the account to be permanently discontinued.

How To Delete Your Face Book Account

I'm playing more music and writing a lot more since dumping Face Book. Please understand, my decision had nothing to do with the people on the site. The last thing I want is to hurt someone's feelings or have someone think I'm dissing them. I love you all. Stay well. And please check in on me here or on my website occasionally. Leave a comment. It will be good to hear from you, and know it is not enriching the greediest human beings on earth.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

PETER BROOK'S RETIREMENT

Peter Brook has retired from his position as artistic director of the Bouffes du Nord in Paris. It is an event that seems to have gone unremarked in the USA. Vanessa Thorpe reports on the master's exit here. His final production was The Magic Flute on New Year's Eve.

Brook's use of spare, minimal sets was daring and original in its day. Now, this mode is so common that one has to wonder if many of those adopting this approach to stage design are even aware of Brook's influence. Of course, these days it's often a budgetary choice. (Must save the money to pay those administrators.) For Peter Brook it was an artistic choice.

Over the years I've loved some of Brook's work and found some of it frustrating. However, I've never doubted his mastery, impact or commitment to theater (over financial considerations, especially). He is 86 now. Great good luck to him, whatever he chooses to do.

The US theater press should be ashamed of itself for ignoring the end of his Parisian tenure.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

UKULELE LAND -- cover

Here's a mock up (to  be revised) for the cover of Ukulele Land. Big thanks and appreciation to Chaz at BGA Studios.

Monday, January 3, 2011

2011 -- Ukulele Land

I'll be publishing the readers' edition of the book and lyrics for my musical comedy Ukulele Land (originally titled Sex! Drugs! & Ukuleles!) as soon as the final proof reading is complete. It will be available through Amazon.com and my web site.

Here are some quotes from the reviews of the 2008 production that will appear as part of the book version:

“Never has a musical been so infectiously delightful . . . with jazz legend and ragtime scholar Terry Waldo’s amazing compositions, choreographer Celia Rowlson-Hall’s campy moves and a cast and chorus that are irresistibly charming in each and every scene, the joy was contagious. . . A spoof on the music industry, our increasingly corporate culture . . . a camp tour-de-force that manages, somehow, to also be steeped in American roots music.”
Rayhané S. Sanders, Show Business Weekly

"It has been a very long time since I've had as much fun at a musical as I had at [Ukulele Land] . . . I was also unexpectedly touched. And I was thrilled . . .  . we can't help but listen and, perhaps, become enlightened and enlarged  . . The plot effectively reminds us of the need to be true to ourselves and to question any kind of arbitrary authority, without ever feeling polemical or hackneyed and certainly without resorting to either irony or scare tactics. The activist spirit . . . is strong and authentic, yet it is very gentle. . . . the sometimes pointed, sometimes poetic, always honest lyrics by Jackson, are charming and infectious.”
Martin Denton, nytheatre.com


". . . this show is this year's jewel in the crown . . . charms with ease, rightly wearing its limited ambitions as a badge of honor: to provide a little musical entertainment in a troubled world."
Christopher Murray, Back Stage


" The show is set against the backdrop of a pharmacological dystopia in which The Corporation mandates people take drugs for ailments like sexual desire and the Love Police hunt down illegal monogamous lovers. . . . The mash-up commentary on our overmedicated culture, corporate dominance and ignorance of love and art is a big mandate for the play.  Lines like "If this ain't love, Jesse James was a girl" and "Chemical emancipation - that's the new gyration" punctuate its songs with a goofiness that relieves some of that burden. . . . the playful strumming and the endearing innocence of the characters, who dub sex with a loved one 'monogomation', left a mostly optimistic feeling . . . And damned if I wasn't whistling the kitschy, plucky refrain on my way out of the theater."
"...take a blue bit of sky, put it in your pocket..."
Emily Meredith, NYPress.com                    


“When drug companies take over the world , sex is illegal, so is failure to take your drugs. . . . retro romantic comedy of the future . . . nostalgically inspired lyrics by Jackson particularly "Good Music," "Ukulele Land" . . . it’s a Hoot! . . . delightful . . .”
Dan Kassell, Jazz Journalist Association, on nytimes.com


"Finally, the poodle of the guitar world gets some respect when a plucky band of ukulele strummers defy the authorities in the music deprived, sexless future of Uke Jackson (book and lyrics) and composer Terry Waldo’s dystopian musical comedy."
Time Out NY