C I V I L    M A R R I A G E    I S    A    C I V I L    R I G H T.

A N D N O W I T ' S T H E L A W O F T H E L A N D.

Monday, July 30, 2018

Robert Reich: "A Malignant Megalomaniac" and How to Stop HIm

The Trump-O-Matic
one of many intriguing prints and posters available at The Art of Mark Bryan

Robert Reich (b. 1946) is a political commentator, professor, and author who served as Secretary of Labor during the Clinton Administration.  He currently teaches in the Goldman School of Public Policy at Berkeley(Note for the benefit of my overseas truckbuddies:  Berkeley, just across the bay from San Francisco, has always been a hotbed of left-wing thought.  The 1960's were invented there.)

Reich has made a number of short, thought-provoking YouTube essays on the current constitutional crisis;  here is a sampling.

Sunday, July 29, 2018

Beach Mix, 7/29/18

Let's have a beach party!

Sunday Drive is on summer hiatus while I offer some favorites from the mid-sixties for fun in the sun and tans on the sands.

What memories do these songs bring back for you?

Fun, Fun, Fun, Beach Boys, 1964

Going to a Go-Go, Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, 1965

The "In" Crowd, Dobie Gray, Shindig! 1964

See You in September, Happenings, 1966

Come See About Me, Supremes, Shindig! 1964

P.S. -- Is there a gay man alive who hasn't mimed the Supremes in front of a mirror, somewhere, sometime?  Oh come on, girlfriend, tell the truth.

Friday, July 27, 2018

Waitin' for the Weekend

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

All About Grits

Grits are good, grits are fine. Grits are scrumptious any old time.
Grits are groovy, grits are great. Eat them up and lick the plate.

--Traditional Southern lullaby

For all you Yankee boys who don't know what's good, Southern Living's test kitchen director Robby Melvin stopped by the Blue Truck today to give you a quick lesson in fine dining.

And all you peckerwoods wearing out your intertubes a-worrying about climate change should be glad to hear that grits are eco-friendly:  they can be made with nothing more than rocks and water.  I'm telling you the Gospel truth!  Just looky here at this little fillum, and you might learn something:

What's that you ask? You say you want to know more about the goodness of grits? Well, then, go read "Why Southerners Must Know Their Grits" over at the Southern Living website.  That will tell you all you never knew you wanted to know about grits, and then some.  You might also be surprised to know that the Italian word for grits is polenta.  Well, almost.

But now listen to ol' Russ: you don't need to fool with all that high-falutin' history and technology and stuff.  (And do NOT even think about doing anything with lye - your grandma knew how, but the secret died with her.)  Just run yourself over to the store and grab you a round canister of quick 5-minute grits - any brand will do, and any color, too - yellow is prettier, but the standard white is just fine.

Now fellas, if you can boil water, you can make grits.  It's that doggone easy, I swear it is. Just follow the extremely simple directions on the package. In five minutes, if you have a lick of sense, you will have a steaming hot pot of perfect grits, and then you can commence to eating and enjoying one of God's greatest gifts to the South - and to the world.

Just add butter and black pepper, and ooooowheeeee! You got something good there, boys, for breakfast, dinner, supper, or midnight snack. Goes with anything and everything. Plumb delicious. You'll feel better and live longer, too. I tell you what.

What's that you say? You went to the store and they didn't have nary a box of grits to be found? Well sir, that's a mighty sad thing, yes indeed. And I feel just as sorry as I can for all you underprivileged folks living in the undeveloped world. I'll pray for you.

The preceding has been a public service announcement from Russ Manley and the Blue Truck Educational Trust.

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Beach Mix, 7/22/18

Let's have a beach party!  

Sunday Drive is on summer hiatus while I offer some favorites from the mid-sixties for fun in the sun and tans on the sands.

What memories do these songs bring back for you?

Surfin' USA, Beach Boys, 1964:

Uptight (Everything's Alright), Stevie Wonder, 1965:

Let's Hang On, Four Seasons, 1965:

I Only Want to Be with You, Dusty Springfield, 1964:

Nowhere to Run, Martha and the Vandellas, Ready Steady Go! 1965:

Saturday, July 21, 2018

George Will: "This Sad, Embarrassing Wreck of a Man"

Embed from Getty Images

"Want to play with my ball, Donny?"

