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The constitution calls for a “well regulated militia” not individual ownership. Muskets were used at the time, not high-tech assault rifles. There was no National Guard or Army, Air Force, Marines in that era. The 2nd amendment was designed to keep slaves at bay in the southern states using voluntary state-run militia. It was a compromise to get the Constitution ratified in the loosely-based slave-holding southern states. It is obsolete and racist but NO ONE wants to deal with reality. It was the well-regulated militia made up of civilians from each individual state to keep the slaves down on the farm and guns out of their hands. Our founding fathers did the best they could to fashion a nation of religious exiles that were warring with each other (Methodists in the north, Baptists in the south) and slaveholders of which they were a part. They were far from perfect and the document was never intended to be a religious text that was the “word of god” to follow blindly through the centuries.

This country was founded on genocide, tobacco, and slave labor…times have changed and to refer to outdated language that has no bearing on reality 300 years later is absurd in my humble opinion. Military grade weapons have no place in individual hands. If anyone thinks they are necessary to overthrow “the government” they are fools. We have created a nation of guns because of loopholes in Supreme Court rulings over an amendment that says nothing about individual gun rights.

We have more guns per capita then ANY nation in the world…It’s staggering and we wonder why nut cases can get guns…they are so easy to get legally or illegally and most of these domestic terrorists get them legally. Rapid-fire weapons of war in the general population’s hands created this nightmare and they were banned until Bush let that ban expire. As a country we’ve gone mad!

Why does the OLC policy stop us from indicting a president in office?
The short answer is that the opinion, though very much disputed by constitutional scholars, and never confirmed by the decision of any court, is what the DOJ goes by. Someone, the DOJ or a state prosecuting agency, would have to actually bring charges in order to test this theory.

In my opinion, there is no constitutional basis for the belief that a sitting president cannot be prosecuted. There is nothing in the text of the constitution, no matter how read, that states or implies this. There is nothing in the proceedings of the constitutional convention, the Federalist papers, the letters of the founders, etc., that provides any real support. The general principles upon which this country was founded, breaking away from a tyrannical king and the attendant suspicion of great power gathered in the hands of one person, argues in the other direction. Some have suggested that, perhaps, the founders wouldn’t have wanted this because they were concerned about a sitting president being hamstrung by his political opponents. Considering that parties did not exist at the time of the Constitution, this seems unlikely, though some may have thought of it later.

There is little case law that might be relevant, and United States v Nixon and Clinton v. Jones, push in the other direction. The first case was about executive privilege, and suggests in a general way that president’s privileges and prerogatives are limited. The second case, however, was about the Paula Jones lawsuit, a civil case brought against Clinton for acts committed prior to his presidency. The Supreme Court said the suit could go forward during his presidency and rejected the “undo interference with the duties of the president” argument.

Maybe criminal cases are more intrusive, so the Court would distinguish this case; but maybe criminal cases are more important, so the rule of Jones would be even stronger.

Courts look to practical results, which is one reason why people argue that criminal prosecution would interfere with the president. But consider this fictional, but certainly possible, scenario:

The president strangles the first lady in the residence of the White House during his first month in office. There are six witnesses, video, and a signed confession. It’s a slam-dunk first-degree murder case, but it occurred in the White House, federal land, so the DOJ has sole prosecutorial authority, which they refuse to exercise under their policy.

The House quickly votes articles of impeachment, and the Senate, after a trial, votes on conviction. A strong majority of senators vote to convict, including many members of the president’s own party, but the Senate is controlled by that party, which is filled with amoral monsters concerned only with their narrow political advantage. (I know, I had to come up with some things that were very unlikely). Thus, the vote falls one short. So the murderer president remains in power for the remainder of his term, maybe even runs for reelection, maybe is pardoned by his successor, etc. Now are you telling me that the founders thought this would be OK, that they were just fine with this? Are you telling me that wouldn’t be disruptive?

In any event, we will never know for sure until someone tries. At this point no one seems inclined to do so.

