Sunday, May 17, 2020

How to Fight [COVID] Loneliness

Music, humor, and family banter 5x a week

How have you been coping with COVID? 
If not the illness itself, then the whittled-down existence it has demanded? 

I have a suggestion. It's been my security blanket most nights, after Anderson Cooper and Rachel Maddow rile me up. 

But first, let's be clear - I count myself among the lucky. Compared to my friend who lost a spouse, or others who lost parents, or who have wrestled the virus for weeks, some needing oxygenation. Or the suddenly unemployed, like my haircutter of 20 years. Or kids in their 20s who were just starting out, losing jobs and internships before they begin. Or our neighbors who are not just first responders but also have two elementary schoolers "learning from home." 

I've got a partner (unlike some), and we're together in lockdown (unlike some), and we actually like each other (....). I've been able to still work from home since mid-March - which is also around the last time I saw my older daughter, who lives upriver, in person. I haven't seen her sister, an off-campus college senior in Ohio, since New Year's. Her commencement that was supposed to happen on Memorial Day has been pushed till May 2021; my plan to fetch her and her stuff is a non-starter because of quarantine + immuno-compromise issues. 

So we've made do with Zooms, like this one on my birthday:
But still. 

We haven't fled town, like 5% of the city - or 40% of wealthy neighborhoods,, per the NYTimes.

Thankfully we do have bikes, and masks (left), and Central Park nearby - though on weekends it's too full of feckless mask-less rebels. 

There are other signs of the fraying of the social contract, loss of good will and tremors that NYC could be heading to one of those unpleasant economic craters. A bike has already been stolen from our building; in Baltimore, Wire creator David Simon tweeted that his car was broken into for "small change, phone charger and some Sister Rosetta Tharpe CDs." 

But all my pre-COVID palliatives for this already-fraught era (see previous post) - museums, theater, music, giving volunteer tours of the Park - are shuttered. 

Books have proved impossible, partly because of how much I have to read to stay au courant for my CNN gig. The news is too dark for me to lose myself in "dark and edgy" TV dramas. Podcasts are okay, but often turn into a nap. 

We did take refuge in old movies on the Criterion Channel, and relished "What Do We Need To Talk About," the new one-hour Richard Nelson play about COVID lockdown, using characters he'd already written several plays about, which streamed live via the Public Theater (it's still online through the end of June). 

I began to seek solace in other types of entertainment: compelling music documentaries like "The Devil and Daniel Johnston," "Searching for Sugarman," "Muscle Shoals," "Big Star" "Five Years" "A Great Day in Harlem" "Produced By George Martin" (and I'm looking forward to the new Beastie Boys one). 

Or Standup specials - like Mark Maron, Ronnie Chieng, Wanda Sykes, James Acaster, and the Dave Chapelle Mark Twain Prize special. 

Or my cousin Ben's weekly silent comedy watch party with his colleague Steve Massa, with Ben's live improvised music, for which his wife Mana is the camera operator and cheerleader. 

But then I found a COVID-depression vaccine that combined elements of all of the above in one package, plus the much-needed sense of belonging to a family. I am one of 1200-1500 or so "clients," as we've been dubbed, who tune in live to the hour-long, five-nights-a-week "The Tweedy Show," broadcast on Instagram from the Chicago home of Wilco frontman Jeff Tweedy. 

You don't have to be a Deadhead-level Wilco fanatic like myself - or, indeed, even familiar with the band's repertoire at all - to find comfort, entertainment, humor, and more in the impromptu mix of song, tummeling and family banter.

The show is literally homemade, from their living room, 10-11pm ET, on his wife Susie's Instagram page, "Stuff in Our House" whose pre-COVID function had been to chronicle the eBay-volume of kitsch lining their shelves, leading you to wonder where Jeff has room for his extensive collection of Martin guitars.

I've always been enamored of Tweedy's deadpan I-care-but-I-don't-but-maybe-I-do stage banter; I actually long ago wrote a part for him in a spec pilot, as a semi-motivational graduation speaker. 

Tweedy's emphasis on family, music and fun is clear in the band's whole vibe, especially its bi-annual Solid Sound Festival at Mass MOCA, a fusion of bands who inspired them, bands they want fans to know about, solo projects, comedians and art. 

But putting on 50 of these Instagram shows in a few months - more than most network shows produce in a season - and keeping them charming, distinct, and compelling, turns out to be a different kind of impressive production.

