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 · Graham A. Parsons
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Graham A. Parsons

Kristi Kates - August 2nd, 2010
Going ’Round with Graham A. Parsons
By Kristi Kates
Self-taught Upper Peninsula singer-songwriter Graham A. Parsons got an
early - and heavy-metal - introduction to music while he was still in
his teens.
“My older brother, Ben, got into music when I was 13 or so,” Parsons
explains, “he started a band with some buddies early on, and I got to
watch it develop. I remember them learning Guns and Roses and AC/DC
tunes, but their singer was terrible. One time I asked if I could try
singing a song, and I did, briefly, before the singer ripped the mic
from my tiny hands and told me I didn’t know what I was doing. I guess
from there on out, I had a bit of a vocal vendetta - something to

Parsons, lauded state-wide today for his towering vocal abilities and
strong guitar skills (take that, mediocre metal singer), began his own
guitar-playing journey with a small student guitar, on which he’d try
to play classic rock songs.
“Stairway to Heaven” was one of the first I learned - although I can’t
recall any of it now,” he laughs. For Parsons, though, deciphering
other people’s music quickly led to him writing his own songs. “I
never really even thought about it,” he recalls, “it just happened.”
Another influence - besides his brother’s well-intentioned attempts at
a band - were his parents, whom Parsons says always had “great music”
playing in the house.
“I owe them a lot for those great influences,” he says, “most notably,
The Beatles and the Motown family. I unconsciously learned about pop
songwriting structure from The Beatles, and admired the incredible
voices that came from the Four Tops, Smokey Robinson, and Marvin Gaye.
I remember trying to replicate the sounds they produced - all with a
squeaky prepubescent voice.”

By the time Graham was 16, he was playing three-set gigs at various
smoky U.P. dive bars across the Keweenaw Peninsula, eventually
segueing into being co-founder of Michigan-based band the Squeaky
Clean Cretins. Two full-length albums later, the Cretins had become
more of a seasonal, or summer band for Parsons and crew. This would be
the beginning of that band’s end.
“We only really played three or four months out of the year,” he
explains, “the rest of the time we were separated by 600 miles. By the
end of last summer, the Cretins were playing as a three or four piece
as opposed to a five or six piece, and things just weren’t very
cohesive. We weren’t all on the same page as far as overall
willingness to play whenever, wherever; so it was never really a
‘band’ in the true sense of the word.”
But Parsons wouldn’t remain band-less for long.
Soon, he began playing music with the members of what is now Graham A.
Parsons and the Go Rounds, “and it didn’t take long for most of us to
realize what needed to happen,” he says.
Parsons shared his now extensive back catalog of songs with the band,
and the group added a bunch of newer tunes as well. “It was non-stop
learning for the first few months, building a repertoire,” he
explains. “In that sense, the band has been a vehicle for my songs,
but I’ve never tried to stifle the other members’ influence on them.
They play the songs with a strong sense of respect for their core, but
add a fire to the arrangements.”
Currently, Parsons and the Go Rounds all live in the same town (“most
of us in the same house,” he chuckles), and, as Parsons puts it,
“we’re all recklessly in love with music and know what we want to do
with it.”
It’s an “incredible feeling,” he says.

Graham A. Parsons and the Go Rounds are now set to perform as part of
the Black Cat Concert series in Charlevoix, with even more new songs
and their own eclectic blend of styles.
“Our music is comprised of folkish songs, presented in a very
non-folkish way,” Parsons explains, “the acoustic guitar has a strong
presence, but the arrangements have electronic, psychedelic, rock n’
roll, and jazz influences.”
Parsons’ bandmates are contributing more and more of their influences,
as well, as time goes on for this talented group.
“Recently we’ve been adding more tunes by our keyboardist, Andy
Catlin, and guitarist Gitis Baggs,” Parsons says. (The other members
of the Go Rounds are bassist Tod Kloosterman and drummer Adam Danis.)
“We’ve also just started feeling out song ideas as a band at
rehearsals,” he continues, “someone will start a riff and we’ll all
jump in and see where it goes. I’m sure all songwriting avenues will
be heavily traversed.”
In addition to his work with the Go Rounds, Parsons recently released
his very first solo album, which he’s entitled Farmhand.
“I recorded it last summer between my home in the Keweenaw Peninsula
and my home in Kalamazoo,” he says. “It features many of my favorite
Michigan instrumentalists and friends, but none of the Go Rounds. We
play many of the cuts from the album when we perform live though.” The
Go Rounds have a new live album of their own, too, and will be playing
those songs live.
It’s all part of Parsons’ ongoing growth as a musician full of potential:
“I think fans can expect to hear a more mature and dynamic
presentation of my songwriting. There has been much growth over the
past year, and the music will put it on display.”

Graham A. Parsons and the Go Rounds will be performing as part of the
Black Cat Concerts Series in Charlevoix on Thursday, August 5 at 8
p.m. For tix ($15), visit
www.blackcatconcerts.com; for more info on the band, visit
www.grahamaparsons.com. Other Northern Michigan shows for the band
will include stops at Dunegrass (August 6) and at Short’s Brewery in
Bellaire on August 7.

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