Link to the NY Times article:
https://www.newyorker.com/culture/rabbit-holes/people-are-stacking-too-many-stones?fbclid=IwAR0fkMICX3qfXb9Bl2xMhP5m62zJFMj-LcoDR-HoYzuOKchOP36IlXerRRE

The photograph in the Facebook post is pretty: piles of red rocks balanced at the edge of a cliff, suggesting a miniature mirror of the jagged rock face opposite. The stacks look like small shrines to mountain solitude, carefully balanced at the edge of a precipice. But when Zion National Park posted the photo, in September, the social-media coordinators for the park included a plea: “Please, enjoy the park but leave rocks and all natural objects in place.” The post noted the “curious but destructive practice” of building small stone towers, and said, “stacking up stones is simply vandalism.”

The balancing of stones is an elementary kind of creation, not unlike the building of sand castles. Stone stacks, or cairns, have prehistoric origins. They marked Neolithic burial grounds in what is now Scotland, guided nautical travels in Scandinavia, and served as shrines to the Inca goddess Pachamama in Peru. Contemporary stone-stackers, then, are taking up the mantle of an ancient and artistic tradition. In the past decade or so, though, there has been an explosion of cairns around the world—in national parks, in the Scottish Highlands, on the beaches of Aruba. Park rangers, environmentalists, and hikers have all become alarmed, to varying degrees. The movement of so many stones can cause erosion, damage animal ecosystems, disrupt river flow, and confuse hikers, who depend on sanctioned cairns for navigation in places without clear trails.

The posts found within the #RockStacks and #StoneStacking hashtags on Instagram range from amateurish (a couple of stones against the backdrop of the ocean) to seriously impressive (round stones balanced improbably, or a sharp rock standing on end atop a pebble). It is common for multiple stacks to appear in a single picture; they look like chimneys or gravestones or maybe the ruins of a lost civilization. Inspired by social-media posts, new rock-stackers are taking up the hobby, and the piles of stones are proliferating along with the pictures of them. After all, replication is not only a side effect of social media; it’s part of the point. “Rock stacking is a way of quickly making your mark and having an image of it. People are posting pictures of them on Instagram, saying, ‘I’ve been here and I made this,’ ” John Hourston, the head of a small volunteer-run environmental organization called the Blue Planet Society, said. He first noticed the boom when he visited remote beaches in Orkney, Scotland, and found them littered with rock piles. He said, “It struck me as a real shame, because there are very few places where you can still find solitude and seclusion, and here they were absolutely covered by the footprint of man.”

Hourston and the Blue Planet Society decided to call attention to the ecological impact of stone stacking, wading into a contentious debate. “This is one of the most divisive issues we’ve ever covered,” he said. The stackers are accusing him of making mountains out of pebbles. National parks are caught in the crosshairs of the debate, too. In 2016, a previous post on Zion National Park’s Facebook page about stone stacking got more than twenty-six hundred comments, as people bitterly debated whether small towers of rocks could really be a problem.

It’s easy to see a frustrated stone stacker’s point of view: it’s a meditative and creative activity; the impacts of a single stone stack are probably negligible compared with, say, driving; and it’s a means of spending time outdoors that seems to run counter to the spirit of social media in its emphasis on concentration, slow movements, and communing with the natural world. The calamity of the stone stack, in our anxious times, seems admittedly minor. But it’s a prominent example of how social media can generate scale, transforming an activity that would be mostly harmless in isolation into something with planetary impact. Aesthetic fads can go global now, with strange consequences. “Social media has kind of popularized rock stacking as a meditative activity, and you used to have a handful of people doing it, but it has really escalated over the past few years on public lands,” Wesley Trimble, the program-outreach and communications manager for the American Hiking Society, said.

Stone-stacksStacking is showing no signs of slowing down. In Acadia National Park, volunteers destroyed nearly thirty-five hundred rock stacks, on two mountains alone, in 2016 and 2017. “I would probably equate the rock-stacking phenomenon with the painted-rock phenomenon, in how it’s driven by social media,” Christie Anastasia, the public-affairs specialist at Acadia, said. Painted rocks are a kind of social-media treasure hunt; people leave brightly decorated rocks in parks, with their social-media handles noted on the undersides. The person who finds the rock can then send a message to the person who left it. Acadia park employees have collected hundreds of them during the past year. The painted rocks now sit in a purgatory of bins, while the park staff figures out what to do with them. “We’re still cogitating on it,” Anastasia said. “We thought about throwing them into the ocean, but there might be chemicals in the paint. We’ve thought about throwing them in the fire. We’re still deciding. But they really have no place in a national park.”

