Hello, Cleveland! No Cavalier-Sized Victory Parade Scheduled For Trump This Week.


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One thing that is a 100% sure bet:  The Republican Convention in Cleveland will draw the highest television ratings we’ve seen in our lifetimes.  Why wouldn’t it?  Trump’s Delusion…. that he’ll actually be elected president… makes its last stand in a totally controlled environment this week.  When the Nielsens come in huge he’ll predictably brag about them and add the rating number to the insufferably boring recitation of the victorious glory days of primaries past he spits out, from memory, to kill 40% of the time at his rallies.

Speaking of controlled environments, I was in Cleveland over the Fourth of July weekend and one of my lifetime complaints has been addressed Screen Shot 2016-07-17 at 10.59.44 AMthere: smoking in casinos.  I wondered if I was the only person in the world who liked to play blackjack but hated smoking and the smell of the casino.  The Jack Casino in downtown Cleveland is smoke-free. Delightful. Las Vegas made the calculation years ago that the connection between smoking and gambling was too strong to risk banning it.  Risk what?  That people just won’t gamble, or gamble as much if they can’t smoke for a few minutes or hours at the Bellagio?  That always made as much sense as the fake warnings airlines issued when it was suggested flying become smoke-free. (the law officially changed in 1990) Nervous flyer-smokers were supposedly being denied their Constitutional rights, would stop flying and the airline business would come to an unprofitable end.  Try telling someone under 40 that at one time you could smoke on an airplane.  They won’t believe you.

“Sincerity – if you can fake that, you’ve got it made.”

That stolen George Burns/Groucho Marx quote appears to be what will decide this presidential election that eclipses all others in having two candidates with such high negatives, albeit for different reasons.  If you’re an undecided voter, you need to consider whether you think that the past, horrible or allegedly horrible things that the candidates have done in their public and business lives are likely to be a replicable roadmap to their behavior as president.  Or, are the most egregious errors that will be pointed out simply unfair exaggerations that can always be countered with, “yea, but what about?…..”

No matter what Secretary of State Hillary Clinton did regarding her cavalier attitude towards email security, do you believe she’d actually try to continue to have a private server as President Hillary Clinton, caring so little about state secrets that she’d continue her careless ways unabated… she must hate America even more than Barack Obama?  If not and you think that last sentence was written by Sean Hannity, then she should get your vote.  If you don’t think she went on a 15-hour bender, sleeping through the Benghazi disaster, only to wake up for 3 minutes to call off the readily available troops to rescue Chris Stevens and company, then she should get your vote.  If you think the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy outweighs Hillary Clinton’s own personal foibles and insecurities, she should get your vote.

If you don’t believe that Donald Trump stiffs his contractors and workers, trying to negotiate them down, he should get your vote…  if you don’t believe that in 2006 he started Trump Mortgage specifically to become a lending slumlord, read this: Cleveland’s Pain Was Donald Trump’s Gain.

A deeply reported story on NextCity.org from local writer Dan McGraw looks at how the Republican Party is about to nominate in Cleveland a man who encouraged investors to exploit the foreclosure crisis. Donald Trump “once sold subprime mortgages through a short-lived venture called Trump Mortgages and taught America, through a for-profit education company he founded called Trump University, how to profit from foreclosures,” the story notes. In the same year that Slavic Village neighborhood of Cleveland lost 783 homes to foreclosure, Trump University “was running ads with a picture of its founding namesake and the message, ‘Investors Nationwide are Making Millions in Foreclosures … And So Can You!,’ ” McGraw writes.

If you think the above is malarkey, vote for Trump.  If you believe his explanation on why he, allegedly the richest guy to ever be a nominee, refuses to release his tax returns (it’s not the law that he has to…. he’s under audit… the Yankees lost 3 in a row….)…. if you don’t care that his returns would show how little he’s ever given to charity, how much lower his yearly income is than would be typical of someone of his alleged net worth, how little in actual income tax he has been paying…. that he hypocritically demanded the VP-Political Apprentice candidates show him their returns…. then vote for Trump.