Especially considering it seems to have begun on something of a bored whim in mid-March, when an unkempt Jeff decided to stage a lockdown show literally from his nightly bath, and 107 of Susie's followers tripped across it and kept watching. The family couldn't believe that many were interested. 
They eventually developed a nightly pattern. At first the show began with a closeup of the family jukebox playing a 45, but - after what seems to have been some music rights issues with Instagram - now it kicks off with a TV-style variety show theme song - and logo honoring the bathtub origins. 
(note: I updated the video using show 53's intro to include the animation and Spencer-dance).
Susie is the (iPhone) camerawoman, never seen - a la Charlie in Charlie's Angels or Carlton the Doorman on The Mary Tyler Moore Show - but very continuously heard; she curses like a sailor, and her most common utterance is "Oy Vey." If she ever coughs, she has to immediately insist to her father that she's not sick. The one time she accidentally hit the reverse button on the phone and wound up on camera she got so freaked out she threw the phone to the couch like a hot potato.

Tweedy: Sukierae Album Review | Pitchfork
The cast is rounded out by their two laidback sons. 

Spencer, 24, an extraordinarily versatile drummer, has been playing since he was a kid -- see this Errol Morris-directed Quaker Oats ad - and made a double album with Jeff in 2014 when Susie was undergoing cancer treatment, named after her: Sukirae (right).

And Sammy, just 20, who at some point will amble out from the unseen part of the house, maybe heating up a pizza, wearing either one of Dad's old shirts or one of an endless t-shirt collection, only to quietly steal the show with his plaintive vocals as he reads lyrics off his iPhone. 

Here he is singing Daniel Johnston's "True Love Will Find You in the End." 

Like any good sitcom, there are also drop-by cameos, by Spencer's girlfriend Casey Walker, and her dog Basil. And they've had virtual visits from Courtney Barnett and Jeff Garlin, among others. 

The song selection on any given night -- which even-more-diehard fans than me have been tabulating online - of course includes Wilco/Tweedy/Uncle Tupelo/Golden Smog material, but also has included everyone from Meat Puppets, Mott the Hoople, The Byrds, Iris Dement, John Lennon, Nick Lowe to Billie Eilish. 

You can catch up with old episodes after the fact on YouTube here and the first dozen here, but watching live has its own rewards, including participating in the running commentary from people they know and people they don't -- like when they sang "Happy Fucking Birthday" to their young nephew/cousin Charlie who loves curse words.

There's a semblance of taking requests, though sometimes they will be fulfilled a few days later, after some off-camera learning or re-learning of the song.

Plenty of Tweedy's catalogue already fit the moment we're living through, like "How to Fight Loneliness" (ep 13)  "Hate it Here" (ep 31) or "Please Tell My Brother" (ep 46.) 

But the show runs the gamut. In fact, episode 46 from Monday, May 11 might be a good sampler, filled with covers - Kinks, Velvet Underground, Guided by Voices, Big Star, Neil Young - and half way through, Daddy Tweedy went electric, as radical a move as when Dylan did it at Newport. 

None of this is done for profit; in fact, when they finally acceded to fan demand for a show t-shirt, the proceeds are all going to benefit Be Alright, a Chicago domestic violence charity. 

And through all the kibbitzing, they never forget that this is all taking place because of a troubling pandemic. Sammy has several times sung the Hebrew prayer for healing, Mi Shebarach (aside: Susie is Jewish, Jeff converted.) Susie told everyone that a commenter had called Sammy's performance "a real yarmulke-dropper." 

Since episode 21 or so, they have been closing every show with the same upbeat, cheerful ditty about rebirth, "Reincarnation" by Roger Miller, from 1965. 
"If l was a bird and you was a fish / What would we do, l guess we'd wish For / re-incarnation, re-incarnation / Wouldn't it be a sensation / To come back too, like reincarnation."
Those who stick around for all the banter are rewarded with lots of trivia, like the bullet hole from when somebody shot at their house last November, or the back story of this seemingly cute photo of young Jeff taken at a Sears photo studio . Apparently his parents went on a day where the photos were free and the line was so long by the time Jeff's turn came up he had pooped his pants. And his parents reminded him of that every time they pointed to the picture. So the family calls it his Poopie-Pants photo. 

Tweedy's own father Bob was a railroad worker for 50 years, and Jeff only visited him at work once (he died of lung cancer in 2017). On this episode of the podcast Partners about Jeff and Spencer, Jeff explains that this fueled his and Susie's desire to involve their kids in their work lives. It seems to have worked out well for them, and for us. 