What’s to be done about all this rock foolery? Anastasia said that she sends gentle Facebook messages to anyone who leaves an account name painted on a rock. On the Isle of Skye, a group of about twenty local volunteers brought wheelbarrows to a popular rock-stacking spot and spent a Saturday dismantling the stacks and transporting the stones back to where they belong. It’s human vs. human at this point. Meanwhile, there are rocks somewhere else that are being slowly stacked, one by one by one.

trump

#1) Sociopaths are charming. Sociopaths have high charisma and tend to attract a following just because people want to be around them. They have a “glow” about them that attracts people who typically seek guidance or direction. They often appear to be sexy or have a strong sexual attraction. Not all sexy people are sociopaths, obviously, but watch out for over-the-top sexual appetites and weird fetishes.

#2) Sociopaths are more spontaneous and intense than other people. They tend to do bizarre, sometimes erratic things that most regular people wouldn’t do. They are unbound by normal social contracts. Their behavior often seems irrational or extremely risky.

#3) Sociopaths are incapable of feeling shame, guilt or remorse. Their brains simply lack the circuitry to process such emotions. This allows them to betray people, threaten people or harm people without giving it a second thought. They pursue any action that serves their own self interest even if it seriously harms others. This is why you will find many very “successful” sociopaths in high levels of government, in any nation.

#4) Sociopaths invent outrageous lies about their experiences. They wildly exaggerate things to the point of absurdity, but when they describe it to you in a storytelling format, for some reason it sounds believable at the time.

#5) Sociopaths seek to dominate others and “win” at all costs. They hate to lose any argument or fight and will viciously defend their web of lies, even to the point of logical absurdity.

#6) Sociopaths tend to be highly intelligent, but they use their brainpower to deceive others rather than empower them. Their high IQs often makes them dangerous. This is why many of the best-known serial killers who successfully evaded law enforcement were sociopaths.

#7) Sociopaths are incapable of love and are entirely self-serving. They may feign love or compassion in order to get what they want, but they don’t actually FEEL love in the way that you or I do.

#8) Sociopaths speak poetically. They are master wordsmiths, able to deliver a running “stream of consciousness” monologue that is both intriguing and hypnotic. They are expert storytellers.

#9) Sociopaths never apologize. They are never wrong. They never feel guilt. They can never apologize. Even if shown proof that they were wrong, they will refuse to apologize and instead go on the attack.

#10) Sociopaths are delusional and literally believe that what they say becomes truth merely because they say it! Charles Manson, the sociopathic murderer, is famous for saying, “I’ve never killed anyone! I don’t need to kill anyone! I THINK it! I have it HERE! (Pointing to his temple.) I don’t need to live in this physical realm..

I sincerely believe that the Southern District of New York knows the entire scope of Trump’s illegal activities through Mr. Cohen’s exhaustive interviews that I’m sure left no stone unturned. I think they know they are our last possible defense to stabilize and return our country to a properly run and respectful democracy. To stop the fascist movement that the Republican Party is trying to force down our throats in the courts, laws, and in the Senate. I’m sure Mueller knows it as well and has documented as much as he could but I’m surprised at his reticence in wanting making that perfectly clear to the American People. They are not lawyers or constitutional experts and need such explanations. He may be a war hero but in my opinion (and you may all not agree with me at all on this) he does not have a strong character and his patriotism ends at his paperwork and not his actions. He is standing behind “past procedure” to the point of harm to our country. He wants others to do what he was entrusted to do…not a good sign of a leader. So the real heroes are at the SNDY now and I hope they can weather through the onslaught of pure propaganda Trump and Barr will throw at them and nail all of these treasonous bastards and child rapists!

SHATTERED FAITH NET

This book can be ordered at

THE FORWARD BY YVONNE PERRY

The thought processes of some people don‘t always allow for the possibility that the round peg may fit the square hole if the square hole is big enough.

