The Breakfast Club (Pop Music)

Welcome to The Breakfast Club! We're a disorganized group of rebel lefties who hang out and chat if and when we're not too hungover  we've been bailed out we're not too exhausted from last night's (CENSORED) the caffeine kicks in. Join us every weekday morning at 9am (ET) and weekend morning at 10:30am (ET) to talk about current news and our boring lives and to make fun of LaEscapee! If we are ever running late, it's PhilJD's fault.

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Breakfast Tune: Mack The Knife by Roger Sprung on 1963-64 Folkways LP.




Today in History


The Chernobyl nuclear accident; John Wilkes Booth, President Lincoln's assassin, killed; Guernica bombed in the Spanish Civil War; Vermont enacts same-sex civil unions; TV star Lucille Ball dies. (April 26) 


Breakfast News & Blogs Below




The morning after

The Interview last night was...not a disaster. There was some doubt about that running up to the occasion.

But Bruce did okay, for the most part. I mean, I could have written some of the words she used. In fact, I did write some of them, as you could find in my autobiographical pieces I shared over the first ten weeks of this year.

I'm not claiming that Jenner used my writings inappropriately...or even that she read them. It is the case that many of us transgender people analyze the experience and progression of our lives in similar ways, so it is not surprising that we might use some of the same words.



The Breakfast Club (Tales of Brave Ulysses)



Since we were just talking about Homer, his other great work was The Odyssey which was considered by most to be as fictional as The Illiad until Schliemann discovered what he thought was Troy (and was, just not on the level he
identified).  It is certainly peopled with exotic locales and fantasical
monsters which may or may not correspond to actual geography and now
extinct creatures (yes on the first, no on the second for me).

breakfast beers photo breakfastbeers.jpgOne
thing that is hard in this day of 100 hour wars, instant communication,
and rapid transit to wrap your mind around is that someone could go off
and fight a 10 year war and take 10 years to get home.  To be fair,
Troy was a seige with individual challenges and small unit skirmishes
until Odysseus figured out a way to breach the walls.  We've spent spent
how long in Afghanistan now?  And the Hundred Years War lasted, well, a hundred years more or less (this is not a trick question).

During his return Odysseus only spent 3 years wandering around
(many sea voyages in the Age of Sail lasted as long or longer) and then
another 7 as a captive of Calypso.  I've met people who were locked up
longer than that.

Anyway, the central tale of The Odyssey (after eliminating
all the crypto-zoology and magic) is the return of Odysseus in disguise
to find his wife besieged by many moochers and people looking to steal
his stuff who he then proceeds to kill in a bloodbath of epic

Remind me.  What are the Rules of Opera?

The 3 rules of Opera.

  1. It must be long, boring, and in an incomprehesible foreign language (even if that language is English).
  2. The characters, especially the main ones, must be thoroughly unsympathetic and their activities horrid and callous.
  3. Everyone must die, hopefully in an ironic and gruesome way.

Ballet is the same, but with more men in tights and without the superfluous singing.

Why, this is perfect!  As for the wacky excuses?  Well, what would you tell your significant other after 10 years, 7 of them spent shacking up with
someone else, standing covered in gore in the living room among heaps of
dead bodies?

Honey, I'm home?

Montaverdi is considered one of the revolutionaries of Baroque music.  His L'Ofeo is just about the earliest recognizable Opera still regularly
performed.  It was written in 1607 as near as we can tell when he was
about 40.  Il ritorno d'Ulisse in patria was written in 1640, 3 years before his death at the age of 76 and with L'incoronazione di Poppea (1642) is considered one of his 3 greatest works.

What distinguished Monteverdi from many other Opera composers of
his generation was the lack of moral judgement (a hold over from the
sacred music that was the money machine of the time) and humanity of his
characters, something I think is captured by this contemporary
performance in casual dress with period instruments and orchestration.



It little profits that an idle king, by this still
hearth, among these barren crags, matched with an aged wife, I mete and
dole unequal laws unto a savage race, that hoard and sleep, and feed,
and know not me.

I cannot rest from travel: I will drink Life to the lees!

All times I have enjoyed greatly, have suffered greatly, both
with those that loved me, and alone on shore, and when through scudding
drifts the rainy Hyades vext the dim sea-  I am become a name for always
roaming with a hungry heart.

Much have I seen and known.  Cities of men and manners, climates,
councils, governments.  Myself not least, but honored of them all.

And drunk delight of battle with my peers far on the ringing plains of windy Troy.

I am a part of all that I have met; yet all experience is an arch
wherethrough gleams that untravelled world, whose margin fades for ever
and for ever when I move.

How dull it is to pause, to make an end, to rust unburnished, not to shine in use!  As though to breathe were life.

Life piled on life were all too little, and of one to me scant
remains, but every hour is saved from that eternal silence something
more, a bringer of new things.

And vile it were for some three suns to store and hoard myself
and this gray spirit yearning in desire to follow knowledge like a
sinking star beyond the utmost bounds of human thought.