They were back in the bathroom March 31 to fill a slot Wilco had booked on Jimmy Kimmel.

After the 50th show May 16th, Jeff took a week off to finish his next book, though Wilco performed midweek on Colbert (see below). During the 50th show, the somewhat reticent patriarch suddenly became a chatterbox, causing Susie to first comment that he was speaking more than she'd ever heard him in all their years together, and then, when he kept delaying the next song, she accused him of having a "Barbara Jean/Ronee Blakely episode" from the Robert Altman movie Nashville, in which a country superstar has a breakdown onstage and never finishes performing. 

During nights off (currently Weds & Sundays), I make do with reruns, like any fan when a TV show goes dark. One song I keep coming back to is a cover Sammy sang on May 1 (ep 39) with Spencer on harmonies, that I hadn't been familiar with: "Snow is Falling In Manhattan," by Purple Mountains -- the band of the indie-rock cult hero David Berman, who long struggled with drugs, alcohol and depression, and who died by suicide in August 2019. Which makes these lyrics all the more poignant:
"Songs build little rooms in time/ And housed within the song's design/
Is the ghost the host has left behind/ To greet and sweep the guest inside"

*   *   *   *   *  *
UPDATE: three days after I posted this, Wilco delivered the ultimate family and friends COVID video. reuniting long-distance via Zoom for this video for a new COVID-themed song, "Tell Your Friends," premiering on Colbert's at-home A Late Show$1 downloads of the song go to the World Central Kitchen

Don’t forget to tell your friends / When you see them again
O’ I love you / O’ I love you

I wanna hold your hand / C’mon let’s twist again

I wanna hold your hand / When I see you again

Don’t forget to tell your friends / This is going to end
O’ and I needed you / O’ I need you
Our love is right / Our love is real
Our love is now / Our love is real....

*                *                *               *
Update 2: during the week off, a fan on the Wilco fan Facebook page suggested a group effort cover of "Hate it Here" and lo and behold, some resourceful "clients" did so, as a thanks to the Tweedys for their COVID companionship. 

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

The Indelibles

Oh - right! Her. 
I recently attended the workshop production of three one-act plays. Only one was good, despite some stellar actors, but that's not unexpected. It's similar to the success batting average of the much more fully produced plays I see around town.

But as I took my folding chair in the first cramped studio, I was totally distracted - by the sight of one of my fellow audience members.

She was tall and striking-looking, but also very familiar, in a way that instantly engendered feelings of sympathy, almost sadness. But why? From where?

I knew this much: she was an actress, and that whatever I had seen her in, she had been new to me, which is always cool, when you can just accept a performance on face value without the baggage of having seen them in something else.

But it also means it might take a while for me to remember from where, even longer to recall a name. (Thank God for IMDB and IBDB; I see so many plays, movies, and TV shows it can take me a couple of different performances for even the face to stick.)

So I wracked my brain.

Sunday, January 12, 2020

The Culture Cure

Met Museumgoer looking at Felix Vallotton's 'The White and the Black" (1913)
How do we keep it together during times of chaos? 

A friend recently posted on Facebook: 
"Happy to say I'm taking some time off to get my head/body together (right now they're in different time zones) but I had to cancel my plans for a walk-on-deserted-beaches sojourn because of family responsibilities...I wonder if I could run a few possibilities by you wonderful people?"
His ideas ran the gamut from Meditation and Psychedelics, to Electroshock and Gastric Bypass, to Public Service. (Already attempted: lying in bed all day with the shades down reading a long book about targeted killings by the Mossad.)

He asked if we had any other suggestions. 

It was half-kidding, but, in days like these, half-not. 

Many of my friends and I feel worried about the sky falling. (Indeed, tragically, just before Christmas a woman was killed by a piece of a building near Times Square.)

Reading my friend's post, I realized I hadn't written on this blog in more than a year - since before the midterms! The last one I felt compelled to register had been about the bomb scare at work

So what have I been doing since? Immersing myself in what I'm learning to think of as the Culture Cure. 