Round peg, square hole? That’s me! My eyes perked up when I read that comment by Nick Oliva, and I knew I was going to enjoy reading the rest of this book.
Nick. Me. Neither of us fit the expected mold and both of us have little use for the practices and dogmatic beliefs imposed upon society by organized religions. All my life, I have butted heads with people who find it difficult to relate with me because I have an alternate viewpoint due to the mystical experiences I’ve had.

Nick chose to remove himself from the abuse of controlling religious leaders. I was “removed” from religion in one fell swoop when the universe (spirit, my soul, God, higher self, or whatever you want to call it) booted me out of the church, its teachings, my marriage, my sense of security, and the belief system that I had tenaciously clung to for forty years. I took what was left of my paranormal ass and went to the corner of my pigeon hole to reevaluate what was working in my life and what wasn’t. There was a lot of garbage to sort through as I examined each piece of black-robed ideology and researched modern Christianity back to its roots.

Nick nailed it when he wrote, “I‘m trying to get people to understand that they are responsible for their actions, not―the Lord.” That’s what I’ve been trying to help people understand for the past ten years. When my life fell apart, I soon discovered that it was up to me—not God, the church, or anyone else—to put it back together. What a difference that discovery has made for me. But, try explaining that to folks who have a rigid indoctrinated view of how life and death should operate.

As one who has had two near-death experiences (NDE) and lived to write a book about them, I was very interested to read what Nick had to say about his own near death experience, which occurred when his heart stopped beating for fourteen seconds as he was literally trying to take a shit. You laughed, I heard you! And, you’ll laugh at the wit, logic, and satire Nick Oliva uses to battle the philosophies of the Atheists and Christians who harshly responded to his posts in an online forum. You may also feel angry when you read the chapter titled “The Real Story of the Christian Bible, or that Black Book You’re Holding Isn’t What You Think It Is.” Seventeen hundred years has made a big difference in the “sacred” text!

I can understand Nick’s hesitancy to write about his near-death experience. Maybe that is why he left it for the last course—like a sweet dessert for this meat-heavy meal.

Death is not something most people want to talk about and yet it is something every one of us will ultimately have to face. I’ve never met any Near Death Experiencer who doesn’t tell me that their experience changed his or her life.

The author’s account of his other-world experience gives us encouragement that our fears about what lies beyond the grave are merely preconceived notions passed from one generation to the next. Those, who like Nick and myself, that have experienced an NDE, may find a metaphysical view of life and death more in line with the laws that are written in their hearts rather than on tablets of stone or in the New Times Roman, black leather, gold-leafed, silky-pages of the King James Version.

I’m glad to have found a friend who is brave enough to write his story and approach the fallacies of religion. I hope this book will open some eyes that have been nailed shut like the coffin they avoid peering into. I know of nothing that is deader than someone who will not allow room to question his or her beliefs. As Nick writes, “To not acknowledge the fact that one could be wrong is to show the greatest ignorance to life itself.” Yet, when it comes to discussing anything spiritual that does involve Jesus Christ, Christianity, or religion, Nick’s reason and logic will probably hit a brick wall—especially when presented to fundamentalists who want to legislate their staunch morals through political leaders.

You may think that I hate those who fill the church pews on Sunday or preach the “not-so-good-news.” I mean, what’s so good about being told that you’re a sinner bound for hell and that you must believe a certain way to avoid damnation? I don’t hate anyone, but I do hate the behavior of some. Like Nick, I can accept anyone who treats others with love and respect. As long as he or she doesn’t try to convert me to his or her way of thinking, it really doesn‘t matter to me what he or she believes or does—as long as he or she does no harm to anyone else in the process.

“If we all could keep our fear, greed, and pride at bay we could accomplish great things in the course of human history.”…Just imagine how the world would change if we took Nick’s words to heart and started practicing them.

Shattered Faith: To Believe or Not To Believe truly is a gift to humanity. If only we would heed the advice this book contains. I invite you to put down your weapon (fear), stop hating those you don‘t understand, and prepare to be tolerant as you delve into this gift.

