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  • chandler's Muse & Whirled Retort January 2010

    The Muse and Whirled Retort – January 2010

    From: Chris Chandler

    January 1 2010
    Vol. XI issue iv
    San Francisco, CA

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    T.H.E. .M.U.S.E. .A.N.D. .W.H.I.R.L.E.D. .R.E.T.O.R.T
    January 1 2010
    Vol. XI issue iv
    San Francisco, CA

    Typical of this newsletter would be in January for me to write a year in review,  but since this is the end of the decade, it seems appropriate for me to do, well, the decade in review.  So get comfortable – it is a little longer than usual. After all, it was a decade to remember (to forget).

    So what do we call this last decade? Like we did in the 20th Century?  The Oughts?  The Digits?  The Ones? The double-0s?  The zeros?

    And what about this decade?  Are we in the teens yet?

    Let me know what you think.

    Anyway, I digress. My friends, I need to remind you, as you think about this decade, that the future does indeed look bright… if only because the past looks so dark.  

    Here it is… the decade I review:

    It started off, of course, with the end of the Y2K scare.  I was in New Orleans, so it didn't really affect me too much because the city was not on the computer system yet.

    I was sending this news letter out largely via snail mail.  I barely knew what a computer was. I mean, sure I knew people that had them – but it would be like – for me today – if all the Apple iPhones suddenly went out.

    Little did I know that the Y2K folks were right!  They just had the date wrong, and the world would not go to hell until November, when not the changing of the year from '99 to '00, but the infinitesimal dangling chad would gum up the computer system, causing us to start dropping bombs in Afghanistan in less than a year as George W. Bush is elected by the overwhelming indifference of the American people.  

    Monica Lewinsky will one day be viewed as a modern-day Helen of Troy, because without that blow job, we would not be in Iraq today.

    This year is one of those - like 1917 and 1939 - that begin big chapters in history.  

    Just three months after we execute the perpetrator of the largest act of terrorism in American history, Timothy McVey, we are hit by the largest act of terrorism in American History.  We begin the era of retribution.

    I wrote (in this newsletter) at the time of 9-11

    "We are all,
    above all,

    As human as you who committed this shameful deed. It is because of that our retaliation will come.

    And so will yours.
    And our re-retaliation.  
    And yours.

    And what was it you wanted to teach us?
    That we wanted to teach you?

    And now it is not another terrorist attack that I fear. It is the angry backlash. I hear; not just the AM Radio talk show host and the FM commercial shock jock saying, 'Bomb them back to the stone age… let's make Afghanistan look like. like. like. southern Manhattan..."

    The year opens with a national "World's largest flag competition."  A fork lift operator in Lincoln, NB wins by managing to fly a flag (made in China) that covers the entire state and 2/3s of neighboring South Dakota as well as parts of Iowa and Kansas.

    We all find this color code stuff confusing – especially George himself - for a while there was a plan to make it easier for George to remember them – it was proposed to bring back the old Kool-Aid colors – like Jolly Olli Orange ®, and Freckle-Face Strawberry ® and of course Choo Choo Cherry ®.  

    Oh-my-gawd, the world's gone Goofy Grape ®!

    But this idea confused the Secret Service, because they kept putting plastic bags on their heads every time George got thirsty.  The plan was scrapped in favor of using the colors from an LL Bean catalogue:

    "Ladies and Gentlemen, today's Homeland Security code has been raised from Oatmeal Khaki to Pinot Noir."

    The pundits had said that after the attacks on this country we Americans would never go back to our reality-show lives, that the endless imagery of the Twin Towers falling would make us think reality itself was a good enough show--and that "Survivor" would not survive--and there would be an end to shows like American Idol, Real World, and Who Wants to Marry a Republican?

    But we did NOT change. The American flags that once flew tattered on the antennae of gas-guzzlers had finally blown threadbare by year's end. New ones were consigned to the half-off bin at Wal-Mart, and so-called reality shows that depicted a reality that I couldn't hallucinate (even during my drug days) became more popular than an Ecstasy-and-Viagra cocktail in a techno club.

    But there was that moment that we all kept reliving.

    And in that moment, I believed that the phoenix we all knew would arise from the ashes of the 20th century and might turn out to be a dove.

    Then we saw Li'l W on the White House lawn, spatula in hand, standin' in front of a giant George Foreman grill, serving up filet of dove and dove McNuggets.

    It is clear we will invade Iraq.


    The US gives up the hunt for weapons of mass destruction by concluding that Iraq's desire to possess them is justification enough.  

    "Love your enemy." - Jesus Christ
    "An eye for an eye leaves the whole world blind." – Gandhi
    "He was gonna hit me first." – George W Bush

    Operation Iraqi Freedom is officially launched on March 19.  Let the Shock and Awe begin!

    Upset by lack of French participation in the festivities, the congressional cafeteria replaces "French fries" on the menu with "freedom fries." The Discovery Channel® bans Jacques Cousteau reruns, slam poets openly admit they have never read Rimbaud, and California wine makers start an anti-French campaign, boasting, "We will sell no wine before it is bottled."