First and foremost, I continued writing (and rewriting) a play - my first - about George McGovern, Thomas Eagleton, and McGovern's daughter, around the issue of mental health, the Presidency, and the conflict between public and private lives. 
Director Adrienne Campbell-Holt's stellar cast: (Lucy Consagra, stage directions) 
Susannah Perkins, Juliana Canfield, Greg Hildreth, Zoe Winters, Greg Keller, CJ Wilson, Susie Pourfar, Peter Grosz, James Udom, Adam Harrington

Audible sponsored a developmental reading at the Minetta Lane Theater with an amazing director and cast that helped my next revise. And also continued my hard-won wisdom on the realities of the theater marketplace. 


Wednesday, October 24, 2018


Central Park evacuation site,  11 am, panorama fail by dying phone.
It's not every day you get asked by two different people if you can speak to Israeli media about your day at work. (I declined.) Or you feel obliged to "mark yourself safe" on Facebook. And then learn that even after a pipe bomb had been sent to Hillary Clinton (among other prominent Dems), the President is still being greeted at his umpteenth rally with chants of "lock her up."

But we are living in weird times.

It was already one of those days that people who believe in such things describe as "Mercury in Retrograde." At 7 a.m. I had subwayed uptown to swim at my neighborhood rec center, only to learn the lifeguard was stuck in traffic and the pool could not open. So instead I bought groceries, and, beladen entering my apartment building door, apparently dropped my cell phone. When I called it, I discovered it had been found and retrieved by a good Samaritan who'd fetched a dog from my building to bring to her grooming place around the corner. I got it back and gave her a tip.

So by the time I got to work at CNN I was already a little rattled. Up in the cafeteria, I looked in vain for signs of fall foliage.
Cafeteria view. Trump Hotel on left. (Gold statue = evacuation site.)
Guess we picked the wrong day to help others.
Instead, I saw volunteers as part of today's "Turner Volunteer Day" writing thank you cards to people serving in the Armed Forces. Having terrible handwriting, I had chosen instead to sign up for a 3pm shift of "Medshare," in which I was going to:
Sort, pack, assemble, and box Clean Birthing Kits for pregnant women and newborns in need who live in communities worldwide where birth often takes place outside of a medical facility. 

Instead, at 10:09 am, the fire alarm started going off. I grabbed my phone, wallet, keys and jacket, and, bizarrely, a water bottle. But not my bag with my external cellphone battery.

Unfunnily enough, we'd had a mandatory "active shooter" training a few weeks ago, where we learned where the staircase exits were, how to not get isolated in an area with no escape, etc. But when the voice came over the speaker

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Get Me (Anthem) Rewrite!

In his first 500+ days in office, the President's war against disrespect for the National Anthem has become one of his reliable go-to chestnuts, a greatest hit with a dog whistle chorus that he sings with panache to keep the crowd in his pocket.

But today he took it to another level, by claiming the song is actually good. And I couldn't help thinking comedian Albert Brooks had it right 45 years ago when he did a routine suggesting we needed a national contest to pick a new one, and how that might go.

Since Trump himself is the master of reality TV, maybe it's time to revisit the idea.

After the President learned that only a handful of the Super Bowl Champ Philadelphia Eagles were going to show up for his White House celebration, he disinvited them, claiming (in a third-personese statement) to do so because the players disrespected the Star-Spangled Banner:
“They disagree with their President because he insists that they proudly stand for the National Anthem, hand on heart, in honor of the great men and women of our military and the people of our country.” 
Of course, fact-checkers immediately pointed out that in fact, none of the Eagles on the roster had taken the proverbial knee the entire championship season, but never mind.

Trump rejiggered the ceremony to be a celebration of America, and his early morning tweets began praising the Anthem itself as a wonderful/great piece of music.
7:08 AM:
 13 minutes later: 
But as Trump supporter Roseanne might be among the first to attest, the National Anthem is a difficult thing to sing, both clunky and wide-ranging. And though the lyrics were written by Francis Scott Key during the War of 1812 to an old oft-used tune, it wasn't even crowned our Anthem till 1931, and was toyed with endlessly over the years. As the NY Times has reported
In the 19th century, the tune was regularly refashioned with lyrics to be, alternately, a rallying cry for abolitionists (“Oh, say do you hear, at the dawn’s early light, The shrieks of those bondmen, whose blood is now streaming”) or a temperance-movement indictment of alcohol (“Oh! who has not seen by the dawn’s early light, Some poor bloated drunkard to his home weakly reeling”).
So in 1973, when Brooks, then 26, did a routine suggesting America rethink the tune - it had only been in its esteemed slot for 42 of America's 197 years. (And Nixon was one year shy of resigning over Watergate.)
(When I wrote a career tribute to Brooks seven years ago, I embedded a video of him performing it live that since has been removed from YouTube in America due to copyright reasons, so you're going to have to listen to it. Pretend it's a podcast!) 