Yvonne Perry

Author of RIGHT TO RECOVER: Winning the Political and Religious Wars Over Stem Cell Research in America and MORE THAN MEETS THE EYE: True Stories About Death, Dying, and Afterlife

CHEAPTRICKPEPPERS

Cheap Trick performing the Beatles??? Has the world gone mad? Well, only a little. One must realize that Cheap Trick, formed in 1974, built quite a fan base through its own brand of using power-rock chords that emoted a hard-edge but retained enough melodic themes that attracted those on the outer currents of pop rock and punk rock. Their music does combines the tune- worthy formulaic modes of The Beatles but with an energy that speeds up without bowling over into pure ranting and screaming of those in the punk rock genre of that time. The Los Angeles Times has remarked that “Cheap Trick gained fame by twisting the Beatlesque into something shinier, harder, more American.” Your next question is: What were their biggest hits? A few include the songs “Surrender”, “I Want You to Want Me”, and “Dream Police.”

So it was with ardent curiosity when the available ticket brought me to the Hilton Theater, my favorite venue to see them perform Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Heart Club Band. Having seen Paul McCartney in sold-out arenas four times and never hearing anything as elaborate as a 21 piece orchestra, 6 backup vocalists, a children’s choir, mixed with an old rock bank that I’d thought had hit the old folks home by now, I couldn’t imagine how this escapade could be pulled off credibly. Featured guest artists included Grammy-Award winning vocalist Joan Osborne, Rob Laufer, Bill Lloyd, and Ian Ball all of whom performed in the beginning of the show before Cheap Trick entered the stage through a very clever revolving set that housed the entire orchestra 16 feet up in the air and provided three circular stages underneath them to facilitate the quick turnover to the Sgt. Pepper’s portion. As the curtain rose that set was exposed.

The orchestra opened with an absolutely beautiful symphonic medley of “I Want to Hold Your Hand,” “She Loves You,” “Love Me Do,” and “Please, Please Me.” Ms. Osborne then took the stage and deftly sang “Can’t Buy Me Love,” and the timeless “Long and Winding Road.” The orchestra then took over and performed the classic “Eleanor Rigby.” Let me stop here a moment to comment that in the nineties I lived in Puerto Rico and had the chance to see the Puerto Rican Symphony Orchestra perform Holst’s incredible symphony “The Planets.” That alone was a rare treat unto itself. The most marvelous thing of this show was to watch these players moving and thrusting their bodies into such soulful unpretentious mesmerizations of being one with the vibrations that they perfectly emitted from their instruments, that they naturally drew you into their magical mojo as an unintentional byproduct of their emotionalism and love of their craft exactly as those moments I experienced many years ago.

The engineer’s use of effects to recreate Lennon’s experiment of running his voice through a Leslie speaker for “Across the Universe” with the Las Vegas Children’s Choir was as ethereal as the original. It was truly like “a wind inside a letter box.”

And then the transition occurred and here was Cheap Trick with Rick Nielsen and his baseball cap and striped suit prancing, dancing, and irreverently swinging his guitar to the beginning of that classic album. The album that the Beach Boy’s leader Brian Wilson called the “perfect album,” the same one that he tried to compose first and gave up his quest after hearing what he perceived as the Beatles’- no the world’s – ultimate recording.

I then realized that when I read Geoff Emerick’s name on the roster as Sound Direction and Co-Producer that it all made sense. Those orchestra parts were exactly as George Martin, “the fifth Beatle” had written them in 1967. Every nuance, speck, part and parcel of each tiny inflection of this live sound mimicked that album without exception. And by the way, Mr. Emerick was the engineer for Sgt. Pepper’s back in 1967 so there was the connection to the “how” of this event.

The bonus tracks of “Golden Slumbers,” “Carry That Weight,” “The End” and the show “encore,” “All You Need is Love,” brings the Beatles’ genius and the energy and vivaciousness of the current band playing their hearts out into focus after experiencing the beginnings of their musical careers at the top of the show. It was a wise choice than to end with just the Sgt. Pepper’s songs, as the orchestra was already there for that monumental epic, why not go out with a huge bang from their later material? Good call on the producer’s part although I wish someone had sung “Something” that perfect ode to George’s wife Patti Boyd, instead of Bill Lloyd playing lead guitar on the melody, but that is a minor complaint.