    Speaking of California, viewers cheer as Arnold Schwarzenegger®  announces he will run for the governorship of California.  Unaware that he had made the announcement on a comedy show, Schwarzenegger® takes the cheers to mean he can actually win.  Californians, who get most of their news from comedy shows, agree, triggering celebration by comedians everywhere.  Gray Davis, donning a cheap Austrian accent, reacts to his loss by saying "I'll be back."

    California movie makers who supported Gray Davis react by replacing "Terminator" with "Saving Private Lynch" (remember her?) as Americas most inspirational war movie

    President Bush declares "Mission Accomplished" as statues of Saddam Hussein topple like American service men in Fallujah.

    The year starts off with former Bush cabinet member Paul O'Neill saying on "60 Minutes" that the Bush administration was planning on invading Iraq long before September eleventh. He went on to say that the sky is blue, and the earth is round.

    Democrats respond by selecting a slab of Melba-toast to win the Iowa Caucus.  Former frontrunner Howard Dean begins to scream.  So do I.

    A fiery black man with a funny name (possibly Irish? O'Bama) makes the keynote speech at the Democratic National Convention.  It is the only high point of the campaign.

    Happy homemaker Martha Stewart was found guilty of conspiracy, making false statements and obstruction of justice. Donning an orange jumpsuit and stainless steel bracelets, she remains the home decoration queen, but not without a serious threat to her crown from the cast of Queer Eye for the Stereotype.

    Congressmen discover photographs of prisoners at the Abu Ghraib prison while visiting various S&M porn sites including In an effort to deflect attention from the fact that they were looking at the porn site in the first place, seventeen common foot soldiers are arrested.

    A freak artic cold front wreaks havoc, causing frozen water pipes to burst all over Hades as the Boston Red Sox win the World Series. Hell freezes. George Bush is re-elected

    Dick Cheney popped out of his underground bunker, but bloodsucking vampire that he is, he cast no shadow -- and we were stuck with four more years.  George Bush is sworn in for his second term, and Pope John Paul says, "I have had enough".  He will ride in the pope mobile no more.

    I was present for the second inaugural which was a black tie and boots affair. The thing I don't get is…when did the Republicans take ownership of cowboy boots and rednecks? When did that become theirs? What the hell do people wearing Tony Lamas have in common with the Republican Party?  No $hit-kicking good-ol-boy in his right mind should be for those "John-Travolta-in-Urban-Cowboy" cowboys.  They are the ones keeping $hit-kicking good-ol-boys poor.

    Just because George's parents bought him a ranch, it does not make him a good 'ol boy. My mother once bought me a bow tie, but I don't now believe myself to be Tucker Carlson.

    But in a few months, the poorest of the poor in American will indeed take down the richest of the rich, as George Bush's presidency reaches its ummm… high water mark.

    New Orleans is flooded and the federal response to the crisis is abysmal.  However, the local and civilian response is awe inspiring.

    Nonetheless, it is the largest migration of Americans since the trail of tears. One half million people are still scattered around the country.

    Protests against the war continue around the US, occasionally making headlines: "Dozens hobble down streets pelting police officers with rocks and bottles."

    Even though the war has bogged down and George Bush's approval rating hovers somewhere below Ulysses S. Grant's second term, the media still covers the anti-war movement as if we were all trying to carry liquids on a plane.  Where's my nail clippers!?

    Once again, Dick Cheney popped out of his underground bunker and this time is shot in the face.  By his friend. People cheer. Talk about low approval ratings.

    Jerry Springer aired his first episode in outer space called "Astronauts Gone Wild."  The star of the show was U.S. Navy Capt. Lisa Nowak, an astronaut caught in an outer space trailer-trash love triangle.

    She drove 900 miles on earth wearing a space diaper, so she wouldn't have to stop and pee.  I was thinking…where can I get one of those?  

    Rednecks across the country were relieved to find that the perpetrator of the Virginia Tech Massacre was not an inbred psychopath named Tiny who grew up in the trailer park shooting coke cans with a submachine gun. Instead, it was a South Korean English Major named Seung-Hui Cho who, even though he had been repeatedly diagnosed as mentally unsound, was still able to purchase his weapons legally thus justifying the NRAs slogan, "Every Waiting Period's Gotta End Sometime."

    England's Tony Blair announced he would be stepping down because of the vastly unpopular war in Iraq.  It is unclear as to weather Saddam Hussein or George W Bush should be credited for toppling another government.

    CNN announced that it would break the writers' strike by having you – the people – ask Democratic presidential debate questions on YouTube.  Questioners included a snowman, a minister, and a third level avatar from the game Halo.

    Candidates receiving questions were a good-looking black man, a blonde white chick and some white dude with good hair try to shake their seedy backgrounds and bring law and order to a violent world. The end result of the debate was that none of the three would make a good president but were the perfect cast for a remake of the 70's TV show "The Mod Squad."  

    The GOP announced it would hold a similar debate in September.  The Mayor, The Minister and The Mormon, now known as "The God Squad" will take on the democrats in competing TV adventure series.

