Letters 10-24-2016

It’s Obama’s 1984 Several editions ago I concluded a short letter to the editor with an ominous rhetorical flourish: “Welcome to George Orwell’s 1984 and the grand opening of the Federal Department of Truth!” At the time I am sure most of the readers laughed off my comments as right-wing hyperbole. Shame on you for doubting me...

Gun Bans Don’t Work It is said that mass violence only happens in the USA. A lone gunman in a rubber boat, drifted ashore at a popular resort in Tunisia and randomly shot and killed 38 mostly British and Irish tourists. Tunisian gun laws, which are among the most restrictive in the world, didn’t stop this mass slaughter. And in January 2015, two armed men killed 11 and wounded 11 others in an attack on the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo. French gun laws didn’t stop these assassins...

Scripps’ Good Deed No good deed shall go unpunished! When Dan Scripps was the 101st District State Representative, he introduced legislation to prevent corporations from contaminating (e.g. fracking) or depleting (e.g. Nestle) Michigan’s water table for corporate profit. There are no property lines in the water table, and many of us depend on private wells for abundant, safe, clean water. In the subsequent election, Dan’s opponents ran a negative campaign almost solely on the misrepresentation that Dan’s good deed was a government takeover of your private water well...

Political Definitions As the time to vote draws near it’s a good time to check into what you stand for. According to Dictionary.com the meanings for liberal and conservative are as follows:

Liberal: Favorable to progress or reform as in political or religious affairs.

Conservative: Disposed to preserve existing conditions, institutions, etc., or to restore traditions and limit change...

Voting Takes A Month? Hurricane Matthew hit the Florida coast Oct. 6, over three weeks before Election Day. Bob Ross (Oct. 17th issue) posits that perhaps evacuation orders from Governor Scott may have had political motivations to diminish turnout and seems to praise Hillary Clinton’s call for Gov. Scott to extend Florida’s voter registration deadline due to evacuations...

Clinton Foundation Facts Does the Clinton Foundation really spend a mere 10 percent (per Mike Pence) or 20 percent (per Reince Priebus) of its money on charity? Not true. Charity Watch gives it an A rating (the same as it gives the NRA Foundation) and says it spends 88 percent on charitable causes, and 12 percent on overhead. Here is the source of the misunderstanding: The Foundation does give only a small percentage of its money to charitable organizations, but it spends far more money directly running a number of programs...

America Needs Change Trump supports our constitution, will appoint judges that will keep our freedoms safe. He supports the partial-birth ban; Hillary voted against it. Regardless of how you feel about Trump, critical issues are at stake. Trump will increase national security, monitor refugee admissions, endorse our vital military forces while fighting ISIS. Vice-presidential candidate Mike Pence will be an intelligent asset for the country. Hillary wants open borders, increased government regulation, and more demilitarization at a time when we need strong military defenses...

My Process For No I will be voting “no” on Prop 3 because I am supportive of the process that is in place to review and approve developments. I was on the Traverse City Planning Commission in the 1990s and gained an appreciation for all of the work that goes into a review. The staff reviews the project and makes a recommendation. The developer then makes a presentation, and fellow commissioners and the public can ask questions and make comments. By the end of the process, I knew how to vote for a project, up or down. This process then repeats itself at the City Commission...

Regarding Your Postcard If you received a “Vote No” postcard from StandUp TC, don’t believe their lies. Prop 3 is not illegal. It won’t cost city taxpayers thousands of dollars in legal bills or special elections. Prop 3 is about protecting our downtown -- not Munson, NMC or the Commons -- from a future of ugly skyscrapers that will diminish the very character of our downtown...

Vote Yes It has been suggested that a recall or re-election of current city staff and Traverse City Commission would work better than Prop 3. I disagree. A recall campaign is the most divisive, costly type of election possible. Prop 3, when passed, will allow all city residents an opportunity to vote on any proposed development over 60 feet tall at no cost to the taxpayer...

Yes Vote Explained A “yes” vote on Prop 3 will give Traverse City the right to vote on developments over 60 feet high. It doesn’t require votes on every future building, as incorrectly stated by a previous letter writer. If referendums are held during general elections, taxpayers pay nothing...

Beware Trump When the country you love have have served for 33 years is threatened, you have an obligation and a duty to speak out. Now is the time for all Americans to speak out against a possible Donald Trump presidency. During the past year Trump has been exposed as a pathological liar, a demagogue and a person who is totally unfit to assume the presidency of our already great country...

Picture Worth 1,000 Words Nobody disagrees with the need for affordable housing or that a certain level of density is dollar smart for TC. The issue is the proposed solution. If you haven’t already seen the architect’s rendition for the site, please Google “Pine Street Development Traverse City”...

Living Wage, Not Tall Buildings Our community deserves better than the StandUp TC “vote no” arguments. They are not truthful. Their yard signs say: “More Housing. Less Red Tape. Vote like you want your kids to live here.” The truth: More housing, but for whom? At what price..

Home · Articles · News · Music · The Moody Blues
. . . .