And lest I forget a huge part of this ensemble was Magic Christian, the keyboardist who provided all of McCartney’s piano parts and used his synthesizers perfectly to authenticate each track. Todd Youth on bass enthusiastically played every Mac line note-for-note and the conductor affectionately introduced as “Billy Shears” did an outstanding job putting the orchestra though it’s amazing paces this fine evening.

The most amazing part of the show came when George Harrison’s “Within You, Without You” was performed. An authentic Indian ensemble appeared with Gingger Shankar (Her mother was a classical singer, and her father, L. Subramaniam, is a world renowned violinist) playing the double violin, with two sitar players, and bass and treble Tampura instruments exactly capturing this spiritual encompassment of Mr. Harrison’s experience with the music and religious aura of that nation.

The vocals of Rob Laufer were magically suited to every note of the past and this was more than just a band rehashing an old classic. The entire experience, as exacting as it was, evoked new emotional thrills by the live performances of both a rock band and orchestra blending into a dimension of past time that never was. This was a “what if” had the Beatles kept touring and attempted such an endeavor to achieve such lushness of a tracked album by being backed by a full orchestra and vocalists. It was the concert that never was performed by the seemingly most unlikely band using the most unlikely Beatles album. It worked magnificently!

I ran into people who had seen it more than once and honestly I would have gone back for seconds and thirds myself. I mean when the song Sgt. Pepper’s Reprise kicks in that rooster crowing for that split second, the madness of the orchestra of “Day in the Life” swells and then crescendos to its ultimate conclusion, and then that infamous orchestral down stroke to the tonic note, what more does one want out of a concert? It is real and it is hair-raising. I could go on and on about every small detail and the attentiveness paid to each and every one of them, but my suggestion is if you can go see it-GO! This tour will not last forever, like the original band, like any ephemeral burst of pure creativity, the moment passes quickly. Take the time and listen to what could have been, but was only preserved on tape and disc until now. It’s no cheap trick believe me.

Ticket from the Atlantic City Pop Festival August 1969

The following is a comment I received on my blog of the Atlantic City Pop Festival’s 40th Anniversary. Please read it and pass it on to whomever you can, and maybe, just maybe ‘Sev’ will get to look at the pictures that he had taken 40 years ago. It is occurrences like this that make writing this blog all worthwhile. I hope by some small chance we could make this Vietnam Veteran’s wish come true. (Note: I did clean up the letter’s punctuation and language a little bit to make it clearer) Sev writes: I remember this festival well…. I went AWOL from Ft Dix for the three days and I didn’t care because I was getting ready to be shipped to Vietnam. I arrived while Chicago (Transit Authority) was playing and they were so good that I thought they were playing a record to warm people up but it was them live!! I pitched myself a tent and went wandering around. During my stay, I kept walking backstage and no one stopped me (it was a different world back then). My highlights were meeting Janis, Grace Slick, Tracy Nelson, & Frank Zappa. When I met Janis I handed her a button that said “Kiss me I’m Italian” she said, “You’re Italian? I Like Italians.” Her guitarist behind her laughed and said “ahhhh you like everybody.” She laughed and kissed me on the head, under my eye, on my cheek and near my mouth. It is something I will never forget as long as I live!! Frank Zappa was so nice, he looked at me and then my army haircut and said, “Hey you look like me when I was a kid.” I took so many pictures but unfortunately I took them with me to Nam and the day I got there someone broke into my locker and ripped me off… I swear I am telling the truth… : ( If someone is reading this and knows of someone that has them or does remember having them PLEASE post them and send them to me. I would really like to have them back … They were of Me & Janis, Me & Grace, Me & Frank, & a few of other stars including Grace & Janis together. Thanks for reading

Pasquale Severino

Trenton, New jersey

IF ANYONE OUT THERE CAN HELP.. SEND ‘SEV’ HIS PICTURES TO THE FOLLOWING EMAIL ADDRESS             MysteryLyricfest@aol.com

gd1

A 1990’s PHOTO. A MOMENT FROZEN IN TIME

The rain wore on day after day and one could only describe the sky as bleak and bursting with moisture. My hopes of bringing my niece to her first experience at a Dead concert, Grateful but for Jerry Garcia, long gone, was dimmed as to her getting the full experience of the last 45 years that started with the hippie tail-gating parties, that were long established before the football game feasts of John Maddenish times. This night was to be special. The Spectrum, home to such legends as Bobby Clarke and Julius Erving was to be torn down soon, but those fellows in this band had played here every decade since the sixties. This was to be their swan song; two nights of one last goodbye and possibly their last tour together as time takes its toll.