    On the anniversary of 9-11, Osama Bin Laden released a video, again taking credit for the attacks. In this video, Bin Laden appeared with darker hair, all the grey gone from his beard and looking years younger, leading to speculation that he may be taking steroids and an asterisk now appears beside his record of largest terrorist attack in US history.

    Descendants of the Wounded Knee attack continue to dispute the record regardless of steroid accusations.

    Michael Mukasey was approved by the Democratic Congress to be the new US Attorney General.  Mukasey was approved despite the fact that he refused to agree that waterboarding was torture.

    What I want to know is: why didn't they just waterboard him, demanding that as long as you keep saying this isn't torture, we are not going to stop?

    The year starts off with President Bush delivering his last State of the Union address.  Comedians everywhere begin the year of mourning because no one has EVER been so good to us.  Can you say BEST president EVER!?

    In a related story…

    In Iowa, Democrat Barack Obama brought Hillary Clinton to tears as he won the Iowa Caucus in spite of the fact that there are no black people in Iowa.

    Hillary Clinton mounted a comeback in New Hampshire, which also has no black people, but apparently likes seeing women in tears.

    Maybelline ® markets new lipstick shade: Pigskin Red, as John McCain selects a self-proclaimed hockey mom for vice president.  Vice President would be a terrific position for her – except for the fact that she could become president.  I recommend Ambassador to Iceland.

    Fidel Castro resigned, ending his term as the longest seated political leader.  He served through every presidential administration since Eisenhower – through one US presidential assassination, three attempted assassinations, one scandalous resignation, one impeachment, and two baseball seasons cut short by a labor dispute.

    He is widely held by some groups as one of the most evil and hated dictators of the 20th century.

    In an unrelated story…

    Prisoners in Cuba who had been held for over half a decade in kennel-sized pens were finally charged with a crime.

    Dmitri Medvedev succeeds Vladimir Putin as the president of Russia. Parliament elects Putin as prime minister. Americans cry "scandal!" and suggest Dennis Kucinich. Democratic Party Officials decide to give Florida and Michigan a half vote each at the Democratic National Convention. Hillary Clinton gains 24 delegates more than Barack Obama, who is determined by our constitution to be 3/5ths of a person.

    Nonetheless, a black man wins the nomination and Jessie Helms dies upon hearing the news.

    Barrack Obama is sworn in as the nation's first black president. There is much rejoicing on the left; however, there is panic amongst those really in charge as the stock market crashes. Obama attempts to appease the big banks by handing out billions of dollars in order to meet the billion dollar salaries of their CEOs.

    Hope fades as President Obama increases the number of American troops in Afghanistan (to a number roughly the same as the population of Richmond, VA) in an effort to gain support for his National Health Care plan, which turns out to be a law requiring all Americans to patronize already bloated Insurance companies.

    Somehow though, there is still hope.  I hope.

    So as you look to the new decade (what ever we call it) remember that you cannot bring light to this world by adding more darkness.

    Let us hope for the new decade.

    Paul Benoit and I are booking a west coast tour in March of this year going from Santa Cruz to Bellingham.  

    If you have a place (including your living room) you would like us to play, please drop me a line.
    We are also working on a tour in late April of the northeast.  If you have a place (including your living room) you would like us to play, please drop me a line.
    Please check out the new CD "So, Where Ya headed?"
    Paul Benoit did a terrific job as both the producer and musical director.
    Thank you for all your well wishes!  I am in deed in San Francisco with Jen Delyth - and yes she is the celtic design artist

    T.H.A.N.K. .Y.O.U.

    Jen Delyth, Shirley Myers, Amy Malkoff, Celene deLoach, Fish, The Chandlers and the Murrays, Pat Barnes, Joe and Jay, Paul Benoit, Anne Feeney, George Mann

    H.E.R.E.'.S. .D.A. .D.A.T.E.S.

    Friday, January 15 through Sunday, January 17
    Western Workers Labor Heritage Festival in Burlingame, CA

    Friday March 19  Vashon Island The Red Bike

    Sat March 20 Orcas Island, WA
    Off Center Stage

    Wed March 24 or 23 Portland, OR
    The Laurel Thirst Tentative

    Wed 24 or Mon 22 Estacada OR
    Public library

    Thur March 25 Eugene, OR
    Sam Bonds Garage

    Fri March 26th Tentative Ashville, OR

    Sat March 27 Tentative Garberville, CA
    Cecil's New Orleans Bistro

    Tuesday May 30 East Bay House Concert – details TBA

    We are looking for dates throughout this period – I have lots of irons in the fire.

    This tour will be Paul and I on the West Coast CD Release tour with brand new Videos!
    Drop me a line!

    Fri April 30
    House Concert
    Watertown, CT

    Sat May 1 Paterson NJ
    Botto House

    Sat May 1 New York New York

    Monday May 10
    Cambridge, MA
    Cantab Feature

    July 4th Weekend
    High Sierra Music Festival

    July 9th Weekend
    Oregon Country Fair

    July 16th weekend
    Duncan, BC
    The Islands Folk Festival