This is my son, mine own Telemachus to whom I leave the sceptre
and the isle, well-loved of me, discerning to fulfill this labour, by
slow prudence to make mild a rugged people, and through soft degrees
subdue them to the useful and the good.  Most blameless is he, centred
in the sphere of common duties, decent not to fail in offices of
tenderness, and pay meet adoration to my household gods when I am gone.
 He works his work, I mine.


There lies the port, the vessel puffs her sail.

There gloom the dark broad seas.

My mariners, souls that have toiled and wrought, and thought with
me; that ever with a frolic welcome took the thunder and the sunshine,
and opposed free hearts, free foreheads...

You and I are old.

Old age hath yet his honour and his toil.

Death closes all- but something ere the end, some work of noble note, may yet be done, not unbecoming men that strove with Gods.

The lights begin to twinkle from the rocks.  The long day wanes.  The slow moon climbs.  The deep moans round with many voices.

Come, my friends!  'Tis not too late to seek a newer world, push
off, and sitting well in order smite the sounding furrows; for my
purpose holds!  To sail beyond the sunset, and the baths of all the
western stars, until I die.

It may be that the gulfs will wash us down.  It may be that we
shall touch the Happy Isles, and see the great Achilles, whom we knew.

Though much is taken, much abides, and though we are not now that
strength which in old days moved heaven and earth; that which we are,
we are-

One equal temper of heroic hearts, made weak by time and fate,
but strong in will to strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.

Ulysses, Tennyson

Obligatories, News and Blogs below.




That Transjenner moment

(Re: the title

I swear, I couldn't help myself. We all know someone was going to use it. I just thought I'd avoid the rush.

It's a play on the CNN story from yesterday, America's transgender moment.)

The LA Times put the following byte under their lead photo:

Bruce Jenner's interview with Diane Sawyer will be so widely watched Friday night it could prove a tipping point, further normalizing Americans' perceptions of the nation's transgender population.

Or, you know, not. It could also be a huge disaster for us public-relations-wise.

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The Breakfast Club (TGIF)

Welcome to The Breakfast Club! We're a disorganized group of rebel lefties who hang out and chat if and when we're not too hungover  we've been bailed out we're not too exhausted from last night's (CENSORED) the caffeine kicks in. Join us every weekday morning at 9am (ET) and
weekend morning at 10:30am (ET) to talk about current news and our
boring lives and to make fun of LaEscapee! If we are ever running late,
it's PhilJD's fault.
 photo 807561379_e6771a7c8e_zps7668d00e.jpg

This Day in History








Eight US servicemen killed in Iran; Easter Rising
begins in Ireland; Ottoman empire begins mass deportation of Armenians;
Leftist students hold weeklong occupation at Columbia University;
Barbara Streisand born.

Breakfast Tunes








Something to Think about over Coffee Prozac


A democracy is a volcano which conceals the fiery
materials of its own destruction. These will produce an eruption and
carry desolation in their way.

Fisher Ames




The Breakfast Club (Clio)

breakfast beers photo breakfastbeers.jpgDo
you know why the muse of history plays a lyre?  Well it's because in
the western classic tradition the earliest recorded history is the Iliad.
 It's an epic poem, sung rather than spoken, legendarily written by
Homer between 760 - 710 BCE though it's far more likely that it was
assembled out of much older pieces. 

It recounts events of the Trojan War which was generally considered by the Greeks to have occurred sometime
between the 14th and 12th century BCE.  Modern Historians associate it
with Troy VIIa which was destroyed by fire sometime around the 1180s

Before the development of writing, songs and poems were the best
way of preserving the accuracy of oral traditions because they are
easier to memorize than prose and errors are recognizable through a
failure of rhyme or meter.  Even after written language a sense of
history, the concept that there is a continuous sequence of cause and
effect and not a random collection of happenings mediated by the random
actions of gods and fortune, can be slow to emerge.

The "father" of history as is commonly taught today (at least in U.S. primary and secondary schools) is Herodotus who in the 5th century BCE wrote The Histories, an account of the Greco-Persian Wars that occurred in the early to mid part of the century.

Thucydides is often labeled the first "scientific" historian and his great work the History of the Peloponnesian War which recounts events of the late 5th century BCE conflict between
Athens and Sparta in which he probably participated or had access to
first hand accounts.  Xenophon,
another early historian, was considered his successor and wrote about
the last stages of the war as well as his own experiences as a mercenary
in Persia.  He was a contemporary of Socrates, Plato, and Aristophanes.

Of course the century long slice of time recorded by these
authors 2600 years ago really represents the parochial views of a single
state, Athens, and as we know today time is much longer than that, even
recorded time.  Egypt, Minos, the Fertile Crescent, the Indus Valley,
and China among others had vast organized civilizations with their own
written language and histories predating the earliest Hellenic efforts
by thousands of years.

Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.- George Santayana, The Life of Reason

All great historical facts and personages occur, as
it were, twice ... the first time as tragedy, the second time as farce.-
Karl Marx, The 18th Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte

History doesn't repeat itself, but it does rhyme.― Mark Twain

The great fascination of history is that it's really a study of human
nature.  Because of our underlying psychology and methods of social
organization, tantalizing patterns tend to emerge, different in detail
but often with the same result.  What I think is important to remember
in it's study is that the people were no dumber or inherently primitive
than you or I.  The thought experiment I frequently propose is the

The mechanics of recording and playing back analog sound are not
particularly difficult.  You need a diaphragm and a stylus (one unit), a
recording medium and a method for moving the recording medium at a
constant rate relative to the stylus/diaphragm (another unit).  When
recording the diaphragm vibrates with the air pressure generated by the
sound and the stylus creates an image of those patterns in the recording
medium.  When playing back the stylus follows the pattern recorded in
the medium and generates vibrations in the diaphragm which moves the air
in a duplicate of the original event.  Now there are some minor details
such as amplification but there is no inherent advantage to wax on a
cranked cylinder as opposed to clay on a well regulated potter's wheel.

Where then is the Voice of the Pharohs?

It may in fact exist.  Certain pots with strange spiraling
"decorations" do suggest the surface of a record, the problem may be
that we have lost the knowledge we need to play them back.  Do you think
you could recognize spoken Sumerian if you heard it?  Me either.

And gaps like this are more the rule than the exception.  We can't fix the Iowa because the tools needed to do it have long since been sold for scrap
and most of the craftsmen are dead.  Until the recent revival of vinyl
the future of musical recording seemed to be fast deteriorating magnetic
films in a variety of incompatible formats or optical dots in a whole
different panoply of incompatible formats.

Anyway, many of today's featured stories have to do with history
about which it must always be remembered that it is written by the

History will be kind to me for I intend to write it.― Winston S. Churchill

Science and Technology News and Blogs

The law that entropy always increases holds, I think,
the supreme position among the laws of Nature. If someone points out to
you that your pet theory of the universe is in disagreement with
Maxwell's equations - then so much the worse for Maxwell's equations. If
it is found to be contradicted by observation - well, these
experimentalists do bungle things sometimes. But if your theory is found
to be against the second law of thermodynamics I can give you no hope;
there is nothing for it but to collapse in deepest humiliation.

-Sir Arthur Stanley Eddington, The Nature of the Physical World (1927)

Science Oriented Video



Obligatories, News and Blogs below.




Survey Says: Visibility Matters

 photo VisibilityMatters_blog263_2_zpsd4w0hmxm.pngThe Human Rights Campaign (HRC) commissioned Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research to survey likely voters about their knowledge of and attitude toward transgender people.

In 2013 the Public Religion Research Institute reported that 9% of Americans reported having a close friend or family member who was transgender. Last year, an HRC survey revealed that 17% of respondents either personally knew or worked with someone who was transgender. This year that latter number is up 5 points to 22%.

What’s important is that the number of Americans who know someone who is transgender is growing rapidly. And what’s equally important, those who do know a transgender person are much more likely to have a positive impression of transgender Americans. This is consistent with our survey research on marriage equality and other LGBT issues, which has consistently found that it is important for LGBT people to share their personal stories. We asked if likely voters “personally know or work with someone who is transgender.” For those who responded to our survey saying they “personally know or work with someone who is transgender,” their favorability for “transgender people” is 66 percent, with 13 percent unfavorable. That’s a favorability a net of +53 percentage points. Compare that to those who said they “do not” personally know or work with a transgender person. The rating for those who don’t is 37 favorable, 30 unfavorable, a net of only +7. (The margin of error for this survey subgroup is 6.67 percent).



The Breakfast Club (Earth Day)

Welcome to The Breakfast Club! We're a disorganized group of rebel lefties who hang out and chat if and when we're not too hungover  we've been bailed out we're not too exhausted from last night's (CENSORED) the caffeine kicks in. Join us every weekday morning at 9am (ET) and
weekend morning at 10:30am (ET) to talk about current news and our
boring lives and to make fun of LaEscapee! If we are ever running late,
it's PhilJD's fault.
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This Day in History












Richard Nixon dies, Elian Gonzalez seized by federal agents, Oklahoma land rush begins.






Zombie Lies - Environmental Edition

ou know what, why am I getting excited and bothering?
This was never about facts to begin with. But what is new, is that it's
not even about pandering to voters any more. Even half of Republicans
now want this issue dealt with.

Well good luck, because the zombie lies aren't for the voters.
They're for the donors who make their money killing the planet. The
question is not why today's politicians suck more than ever. It's who
they're sucking more than ever.

The Koch brothers are in the oil business and they're pledging
almost a billion dollars in this election. For that kind of money, Cruz
and Bush and the rest of them will say anything. It's what their fellow
prostitutes in the sex industry call the girlfriend experience.

Breakfast Tunes












Something to Think about over Coffee Prozac


As crude a weapon as the cave man's club, the
chemical barrage has been hurled against the fabric of life-a fabric on
the one hand delicate and destructible, on the other miraculously tough
and resilient, and capable of striking back in unexpected ways.

Rachel Carson, The Silent Spring.





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