Prophetically for today's climate, Brooks begins his routine - recorded live at L.A.'s Troubadour -  by saying "The National Anthem - What happened? Oh, someone got up! No, no. You don't have to stand." 

Then Brooks declares the anthem has to be rewritten "very soon"

Monday, April 23, 2018

My 40 Years of Bruce: A scrapbook

Both the first and most recent times I saw Bruce Springsteen - almost 40 years apart - I sat left of center.

Most everything else had changed.  When we started this dance, I was a high school senior; now he's a senior citizen (and I'm still only 12 years younger). We both had kids (though mine seem more interested in his music than his). He moved his act uptown from the scrungy Palladium (RIP) to a posh Broadway theater, along the way putting a wrecking ball to the original Giants Stadium.

And the face value of my ticket went up from $8.50 (though my scrawl in my scrapbook indicates I actually paid a scalper price, $32) -- to $400. The Times, They Are Ka-Chinging.

The Ties That Bind (and cost big bucks)
I've seen Bruce live maybe 3 dozen times - fewer, to be sure, than the hardcore diehards, but still, more than any other musician, in venues large and small, from acoustic to full strings and horn section - even when he sacrilegiously disbanded the E street band for a tour ("Shayne Fontayne on guitar!" Really?).

I had his poster in my college dorm room, own more Bruce bootlegs than all other artists combined, and sprang for most of his recent overpriced boxed-set-remixed-reissues (even though I will probably never slog my way through all the peripherals, right).

Poster I had in college
But as his core E Street band members have started to die off (Clarence Clemons, Danny Federici) and the others - unlike Bruce - have started to show their age from the wear and tear of his marathon shows, I started to feel my Springsteen concertgoing experience becoming something of a replica of the real thing. Not Vegas, not a tribute band, but just less freewheeling. He was still putting out the energy and spirit on stage (a mutual high that he admitted in interviews he was addicted to - as were we all), but I was missing the unpolished spontaneity and quirky personal discursiveness that had helped attract this sheltered suburban kid to his wild-eyed yearning romanticism.

Well, Bruce has been also thinking about (and working on) himself - including publicly, first for my friend Peter Ames Carlin's bio Brucein which Springsteen not only was unusually open about his private demons, but allowed those in his life to speak without NDA restraints; then for his autobiography, Born to Run (recommended in audio form).

I had long joked that as Bruce hit his 60s, instead of exhaustingly touring worldwife, he should just take up residency and just play a month a year at an arena in Jersey and his fan base would make pilgrimages to see him. (In recent years, Billy Joel and Jerry Seinfeld have both done versions of this.) Now Bruce has hit on a plan that satisfies his musical and introspective urges, and one that leaves the E Street Band off the hook: this solo Broadway run, five shows a week, sold by lottery trying to thwart scalpers (as if), opened October 3, 2017 for "8 weeks only" but has been extended three times (as of this writing) to December 15, 2018.

15 months only! (so far)
It's not a rock and roll show, though he does play some of his biggest hits on piano and guitar. Instead, hearing Bruce's elegiac travelogue through his life and career, I found myself newly moved, as he described looking back wistfully at the time when his life was ahead of him like a blank page.  He spent as much time talking as he did singing, and he candidly admitted the man who wrote "Racing in the Streets" was very late to even learning to drive, and that the rebel who wrote "Born to Run" and swore to escape his "death trap" hometown, now resides a stone's throw away. He brought out his wife, Patti Scialfa, for a couple of songs. He revisited the meaning of his friendship with Clemons.

As I sat there, I also realized that, when you spend 40 years in the company of a sentient artist, you accumulate a lifetime of memories - even if the relationship is one-sided (I have only met and spoken to him once - more on that below).

Just as if you live in New York long enough, nearly every block and corner of Central Park you walk in holds a special memory - if you see enough Bruce, it becomes its own narrative of your life, with the inevitable tragedy, comedy, and every now and then, a glimpse of salvation.

I know everybody's got their Bruce stories, but these are mine.
Since most of them predate cell phone cameras, this is my scrapbook.