Your Head Trucker finds it odd that people keep trying to pin the label of mental illness on Trump, when instead it is patently obvious that he is no more than a big, dumb buffoon - a consummately vain, overgrown rich kid who learned little from his expensive education, and remembers less - a reality-show actor who keeps flubbing his lines and missing his marks - a mental infant in the paunchy body of a 70-year-old blowhard.  Had he remained in private life, the only ones really hurt by his incorrigible self-worship would be his many creditors, probably.

But as president, with the active connivance and abetting of the entire sycophantic Republican Party - and perhaps with the encouragement and blackmail of Trump's Machiavellian father-figure, Putin - Trump, like a rogue elephant in a bazaar, is doing incalculable damage day by day not only to the foundations of this Republic, but also to the finely balanced bulwarks and linkages of the Western world that have, in broad terms, kept the peace and enabled the general prosperity of the whole world these seventy years.  (I do not say it is or ever has been a perfect world - but just try to imagine how much worse a world it would be without America in the lead, morally, financially, and militarily.)

He also has made himself, not really the leader, but rather the tool of those hateful, benighted forces in this country that are inimical to liberty, equality, decency, and democracy, with baleful results we have already seen; even worse may be to come. If his childish, lurching rampage is not soon stopped, or at least neutralized, he stands a good chance of going down in history as an enemy of the human race and a betrayer, whether by sheer stupidity or malicious design, of all that America is and has been and should be.

When I was younger and more idealistic, not to say naive, I thought it a very strange and rather silly thing, that custom of the ancient Egyptians and Romans, among others, to pronounce damnatio memoriaeoblivion - upon a despised ruler, once he was removed from office.  I must say that I have in recent years come to understand much better just why they did that.

George Will, one of the leading conservative pundits for the past four decades, a man of high intelligence and fine writing, who left the Republican Party in 2016 with the advent of Trump, began a column in the Washington Post this week with the same metaphor of an infantile leader:
America’s child president had a play date with a KGB alumnus, who surely enjoyed providing day care. It was a useful, because illuminating, event: Now we shall see how many Republicans retain a capacity for embarrassment. . . .
I recommend the whole essay for the perusal of my truckbuddies. But if you haven't the time to read it, Will summarized his views in the first five minutes of this clip from Wednesday's Morning Joe program:

I believe Trump will not last very long on the spotlit stage he occupies now - as them ol' Greek boys put it, after hubris comes nemesis, and a miserable end. But Trump is merely the image of the beast - a fake president, to use his favorite adjective - the willing, gullible pawn of evil men who are only too glad to feed his gluttonous self-love while using him to further their hellacious schemes - and beyond them, the credulous millions who eagerly follow and support, an army of willing tools and fools, worshipers of a god made in their own image.

If Trump for some reason were to fall silent tomorrow and depart the White House for some quieter spot, do you not think there would be plenty of others ready to fill the space he vacated?  Be sure that the fakery show would continue as planned, regardless of who sits in the Oval Office.  The dire problem we face is not simply that of one churlish buffoon alone.

If you want to see a preview of the next episode in this filthy saga, look no further than Steve Bannon, Trump's erstwhile campaign manager and political incubus, who has stated his own evil intentions quite plainly, for all the world to hear: "I'd rather reign in hell, than serve in heaven."  What he is now organizing is a world alliance of far-right nationalist parties, united in one revolutionary goal: the exaltation of dictatorship, tribal hatreds, and willful ignorance, along with the utter destruction of liberal democracy, the rule of law, and fundamental human rights; that is to say, the triumph of lust over love, of greed over goodwill, of darkness over light in the human soul.

Do not be deceived, my friends:  the long, pleasant Indian summer of the postwar era, so dearly bought with blood, toil, tears, and sweat, may be drawing to its close sooner than you think, if the present danger is not swiftly and firmly averted.

And somewhere, the cunning jackal Putin is licking his chops hungrily, while the foolish Europeans and Americans split and re-split themselves into warring camps:  divide et impera. I do not know the remedy to all this - I only point to the rising flames.

So quit fretting about Trump's mindless tweets, a child's babbling, a mere sideshow, and focus instead on the real peril, the mortal danger that lies straight ahead. Bannon's declared intentions are unmistakable, undiluted evil, straight from the mouth of the Devil.

And now you can't say you weren't warned.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Waitin' for the Weekend

Too fucking HOT!

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Rachel Maddow: Worst-Case Scenario

First, today's headline from the New York Daily News:

Cf. Trump's statement, January 23, 2016:
I could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody 
and I wouldn’t lose voters.