Arriving early while it was still raining, we turned into the lot at the Wachovia Center and by the time we got out of the car it not only stopped raining, the sun began to peek through those dark clouds. It actually came out and it was glorious. The tents were up, the illegal vendors of grilled cheese, hamburgers, chicken, Tye-dyed T-shirts and nitrous oxide were out in full force, along with two completely instrumented rock bands playing in full regalia, hippie buses, modern Prevost million-dollar luxurious cross country rigs, women in their forties hawking illegal beer, wine, and mixed drinks, and purveyors of pipes, paraphernalia, and pot were circulating like pasta on a table for an Italian Sunday meal.

Dominque, the namesake of my father’s eyes opened wide and amazed but I knew this was only the preliminary party. The walk up those old worn concrete Spectrum stairs and the entry into this place brought me back to an age of youth years even younger than hers. The high school nights of The Grateful Dead, The Allman Brothers, Yes, The Who, The Rolling Stones, Emerson, Lake, and Palmer, Pink Floyd, and many, many others for a pittance of $8.50 a ticket came back as if it was yesterday. I have seen the Dead countless times across the country in California, Colorado, New York, Maryland, Washington, and so on and had seen them in this building more times than I can remember. Enough to know where to negotiate a great seat for sight lines, sound, and of course for the lack of much younger crazed high screaming, testosterone-laden Dead-Heads that my old frail body could not fit in the mix or blend easily without serious consequences to my health.

It was the same old game that came back to me. The seats half empty predicted a low turnout, but the bustle around the legitimate indoor lobby’s vendor stands was body to body. The lights came down and the first move began by the band to get them to their seats and of course it worked. There was not a seat to be had. One by one each band member gracefully entered; went through their pre-show preparations and people hustled to their seats or to light up leaves of a weed to tune them in, and in this drug-paranoiac age of hysteria, no one would have expected them to do it, but then how can you arrest 15,000 people? And this was the way it always was, and everyone knew it and didn’t care. Obviously no one was stupid enough to stop them. So billows of smoke not tainted by cigarettes floated upwards along with those consciousnesses that inhaled it. And then it began.

Opening with “Playing in the Band,” morphing halfway to a series of unpredictable incredible renditions of old sixties, seventies and eighties lyrical Robert Hunter/Jerry Garcia songs, and then those of Bob Weir, the dose of the Dead’s sound, the interplay of pure improvisation, free-form jazz, spirit, and energy took over; And they were on that locked-in wave, shooting the tube and taking chances like I’ve never heard or seen before. Every note was on-beat, on-tune, on-pitch and Bob Weir didn’t even miss a lyric, as the crowd didn’t either. Every human body was dancing, singing, swaying, whirling like dervishes dancing to the Eternal on top of the world in Nepal. It was an incredible experience of communication between the band, the fans, the place, the space and all cylinders were firing hot, heavy, and hard. Can you imagine 15,000 people all singing every complex lyric to every song and being able to be in the middle of this human verbal “wave” of emotion? I think not unless you were there feeling it run through you. Hearing the earth and stadium tremble at the cheering of every familiar song, bar, and phrase. These were fans that any band would die for and that allegiance was rewarded in kind by those gentle men that gave, received, and gave back those emotions in an endless circle of time for the essence of music, spirit, and the vibratory movement of life.

