CLA Radio 04/03/15: Heaven & Hell


The next ConservativeLA Radio show (on Duane FM in the Hughniverse, Friday, 04/03/15, 7:00 Pacific/10:00 Eastern) will feature songs pertaining to Heaven and Hell. (Hopefully by next week I’ll be able to assemble a show that is at least tangentially related to my recent move from Monrovia, CA to Dallas, TX.)

Hope you can stop by and listen, and join us in chat!

The Spotify playlist is here.

Set list:

Ralph Stanley: Going Up Home To Live In Green Pastures
The Who: Heaven And Hell
The Louvin Brothers: The Angels Rejoiced Last Night
Robert Jonson: Hellhound On My Trail
Talking Heads: Heaven
Pistol Annies: Hell On Heels
Los Lonely Boys: Heaven
James Brown: Hell
Sister Rosetta Tharpe: Beams Of Heaven
Eric Church: Hell On The Heart
The Clash: Up In Heaven
Peetie Wheatstaw: Devilment Blues
Bukka White: I Am In The Heavenly Way
Motorhead: Born To Raise Hell
Lester Flatt & Earl Scruggs: Reunion In Heaven
The Clash: Straight To Hell
Patty Loveless: Friends In Gloryland
Squirrel Nut Zippers: Hell
Frankie Yankovic: In Heaven There Is No Beer
The White Stripes: Seven Nation Army
Mahalia Jackson: Walk Over God’s Heaven
The Brian Jonestown Massacre: Going To Hell
Johnny Cash: When The Roll Is Called Up Yonder
Spinal Tap: Hell Hole
Pixies: Monkey Gone To Heaven
Drive-By Truckers: Hell No, I Ain’t Happy
Maria McKee: Show Me Heaven
The White Stries: Catch Hell Blues
Warren Zevon: Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door
John Wesley Macon: Hell Bound Blues
Patty Griffin: Heavenly Day
Ryan Adams: Love Is Hell
Sandi Patty: We Shall Behold Him

Out of California

And so begins my first full day in Dallas, Texas. After having lived in Southern California all my life, here I am. Phase II, as it were.

The journey–in a Ford Fiesta that probably won’t be mine for long–began early Saturday morning and ended Sunday evening. Fortunately the trip was without problems as far as the car went.

Highlights of the trip, in no particular order:

It being over.

Hank FM, which appears to be out of Ft. Worth, played some great old school country (including Buck Owens, no less) during one of the prettier parts of the trip, the stretch of I-20 being I-10 and I-30.

The generosity and hospitality of Breck and his daughter.

Remarkably organized drivers who generally made it a habit, per signs indicating that they should do so, to keep to the right unless passing. Far more civilized than California, for the most part.


My usual equilibrium problems, which made much of the trip unpleasant.

A combination of an inadequate radio (and no iPod, CD player, or suchlike), and a dearth of radio stations. There was simply no radio signals to be had for parts of the trip.

An overnight stop in an crappy Motel 6 in Las Cruces, New Mexico. The put me in a room that was already inhabited by quite a few mosquitoes. Had to ask for another room. Schlepped my stuff to the other room, at which time the COPD kicked in with a vengence. Then there were the bikers a few doors down, who partied until about 2:00 in the morning. Worst motel I’ve ever stayed in.

Closed rest areas. Oodles.

Other notable aspects:

Briefly surveying the charming vista that is Ciudad Juarez, from I-10 driving through El Paso.

The sheer labyrinthine chaos of getting from Point A to Point B, in and around DFW. Lots and lots of construction. Somehow I only got lost once, for a half block, before I made an illegal U-turn and got back on course.

Lots of 75 MPH speed limits in Texas–some even 80 MPH.

And so begins Phase II. No idea what to expect.

Another ‘suicidal’ mass murderer

Here comes another one: “Andreas Lubitz, the pilot at the controls of the Germanwings jetliner that [was deliberately] crashed into the French Alps on Tuesday.”

Presumably Lubitz was suicidally-depressed, but like far too many bad actors in high-profile news stories before him, he decided to take 149 other people with him.