My macro-confidence grows over some things that have always stuck out, for me, about Trump.  He is the richest, most brilliant businessman guy I’ve ever seen who has never produced one person who has said, “he made me rich.” Every other mogul spawns disciples.  The real people who’ve had any kind of financial dealings with Trump, directly or indirectly, seem to be people he’s ripped off and destroyed through schemes and scams over the decades. The tax return thing is so far beyond inexcusable that it cannot be explained away.  And picking Mike Pence to show what a Team Unity Player he is should be seen as the transparent, ultimate flip-flop that it is.  The establishment Republicans can like me…. they can really like me!

Here are some key words for the Republican Convention Drinking Game: God, Obamacare, 35%, Mexico, China, the blacks, the Hispanics, women, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, bathrooms, Second Amendment, tennis balls, law and order, Benghazi, Lyin Hillary, Radical Islamic Terrorism, Obama, Nobama, Lebron, apologize, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, dishonest, illegal alien, Cleveland Orchestra, Republican Party, Titanic.  Enjoy the show!

RIP Glenn Frey: Requiem for a Tough Guy

Imagine that in 1971 you’re at Disneyland watching the incomparable Linda Ronstadt. As she belted out one great song after another, you notice that the boys backing her are pretty darn good. Especially their harmonies, which are tighter than a pair of hot pants. A few years later, you discover that Linda’s backing band has gone on to become the biggest band in the world: The Eagles

Alex Gibney’s astounding 2013 documentary History of the Eagles  (streaming right now on Netflixis much more than an extended episode of Behind the Music. Sure, drug-filled good times turn into animosity which leads us to reconciliation, but, here’s where the doc acts less like entertainment and more like real life. I feel strongly that people buy tickets to movies and watch TV shows because those things provide closure. No loose ends (unless the studio is looking for a sequel). In real life, it’s rare that you come up with the right quip at the right time. It’s also unlikely that you repair past relationships until it’s too late. But, in the movies, right at the death bed, you get peace and reconciliation

Fade to black

The first part of the documentary is the stronger one, as we find out about the individual personalities that made up The Eagles. Glenn Frey is the streetwise Detroit tough guy. The enforcer. Early on, we find out that his mother kept him from certain corruption by one Bob Seger (that’s Glenn singing backup on the studio version of Ramblin’ Gamblin’ ManSeger tells us in the doc that Frey was just the funniest kid ever and he always made everybody laugh

As fame and fortune knocks at the door, Bernie Leadon tires of Glenn’s plans for world domination and, one night at Miami’s Orange Bowl, he pours a beer on Frey’s head and tells him to chill out

Just a taste of inter-Eagles animosity to come

Glenn helps push an already unhappy Leadon out of the band and, when Randy Meisner won’t do what the band wants, he helps toss him out, as well. Glenn gets tough with David Geffen over business dealings. And Don Felder chafed under Frey’s two-fisted leadership. That leads to one of the most famous onstage breakups in rock and roll history

July 31st, 1980. Long Beach, CA: The Long Run was a huge hit despite the acidic bad blood between band membersCocaine had helped fray everyone’s nerves and tensions were high. Frey and Henley committed the boys to play a benefit show for Senator Alan Cranston (D-CA). Frey and Henley dug his message and his (liberal) politics. Felder was about as political as a bowl of corn flakes. He wondered why they were doing this instead of a paying gig

Before the concert, Cranston’s wife (doc says it was the Senator, himself) approached Felder and thanked him for playing the show, leading Felder to utter the four words that broke up The Eagles

You’re welcome…I guess

Glenn Frey was beyond incensed. He went into the tuning room and smashed a beer bottle against the wall. Felder’s insolence had set him off and Felder was ready to answer his anger. As the band played the event, in between songs, the two could be heard jawing at each other with Frey taking particular delight in kicking Felder’s butt after the set. Producer/engineer Bill Szymczyk captured the audio, which couldn’t be heard clearly by the audience, due to cheering and ambient noise. It was ugly

Following the show, Felder took off ahead of Frey, smashed his “cheapest guitar” and drove off before Frey could administer his punishment

The next day Timothy B. Schmit called Glenn Frey and he confirmed that The Eagles were done

Part two of the documentary is pretty unkind to Frey. When The Eagles are being re-formed in the early 90s, Frey declares he and Henley will get most of the money from the upcoming Hell Freezes Over tour. Frey told manager Irving Azoff 

Irving, I’m not going to do it unless Don and I make more money than the other guys. We’re the only guys who have done anything career-wise in the last 14 years

I found this to be an almost unforgivable act of hubris. First, let’s get past the fact that you just referred to your brothers as “the other guys”. Second, yes, Glenn, you had a successful solo career, but hitching your wagon to Henley’s solo career is like me saying that Wilt Chamberlain and I once scored 100 points in a game.

