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Richard Brautigan was my favorite Beatle

You know you're a Post- Baby Boomer when you had to learn that Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds was not an Elton John song. I remember being told by a nanny that you liked either the Monkeys or the Beatles. They broke up before I began listening to pop music. John became an activist, Paul was determined to return to commercial sounds, and George and Ringo faded to slackerdom, having ever only composed While My Guitar Gently Weeps and Octopus's Garden between them, so I thought. I knew only the Beatles Red and White anthologies. Barbara Bach and Got My Heart Set on You redeemed Ringo Starr fairly enough, and later I came to appreciate George Harrison. Actually later I heard Ravi Shankar liken Harrison's exertions on the sitar to a monkey handling a violin, and we come full circle. But before that was Handmade Films, Harrison's project to finance Monty Python adventures, and something I've just come upon, recordings of my favorite post-beat writer Richard Brautigan. Someone at Apple Records, and I like to imagine it was George, approached RB about putting his poems on vinyl. Someone in the production process knew what to add to the poetry to please his fans. The tracks recorded Brautigan taking off his clothes, answering the phone, and brushing his teeth. I knew of the recordings, I didn't know it was on Apple. I came upon Richard Brautigan late too. In 1986 I read The Springhill Mine Disaster, and In Watermelon Sugar, and was pleased enough to imagine one day meeting him. It wasn't until I was standing in the reference shelves of Penrose Library several years later, that I read a jacket liner which referenced Brautigan in the past tense. I was profoundly shattered that he lived no more, and I am still confused that a voice so lyrically optimistic could choose to commit suicide. I collected all his books but eventually lost a curiosity to read them. Brautigan wrote: "All of us have a place in history. Mine is clouds." He took his life two years before I encountered The Confederate General and Trout Fishing. There is something uniformly post-mortem about my generation. Richard Brautigan is considered a beat writer, although he came on the scene a decade later. Which oddly leads me to mention my favorite of his, The Abortion.

Joe Lieberman and Jesse James

One of my favorite poems by Richard Brautigan ends thus "My teachers could easily have ridden with Jesse James for all the time they stole from me."   I feel the same way about people who exert their authority to bore or obstruct. Brautigan's sentiment reflects I think not just the severity of the crime of boring a child, but also the crime of using a position of authority to subject a child to your boring ass, made worse by behaving self-righteously about it. The association to Jesse James is not as merely to a thief, but to a capital criminal, having stolen youth, deserving to meet death by hanging, or any looming ignoble death, hastily arranged by unanimous consent. Boring teachers are the least of it. I believe we could find universal condemnation of any bureaucrat who stands in the way of disclosure which would serve the public good, we've passed laws to punish not just bureaucrats who would impede justice. Petty officials, loathsome hypocritical pedophiles -now we know it's not just hyperbole, steely-eyed patronizing prigs. Such are men like Joe Lieberman. Today's news is that Diebold does not deny the rumors of Lieberman's likely win in November. Alarm bells are going off because Lieberman has been promised the chairmanship of two key subcommittees, both of which laymen Democrats had been thinking would be used to bring the Bush GOP to accounts. What would Harry Reid be doing in giving Lieberman those seats? Aren't the Democrats running on the promise of setting matters straight? It's said that Reid fears Lieberman would otherwise defect to the dark side. What part of Lieberman's voting record offers us any representation otherwise? Our Senator Salazar has been campaigning for Lieberbush, even though Lieberman was forced by his loss in the primaries to run as an independent. Party loyalty is one thing, but it's not about political parties is it? Don't tell grassroots party members they mustn't discredit the party platform with extremism, yet at the same time reach to support an extreme right Democrat who's finally thrown off his cloak in order to stay on the ticket. Lieberman needs to be kicked out of the party is what needs to happen. When you just as easily eschew party affiliation to lobby for the opposition, because the candidate is an incumbent, you are lobbying for the status quo. No one is sent up to Washington on the opposition party ticket to fight for things as they are. What a mess. And the Democrats are riding what high horse? The high horse Bush rode in on?

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