The Moody Blues

Robert Downes - June 21st, 2010
The Moody Blues bring the power of poetry
By Robert Downes
Blasting, billowing, bursting forth
With the power of ten billion
butterfly sneezes
Man, with his flaming pyre
Has conquered the wayward breezes
Climbing to tranquility,
far above the clouds
Conceiving the heavens,
clear of misty shroud.

-- “Higher and Higher” by Graeme Edge

If your musical memory goes back to the late 1960s, chances are you
were awed by the advent of The Moody Blues, who combined psychedelia
with orchestral rock, hard-driving rhythms, electronica, science
fiction, poetry and cosmic themes over a succession of concept albums.
At the time, The Moody Blues occupied much the same trippy, “art rock”
territory as Pink Floyd, albeit with a lighter, more optimistic and
romantic point of view that played well on the radio airwaves of the
time. They performed with a whimsical orchestral/electronic
instrument known as a melotron and sang of the afterlife, outer space,
reincarnation, LSD and the search for the mysterious “lost chord.”
One defining link between each Moodies album was the poetry of drummer
Graeme Edge, who contributed what was then (and still is) an
enchanting confluence of the spoken word leading off some of the best
songs on albums such as “Days of Future Passed” “To Our Children’s
Children’s Children” and “Threshold of a Dream.” Edge’s accessible,
inspiring poetry gave the band “the power of ten billion butterfly
sneezes,” helping to engineer the sales of 70 million albums over the
past 45 years.
Today, speaking from his home in Florida, Edge, 69, is looking forward
to banging the skins once again on a 32-day tour that will include 25
gigs. The band plays Interlochen’s Kresge Auditorium this Saturday.
Edge was one of the founding members of the band in 1964, several
years before their heyday. “I still love playing live anywhere and
just l-o-v-e touring,” he says in an accent that is still thick with
his Birmingham, England roots. “I don’t love the traveling part of it,
but playing live is still one of my favorite activities.
“We like to work a lot because we tend to get into more trouble on our
nights off,” he adds with a laugh. “You have dinner and some wine and
before you know it you’re playing with a hangover the next night and
it hurts too much.”
You get the impression that Edge likes to party and has a great sense
of humor. Does he still write poetry as well?
“Yes, it’s tough getting published much these days because we’re not
releasing new albums at the moment, but I still write some stuff down.
You don’t actually finish anything though because then you tend to
start tampering with it and losing something in the expression.”
Edge has a scrapbook of writings that are ready to go on a moment’s
notice, however. In the meantime, he tends to step out from behind
the drums during the live shows to recite some of his poetic intros to

When the white eagle of the North
was flying overhead,
And the browns, reds and golds of
autumn lay in the gutter dead.
Remember then the summer birds
with wings of fire flame,
Come to witness springs new hope,
born of leaves decaying.
And as new life will come from death,
Love will come at leisure.
Love of love, love of life and giving
without measure,
Gives in return a wonderous yearn
for promise almost seen.
Live hand in hand
and together we’ll stand,
On the threshold of a dream.

-- “The Dream”

Speaking of drums, these days the original members of the Moody
Blues are augmented by the talents of several newcomers, including
flautist & rhythm guitarist Norda Mullen, Paul Bliss on
keyboards/guitar, and Bernie Barlow on keyboards/percussion. Drummer
Gordon Marshall has backed up Edge for the past 20 years, pumping up
the percussion. “Gordie has been a great help. I got to a stage where
I had to husband my resources and I don’t like playing like that,”
Edge says. “So I try to play flat out on a few favorite songs.”
Whatever happened to the Moodies’ songwriting streak that produced so
many hits through the years?
“We don’t have the management and the old record labels are all gone,”
Edge says, adding that the individual members of the band are kept
busy managing their own affairs and sifting through materials of the
past. The band also doesn’t care for the recording style of today’s
music industry. Edge notes that they used to spend a month or so
recording, but today the emphasis in the music business seems to be
more focused on “slapping something together in the studio.” They do
have a current re-release out, however: “The Moody Blues:  Live At
The Royal Albert Hall With The World Festival Orchestra.”
“Also, there’s the fact that we’re mature people now and have a life
other than rock and roll,” he says. “It’s not like back in the ‘60s
when the band consumed our whole lives. Recording really makes it all
a lot of work, and of course, albums aren’t selling now -- they’re
loss-leaders. We get plenty of attendance at our concerts and in
general, people don’t want to hear new stuff from us.”
In any event, the past 45 years have been one good ride for Edge and
the band. “I wouldn’t change anything,” he says. “One of the best
things about my job is to get up there on the stage and have people
say, ‘if that old fart can still do it, so can I!’”

Breathe deep, the gathering gloom,
watch lights fade from every room.
Bedsitter people, look back and lament,
another useless day’s energy spent.
Impassioned lovers, wrestle as one,
lonely man cries for love, and has none.
New mother picks up and suckles
her son,
senior citizens, wish they were young.
Cold hearted orb, that rules the night,
removes the colors from our sight,
red is grey, and yellow, white.....
But we decide which is right.
And which is an illusion.

-- “Nights in White Satin”

The Moody Blues perform at Interlochen’s Kresge Auditorium this
Saturday, June 26 at
8 p.m.

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