It’s the global pandemic you’ve no doubt heard about. For me and millions of others in most of 2020 thus far, a novel coronavirus (COVID-19) has necessitated keeping “proper” social distance from most other people. Sadly, social distancing is one of the few counters we’ve had to the virus since its emergence and subsequent spread nearly everywhere. It’s only one of the problems that’s been nothing but exacerbated by our president here in the United States, Donald J. Trump.
How bad Donald Trump is for the United States (and the world at large) simply cannot be overstated. From the beginning, there have been his apologists, the people inside and outside of government who would like to explain his presense, speech, and actions as mere differences of political opinion. Many of these same people would also like to portray any counters to his abuses as only driven by some sort of irrational, blind hatred of the man himself. It ought to be obvious by now that neither of these arguments holds any water at all. It ought to be, but isn’t. While he and the country continuously reap the whirlwind of horrible leadership, there currently is an unbelievable percentage of Americans that still cling to his distorted MAGA vision. Or, if not to that, to their “justifications,” their “reasons.” Trump is simultaneously a symptom and a cause of national strife.
And here in the United States, today, is another symptom staring us in the face: the systemic racism that has led to the death of another black man, George Floyd, at the hands of the police here in Minneapolis, Minnesota. No, it’s not just a few bad apples down at the Police Department. It is an us vesus them, increasingly militaristic culture that pervades police departments all over the country. Further, policing in the U.S.A. didn’t just appear out of nowhere: it’s a racist history that has delivered us here to the present day.
Floyd’s unjust death has already resonated throughout the world. There’s been a demand for change and justice everywhere. There’s been social distance, yet distance has collapsed amidst protest in the streets. Has the desire for justice gone viral? We can only hope.
One of the rationales many people had for electing Donald Trump as POTUS was that he was a “disrupter” who would “shake up the system.” Mission accomplished; the presidency of Donald Trump has been a wild ride. Or, more accurately, a broken ride at a more-or-less abandoned theme park out on the edge of town. The park is apparently open, but the rides aren’t really staffed and the safety bars can’t be lowered.
Unfortunately, shaking up a system is far too easy when you don’t understand how it’s supposed to work. Once, people might bang on the side of their TV sets if the picture got wobbly. You don’t see that anymore. This, however, is figuratively the “troubleshooting” technique of Donald J. Trump: just break things further. Added to this is
Trump’s unshakable belief that other people, laws, rules, (or norms of any kind), only exist to benefit him personally. The rest is window dressing. Fortunately for Donald Trump, there’s a whole political party dedicated to window dressing.
Siri, no, not the first. Computers have been speaking for a while now, maybe even longer than you thought. This recording is from 1963, and originated from an important technology company of the time, Bell Labs:
The computer sings the song “Daisy.” Remember this from somewhere?
As you’ve probably noticed, this website isn’t updated nearly enough. Today, however, is International Jazz Day, (the culmination of Jazz Appreciation Month), so updating today is probably a solid idea! To get in on some international events for this celebratory day, head on over to the International Jazz Day website right now, or watch here . . .
Over at Jazz Wax Marc Myers has a nice write-up on the J.J. Johnson recording, Broadway Express from 1965. As Myers notes, the sessions took place in December of 65′ and involved differing personnel. Broadway Express was sort of a non-jazz date with jazz musicians, but the arrangements, by guitarist Mundell Lowe, are fantastic. Also, don’t miss Chuck Israels comments in this post (you’ll need to scroll a bit) about another of Johnson’s forays into show tune material from a few years earlier, titled J.J.’s Broadway. It featured five trombones (J.J., Urbie Green, Lou McGarrity, Dick Hixon, and Paul Faulise), plus rhythm section.