1977, sophomore year. I'm at Steve Hertz's house. He's a senior and, LP's spread everywhere, has been playing deejay to help upgrade my musical taste from the mainstream I'd embraced so far (Beatles, Stones, Elton John, Stevie Wonder, Eagles, Yes, Fleetwood Mac, Queen. ELO, ELP).

Steve puts on a song: "You know this?"
Of course.
"This is the original. Isn't it so much better?"

The song is "Blinded By The Light."
I only knew the version I'd heard on the radio, by Manfred Mann's Earth Band (in which the confused Brits sing "revved up like a douche" instead of "deuce").

I dunno -- a little tinny sounding? I am still not sure. (!)

Eventually Steve wears me down. And when he graduates, a senior in the next class, Eric Alterman, imparts an even bigger Bruce fandom knowledge (as well as inculcating me into the Clash and Elvis Costello). He would later write a fan's appreciation book.

Soon I am tuning in to Springsteen's live radio broadcasts and taping them on my cassette deck,

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Same as it ever was

Think today's deep-dish partisan divide is unprecedented? Just listen to episode 5 of Slate's Slow Burn, its deep-dive story of Watergate. It provides helpful context for the period we are living in now.

If you don't think supporters of a sitting President were ever this die-hard loyal despite all rational reasons not to be. If you think it's only the current bitter climate in which a party seems to be willing to self-protect at any price.

But most of all if you think that Devin Nunes' accusatory behavior - and apparent marching orders from the White House is some kind of aberrational anomaly.

In case you don't have the time to sit through the podcast, I will "spoil" some of it here, because it is historically important. And fascinating.

The most amazing nugget I took away from the episode was that the narrative I had always believed - that John Dean had come clean about Nixon's culpability, and then was buttressed when a White House staffer revealed that everything in the White House had been taped, was some kind of 1-2 punch of The Truth Tellers routing out the Bad Guys.

In fact, the only reason the tapes ever got exposed is much more happenstance - and only occurred because the Nixon White House was trying so hard to obliterate Dean's credibility that it overreached and unwittingly exposed its own secret.

(Not unlike the recent Nunes Memo which unwittingly undermined its own argument. Trying to assert that the Russia probe was bogus because it was launched by the Steele Dossier, it also included the fact that what really launched it was George Papadapoulos's earlier loose lips about Russia providing dirt on Hillary.)

John Dean testifies, 1973
White House attorney Dean wanted to testify in full to Democrats before any Republicans heard what he had to say, because he worried the White House would immediately hear his testimony from its compatriots mount a counter narrative. And it turns out he was right. Because as soon as he testified, the committee was given transcripts of conversations that Dean had in the White House to undermine his story.

But a savvy investigator (of course who, is, again, a partisan squabble, even today) was like, wait, why do you have these transcripts? Does someone have a really good memory? Or are there some kind of tapes we don't know about?

My memory of all this was that the White House guy who helped install the recording equipment in 1971, Alexander Butterfield, had heroically decided to come clean like Dean.
Butterfield testifying
That turns out not to be the case. In fact, when interviewed at age 86 he told the Washington Post in 2012, that he was willing to remain vague unless he was asked specifically about the tapes, and he doesn't like being thought of as a snitch.
“Frankly, I don’t like being known as the man who revealed the existence of the tapes. It makes it appear that I ran full tilt to the Watergate committee and told them eagerly and breathlessly the very information that Nixon considered top secret. That was not the case. I was facing a true dilemma: I wanted very much to respect Nixon’s wishes and at the same time to be cooperative and forthright with the congressional investigators. The wording of their questions meant everything to me. And when Don Sanders, the deputy minority counsel . . . asked the $64,000 question, clearly and directly, I felt I had no choice but to respond in like manner.”
Why wouldn't he want to be known that way?  Because of loyalty?

We are very lucky the overreach happened, and that someone thought to ask the question, or it may never have come out.

And without those tapes (which, as David Frost pointedly asked, why didn't Nixon destroy them?) Nixon would have continued to maintain his innocence.

And he had many True Believers.

As I write this, there's news from CNN and the NYT that Steve Bannon is refusing to speak to the House committee despite a subpoena. And one can't help wonder if he knows the John Dean playbook - that he wants to save the truth for Mueller and not give away what he knows to those who will run it immediately back to the White House.

Maybe that's not why this is happening. We may not learn the full truth for another 40 years. That's a slow burn indeed.

How to Fight [COVID] Loneliness

Music, humor, and family banter 5x a week How have you been coping with COVID?  If not the illness itself, then the whittled-down...