We need another term for suicidally-depressed mass murderers–perhaps “mass murderers.” Period. Or maybe with an asterisk pointing to a footnote pertaining to a depression diagnosis.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but the overwhelming majority of suicides do not involve taking the lives of others. But if all you know about depression and suicide are news stories about murder-suicides, you might come away with the impression that the majority of suicides are, in fact, murder-suicides.

I know more than a little about depression and suicidal ideation. The only time I began to feel angry enough to want to harm other people seemed largely a function of the SSRI I had been taking for a short time before that (and which I quit cold turkey when those feelings started to emerge), so maybe there’s something to the argument that some SSRIs can provoke violent responses in some people.

The media presumably doesn’t set out to deliberately characterize suicidal depressives as potential mass-murderers, but that’s pretty much the impression we’re left with.

And finally, as I have said repeatedly elsewhere, if you are suicidal, leave innocent bystanders out of it. Do what you have to do, and leave everybody else alone.

Suicidally-depressed people have enough to deal with without being seen as potential murderers.


Addendum, 3/30/15:

[T]he media has been quick to point the finger at Lubitz’s history of depression….

Mental health charities…have been queuing up to plead for more understanding about depression, and less sensationalist language.

They say the vast majority of people with depression do not hurt anyone, and research shows that their risk is primarily to themselves.

CLA Radio 03/27/15: Trains


Sorry, but due to my personal life imploding, this will be another repeat. Hopefully we’ll be back to new shows in two weeks.

The next ConservativeLA Radio show (on Duane FM in the Hughniverse, Friday, 03/27/15, 7:00 Pacific/10:00 Eastern) will look at the wonderful world of Trains–because I’m headed for Texas on Saturday morning after spending my first 59-plus years in California, and I want to hear traveling music. (The show was originally broadcast on 10/04/13.)

Hope you can stop by and listen, and join us in chat!

Spoiler set list:

CLA Radio Presents: OJ Rap Meets Obamacare Trainwreck
Robert Earl Keen: Play a Train Song
Son Volt: L Train
Movie Clip: Casablanca
The Jam: Down In The Tube Station At Midnight
Johnny Cash: Hey Porter!
TV Ad: Johnny Cash For Lionel Trains
Old 97′s: Let The Train Blow The Whistle
Billy Joe Shaver: Georgia On A Fast Train
Movie Clip: Young Frankenstein
Dan Tyminski: Wheels
Movie Clip: A Hard Day’s Night
James Brown: Night Train (Single Version)
Convicts Of Cummins Farm: Rock Island Line
Movie Clip: Throw Mamma From The Train
Keith And Tex: Stop That Train
Fred McDowell: The Train I Ride
Movie Clip: Trains, Planes And Automobiles
The Stanley Brothers: Riding On That Midnight Train
Movie Clip: Big Trains Rolling (1955)
Mance Lipscomb: Easy Rider Blues
Movie Clip: The Train (1964)
Billy Joe Shaver: Amtrak (Ain’t Coming Back)
Georgia Satellites: Railroad Steel
TV Ad: Joe Dimaggio For Lionel Trains
Little Eva: The Loco-Motion
Toots and the Maytals: Freedom Train
Movie Clip: Stand By Me
Tom Petty: Runaway Train
Neil Young: Southern Pacific
Movie Clip: O Brother Where Art Thou (2000)
Bessie Smith: Dixie Flyer Blues
Alison Krauss: Steel Rails
Movie Clip: Before Sunrise
Doc Watson: Blue Railroad Train
Convicts Of Bellwood Prison Camp: The Longest Train I Ever Saw
Movie Clip: Santa Fe Railroad (1959)
Tom Waits: Downtown Train
The Rolling Stones: Love In Vain (Live)
Movie Clip: Schindler’s List
Dan Tyminski: How Long Is This Train

Kafka In California: This Will Take Three To Five Hours

After navigating the parking garage and negotiating a phalanx of ObamaPhone hawkers, there it was:

The forms were nonsensical.

CrisisOfConfidenceOne of the forms had a series of questions pertaining to ones mental well-being. Ordinarily, this would be none of their bidness, but one might as well take a chance by telling the truth, when to lie would presumably be contrary to ones immediate economic self-interest.