Felder wasn’t happy. Glenn didn’t care

I called Felder’s representative. I said, “Hello, Barry. This is Glenn Frey. I’m sorry you happen to represent the only asshole in the band. But let me tell you something: You either sign this agreement as it is before the sun goes down today or we’re replacing Don Felder. That’s the final deal. He signs by sunset or he’s out of the f—-g band”

Felder signs, but his resentment builds to the point where Frey dumps him in 2001. In one of the more touching scenes in the documentary, Felder chokes up when he talks about how much he misses playing music with his friends

It’s not just playing with Joe (Walsh). I miss these guys, but I really miss the friendship and the music

History will remember Don Felder as a very good guitar player. But, history will remember Glenn Frey as one of the architects of maybe the best American rock and roll band of all-time. I think every band needs an enforcer, a Glenn Frey to get things done and keep things in line. There is no question that The Eagles wouldn’t have been able to accomplish what they did without his leadership. Glenn was never worried about whether he’d be remembered as a nice guy. Consequently, he will be remembered by some as not a nice guy. But, you can’t question his accomplishments or his place in history

I just wish he’d made up with Felder. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a movie ticket to buy



Chicago’s in the HOF but Pete Rose isn’t, interest rates are up, and they arrested that creepy drug guy! A good week’s work.

From my None of These Things Is Just Like The Other but I just decided to notice them dept:

1. In 1967 we were still two years away from the first moon landing (which I believe really happened). John McCain was shot down over Vietnam.  The Bee Gees, Pink Floyd, and Chicago released their first albums.  As of now,Screen shot 2015-12-17 at 10.00.02 AM Chicago finally joins them in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.  Pete Rose hit .301 in 1967 with 176 hits.   He will die and never be in the Baseball Hall of Fame.  Confirmed.  Final answer.  I sleep better knowing that.   Justice?




2. I know this:  The same people that decide interest rates decide the price of gasoline and use the same standards of screwing us in either direction. Here’s what I mean.  When the price of oil rises (and it will again… someday) you’ll notice the price of the finished product (gasoline) goes up in lockstep, almost immediately.  When the price of oil falls (as it has been doing), if you pay close attention to this stuff you’ll see there’s a several day or several week lag before the price falls at the pump.  That way, everyone along the gas chain benefits just a teeny bit longer…. except for we consumers.  That’s just the way it is.  Same with interest rates, which just rose Wednesday for the first time since the Bush economy’s near collapse necessitated the Zero Medicine of the past 8 years.  When Screen shot 2015-12-17 at 10.18.55 AMthey fell, financial institutions couldn’t cut savers’ interest rates fast enough.  Now that they’re rising, all loan-related interest rates have immediately shot up in lockstep….. but the banks want you to know they are not raising returns on savings and checking accounts.  I know there are other things to do with your money.  But it really is the principle here.  Justice delayed.

3.  No matter what you think of Charlie Sheen, he was born to play the role of Martin Shkreli.  Most of us still don’t know him by name, but we’re aware that he’d already rocketed to the top of Barbara Walters’ 10 Most Disgusting Persons of 2015 List.  He’s the slimy little creep who bragged about how much money he’d be making by jacking up the price of a life-saving pill from $13.50 to $750.  Technically, that wasn’t illegal, so the Feds aren’t getting him on that.  Gawker reports the 32-year-old has been accused of illegally using stock and cash from the company to pay off debts from “unrelated business dealings.” The criminal charges also mirror an August civil suit, filed by Retrophin, a company he’d founded in 2011, that accuses Shkreli of using the company as a “personal piggybank” to pay off unhappy customers at his defunct hedge fund, MSMB Capital Management—in some cases hiring them as sham employees on the company payroll.   Marty we definitely new ye.  Justice.


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