My niece was in awe of the entire gestalt. And after three and a half hours of precise and precision musicianship, even Phil Lesh, now 70 years-old, played with the abandon of that of a human at 18. It all began with the Grateful Dead, the Further Bus, the Electric Kool-Aid Acid Tests, 420 Time, the audio man/then legal LSD manufacturer Owlsey Stanley, the counter-culture revolution of the Romantic Age of our time. They were the cause and draw of the lore of the Haight-Ashbury summer of love in 1967, while they snuck out of their house in the Haight before the hordes of a lost generation of seekers invaded and destroyed the very thing they were looking for as a Time magazine cover propelled the impetus even further. Ken Kesey, Neal Cassady, Kerouac, Ginsberg, and the beat generation’s finest minds were here this night, wrapped up into an experience of vulnerability and chance mixed in with the old and familiar. It was life imitating art, imitating life.

The best part was that after it was all over, I had previously paid for the CD recording at a vendor’s stand for an official record of what I just heard, and picked it up shortly after the concert. This would prove I wasn’t just breathing the sweet air and exaggerating and misinterpreting the amazement of what I heard emanating from that old familiar stage. This was one of the top five concerts I had ever heard, without any doubt and many smiles and conversation with others confirmed it, as did the CD afterwards. What an initiation this was for my niece.

To describe this communing with this band is rightly impossible to do, however an old cliché’ came to mind and that is, “There Is Nothing Like A Grateful Dead Concert” and whatever name they’ve morphed to, there never will be. I am honored and truly ‘grateful’ to have been there on a night that the band knew was special as well as acknowledged by Phil Lesh saying, “It’s been a long time, we’ve forgotten how intense you all are here in Philly.”

So did I Phil, so did I.

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5/27/09 by Nick Oliva ©2009 All Rights Reserved (Donner Party of 22)
 
As we the people of this great nation of Estados Unidos have toiled and scuffled with the politics of dancing for so many years, and endured the hopeless expectations that something or someone can show us the way to save our collective asses, I now propose with the help of my invisible friend, Babs, a proper solution.
 
The political parties of today are outmoded and archaic and I for one wish to propose a new party based on simple principles: The Far-Out Party
 
Now, membership in this party is free and expectations few. One does not have to be left, nor right and not centrist; but just Far-Out. Far-Out is beyond the boundaries of the selective few, a people’s movement of back to basics, because if you are Far-Out, then you’re not only on your way to being cool, but you’re already there, and really, would you rather be anywhere else? And who could ask for anymore then to be that Far-Out? What else could be better than to be completely Far-Out, because not only is that totally where it’s at if you’re really looking for it, but Far-Out is as Far-Out as one can get!
 
No need to be alienated by those Looney Lefties anymore, because you are just sooo Far-Out they can’t get to you.  No more Right Ring-a-Round the Collar Ridiculousness with those who watch Frost/Nixon over and over because they actually think he was totally innocent and an outstanding and great President. …And those nasty clinging Clintonian Centrists? Consider them carbuncles of constitutional constipation because you are now just Far-Out, in a great space with your own groove on and when you really get that Far-Out, can anyone really hurt you?  I’m mean; if you’re Far-Off you could fall off the end of the earth or even worse – be ex-communicated if you didn’t think you could fall off the side at the end of the ocean at least at one time. Those were the Dark ‘Far-Off’ Days of Yore, when Monks toiled to preserve remnants and wall-to-wall scrolls of the ancient past, and did so with great fervor and poetic license.
 
If you’re Far-In then you don’t have the room for a view, so you can’t order anything expressly but a Starbucks latte.
 
With the new Far-Out party, you don’t even have to bring the Iced tea to Boston Harbor; you don’t have to whistle Dixie or Trixie; Fort Henry, Sumter, or Dodge-Dix for that matter. You’re a Far-Out member for life, after all – you can’t get back to where you started when you’re really that Far-Out, and you certainly don’t need to get any higher in food chain of life, you’re already Out There – Far-Out There.
 
And now the two rules of the Far-Out Party:
Do unto me as you would to yourself (please!).
Don’t squeeze the Charmin.
 
Other than that, it’s all totally Far-Out from here on in. No frontier riding, pioneer arrow-laden, pissant urine-smelling ground crawlers with golden spurs can tell you what to do, where to do it, who to do it with, or why you’re doing it, because you are very much in the here and now….You are indeed now Far-Out …and have left the building. Thank you…thank you very much and I’ll be signing autographs in the lobby for twenty bucks a pop (and that’s Far-Out).