Last night, Rachel Maddow, in typical melodramatic style, explored the damning implications of Saturday's indictment of Russian agent Maria Butina, in a segment worth watching:

Monday, July 16, 2018

Randy Rainbow: A Very Stable Genius

"A brilliantly vulgar tour de force!" -- Blue Truck, Red State

For comparison, here's a review of an even more vulgar performance in Helsinki:

"Disgraceful . . . pathetic . . . a tragic mistake . . . 
No prior president has ever abased himself more abjectly before a tyrant." -- Sen. John McCain

Bonus: The New York Times today released a hilarious animation of Trump's sickly-sweet infatuation with Putin:

I understand that some toxic little queens are up in arms about "homophobia" here. Well, I am as gay as they come, and I say it is brilliant satire. Gay romance is merely the vehicle, not the object of the humor here. It is not directed at gay people, it's directed at a monumental buffoon and possible traitor.

Besides, on every gay website, gays themselves have been making this very same comparison, with drawings and cartoons, ever since Trump first declared himself a candidate. So chill out, girls, and go take a powder: you are just waaaaaaaaaaaaay over-sensitive.

Every satire contains a grain of truth - and who among us hasn't, sometime or other, fallen for a seductive, sexy bad boy who later turned out to be a sonofabitch?  You never will be mature human beings until you learn to laugh at yourselves - and that goes for all the other chip-on-the-shoulder groups as well, at all points on the spectrum.  Grow up, people.

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Beach Mix, 7/15/18

Let's have a beach party!  

Sunday Drive is on summer hiatus while I offer some favorites from the mid-sixties for fun in the sun and tans on the sands.

What memories do these songs bring back for you?

Do You Wanna Dance, Beach Boys, Shingdig!, 1965:

Land of 1000 Dances, Wilson Pickett, 1966:

Because, Dave Clark Five, 1964:

The Nitty Gritty, Shirley Ellis, ft. dancer Bobby Banas, The Hollywood Palace, 1964:

Secret Agent Man, Johnny Rivers, 1966:

Friday, July 13, 2018

Waitin' for the Weekend

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

In Memoriam: Tab Hunter, 1931-2018

Tab Hunter, the studly, golden-haired Hollywood heartthrob of the 1950's, died Sunday at his home in California of natural causes, three days short of his 87th birthday. Hunter is survived by his partner of 35 years, film producer Allan Glaser.  Hunter came out of the closet with his 2005 autobiography, Tab Hunter Confidential, which was followed by the eponymous documentary in 2015.  The latter is well worth watching, if you haven't seen it already.

Sunday, July 8, 2018

Beach Mix, 7/8/18

Well, fellas, the world's in a helluva shape, and seems there's not much we can do about it just now - but instead of sitting home feeling blue, let's have an old-fashioned beach party!  

Sunday Drive is on summer hiatus while I offer some favorites from the mid-sixties for fun in the sun and tans on the sands.

What memories do these songs bring back for you?

Cool Jerk, The Capitols, 1966:

Call Me, Chris Montez, 1965:

You're the One, The Vogues, 1965:

Reach Out I'll Be There, The Four Tops, featuring the late, great Levi Stubbs, 1966:

Friday, July 6, 2018

Waitin' for the Weekend

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Fourth of July 2018: I Am an American

This is a PSA made by the Ad Council in the wake of the September 11th attacks, and reissued ten years later.  I find it very timely and very moving still.

With my tiny voice here on this blog, I appeal to all my truckbuddies, and to all my fellow Americans, to remember in this darkening time that while we may be a nation of many colors, we are all one people under Old Glory. I pray that everyone from all sides, of all stripes and shades and opinions, will remember that above and beyond the individual pursuit of happiness, it is our duty as Americans to preserve and extend "the blessings of liberty" handed down to us, to make common cause across all lines and divisions, to seek peace and pursue it - not merely abroad, but starting right here at home with our friends, relations, and next-door neighbors.

I seem to hear the ominous ticking of a clock. We have had a very good thing going here in this country for nearly 250 years now. Do we really have to destroy it all in sordid squabbles, putrid politics, and internecine conflict? Must we, really? Is there not still time to turn back the tide of hate and simply love this country - and one another?  Is that not the greatest and best agenda of all?

Brothers and sisters, Americans all, I am not asking anyone to surrender. I am just asking everyone to unite, despite all differences, under the starry banner that is red and blue - for our own good, and for that of the whole world. While we still can.  God help us so to do.

I am an American.

Sunday, July 1, 2018

Sunday Drive: Summer Samba

This pleasant, breezy tune was a 1966 hit in the U. S. for Brazilian organist Walter Wandereley:

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