At one point she handed me a form and asked me to fill it out. The form looked familiar, but it took me a moment to realize why: I had, in fact, filled out what appeared to be the same form.

“I already filled that one out,” I gamely pointed out.

She went through the folder and, lo, there was my completed copy.

She then pointed out that the two forms had (wait for it…) different revision numbers; the completed form was the wrong version–because that’s the revision that had been given to me to fill out.

So if you need help, reach out–but the fact that you still have a car and are not yet homeless and you filled out the wrong form about how crazy you are screws up the gestalt, ‘K?

My 2013 Ford Fiesta is apparently high cotton, in the eyes of the county. (I can use the possessive first-person pronoun for now, at least.) The market value is greater than that allowed to qualify for the particular dole I was applying for. And the car payment would eat up most of the dole. Well, I need that car long enough to get the fuck out of California, at a minimum.

Yes, I should narrate the whole thing. But I don’t want to. I hate having gotten to this point; I hated having to concretize my defeat by applying; and then, as the actual process concretized my defeat even more than having to apply did, it started going Kafka on me. Or maybe Joseph Heller. Or maybe this is just how disconnected I have become vis. my fellow meat puppets.

Or maybe it’s just organizational behavior.

I politely made my exit–after she had me sign a form that indicated that I had politely made my exit.

Squeeze Me?

O’er the land of the freeeeeeee…

Mandatory Voting? Obama Says It Would Be ‘Transformative’

They say the only two things that are certain in life are death and taxes. President Barack Obama wants to add one more: voting.

Obama floated the idea of mandatory voting in the U.S. while speaking to a civic group in Cleveland on Wednesday. Asked about the corrosive influence of money in U.S. elections, Obama digressed into the related topic of voting rights and said the U.S. should be making it easier — not harder— for people to vote.

Just ask Australia, where citizens have no choice but to vote, the president said.

“If everybody voted, then it would completely change the political map in this country,” Obama said, calling it potentially transformative. Not only that, Obama said, but universal voting would “counteract money more than anything.”

Disproportionately, Americans who skip the polls on Election Day are younger, lower-income and more likely to be immigrants or minorities, Obama said. “There’s a reason why some folks try to keep them away from the polls,” he said in a veiled reference to efforts in a number of Republican-led states to make it harder for people to vote.

Statistically speaking, Obama is correct. Less than 37 percent of eligible voters cast ballots in the 2014 midterms, according to the United States Election Project. And a Pew Research Center study found that those avoiding the polls in 2014 tended to be younger, poorer, less educated and more racially diverse.

At least two dozen countries have some form of compulsory voting, including Belgium, Brazil and Argentina. In many systems, absconders must provide a valid excuse or face a fine, although a few countries have laws on the books that allow for potential imprisonment.

At issue, Obama said, is the outsize influence that those with money can have on U.S. elections, where low overall turnout often gives an advantage to the party best able to turn out its base. Obama has opposed Citizens United and other court rulings that cleared the way for super PACs and unlimited campaign spending, but embraced such groups in his 2012 re-election campaign out of fear he’d be outspent.

Obama said he thought it would be “fun” for the U.S. to consider amending the Constitution to change the role that money plays in the electoral system. But don’t hold your breath.

“Realistically, given the requirements of that process, that would be a long-term proposition,” he said.

I have no words.

A Brief History Of Depression (poem)

The Greeks suspected humors,
Unbalanced, caused depression;
The Stoics, faulty thinking;
The early Church, possession.

Renaissance philosophers
Thought depth it might imbue;
Enlightenment physicians
Took a mechanistic view.

The Romantics sang its praises;
Then along came Neurasthenia;
But then we came to realize
It is not like schizophrenia.

Then of course the talking cure–
Freud sure was a hit;
But if that failed, some ECT
Might cheer you up a bit.

The medications multiply;
The DSM gets bigger;
We still don’t seem to really know
What makes some pull the trigger.


(Inspired by “Leashing the Black Dog: The History of Depression.”)


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