All week, many many people were asking if they could impact ratings for the inauguration by not watching. The short answer is sorry,  but no.

Anti-Trump Facebook friends began circulating a call-to-action to boycott the inauguration on TV by turning to another channel today (January 20). They thought they had found an effective way to force the TV ratings for the inauguration to plummet. This would have been a huge blow to Donald Trump’s fragile ego. He is obsessed with ratings.

In theory, it’s a great idea but it wouldn’t have worked unless you are a member of the Neilsen family. Neilsen pretty much has a monopoly on ratings gathering. The company has been around since the 1950s. But with the debut of DVRs and later, Internet streaming, they have re-invented themselves and their information-gathering techniques many times. This from Neilsen via  

“…. Nielsen’s U.S. TV families represent a cross-section of representative homes throughout the country. We measure viewing using our national and local people meters…and we have TV set meters in many local markets. We collect more than two million paper diaries from audiences across the country each year during “sweeps” — specific periods during the months of February, May, July and November. To measure video content viewed on mobile devices, we have expanded our panels to incorporate census-style data from third parties in order to capture the breadth and depth of consumer usage.”

Short story: Neilsen is watching you watch, but it’s a relatively small sampling. Still, it is the respected measuring device of TV-land. In fact it is probably the only such operation. Arbitron used to be in the game but Neilsen inched them out long ago. Personally, I suspect any TV coming off the assembly line in the past two years has been equipped with a non-disclosed chip that is the building block for future shock. It’s the “We see everything you see” mentality “and you have no clue.”

Bill Scher in New Republic, January 11, 2017 reminds us that the protests, marches, petitions, phone calls are “..fine ways to participate in our democracy” but adds there is one other tactic that is guaranteed to rattle Donald Trump the most with the least amount of effort: Don’t watch him. “

The problem is unless you have a Neilsen box or turn in a Neilsen diary, you weren’t counted. Just do a straw poll to see who watched or did not. Start with me. And my family. Just on general principle and private boycott, we watched ESPN.


BTW, a good read on why Neilsen ratings really don’t mean much anyway, click on

Appreciate your subscriptions and comments. Hold on. It’s going to be a bumpy ride.



The Original Narcissus and How He Got That Way


Donald Trump F-you look

OK, so we’ve (almost) all figured out that the U.S. semi-president-elect (at this point, we’re not sure about his status) has NPD or Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Pity him for his mental disorder, but don’t be fooled. You probably don’t need to worry so much about him as you should about the people he’s appointing. Sadly, the entire cabinet so far, looks like a DT clone, although some appointees may be narcissistic without having full-blown NPD. There is a subtle difference.

Echo and Narcissus by John William Waterhouse
Echo and Narcissus by
John William Waterhouse

How much do we know about the original Narcissus who has made his way into post-Greek mythology literature and whose name is nearly synonymous with the president-elect. Most of us only know he’s the Greek mythological hunk who fell in love with his own reflection. But, as usual, that’s not the whole story.

Here’s the short and most widely accepted background on the mythological Narcissus. He was the son of the river god Cephissus and nymph Liriope. He was predicted to live a long life as long as he never saw his own reflection.

Well, you know the temperament of those Greek gods. You just can’t upset them or they start wielding swords of wrath. The Greek God of Revenge, Nemesis attracted Narcissus to a pool, where he–Narcissus– saw his own reflection in the water and fell in love with himself. Apparently Narcissus wasn’t very bright or had never seen a pool of clear water before since he didn’t realize he was staring at himself. But he just couldn’t break away from the beauty of his reflection and eventually lost his will to live. He stared at his reflection until he died. Legend has it that the flower we know as the narcissus or daffodil appeared in the area where he died.

There are a few other versions of the story explaining why Nemesis punished Narcissus and alternate explanations for Narcissus’ death. There’s an even more complex love triangle involving the nymph, Echo who was hopelessly in love with Narcissus. He basically told Echo to get out of his life but the Goddess Hera had a beef with Echo as well, so she really didn’t have a chance with Hera and Nemesis on her case for different infractions.


So we know that Narcissus is the origin of the term narcissism, a fixation with oneself and one’s physical appearance even though Narcissus was kind of tricked into looking at himself. Here’s the thing: you can be a narcissist and not necessarily have Narcissistic Personality Disorder.

“Narcissistic personality disorder is a mental disorder in which people have an inflated sense of their own importance, a deep need for admiration and a lack of empathy for others. But behind this mask of ultra-confidence lies a fragile self-esteem that’s vulnerable to the slightest criticism.” -Mayo Clinic

The Mayo Clinic article explains if you have NPD, “… you may come across as conceited, boastful or pretentious. You often monopolize conversations. You may belittle or look down on people you perceive as inferior. You may feel a sense of entitlement — and when you don’t receive special treatment, you may become impatient or angry. You may insist on having “the best” of everything — for instance, the best car, athletic club or medical care [for yourself].”

Does this remind you of anyone?

“At the same time, you have trouble handling anything that may be perceived as criticism. You may have secret feelings of insecurity, shame, vulnerability and humiliation. To feel better, you may react with rage or contempt and try to belittle the other person to make yourself appear superior…”  [or tweet your contempt in all CAPS at 3 AM].”

Psychology Today says that narcissism is not as severe as NPD. “People who are narcissistic may be described as cocky, self-centered, manipulative, vain, demanding and feel they deserve special treatment.” (They love mirrors) But certain other “markers” for full blown NPD may not characterize the “normal” narcissist.

Come’on, you know who they are—the neighbor who monopolizes your time with his newest idea when you’ve been trying to leave for the past half hour[and you’re on crutches from recent surgery]; your boss who belittles you in front of your peers; your colleague who throws you under the bus, taking credit for your idea; the guy who won’t let you get a word in the phone conversation (although they may just be hard of hearing); the person who uses the word “I” excessively and seldom uses “you” in an empathetic manner; the professional interrupter, and yes, the people who seem to be constantly primping and looking at themselves. In this age, a person’s level of narcissism is probably being measured by the number of selfies she or he takes per day.

More than a few writers and psychologists have referenced narcissism for centuries. Havelock Ellis, a sexologist wrote in the late 1890s that “narcissus-like” behavior was related to excessive masturbation. OK, TMI. BTW, Ellis was known for aligning his writings with open discussion of sex education and pro-women’s rights. Sigmund Freud (of course) and Otto Rank also used the term in association with sexual perversion.

Gloria Swanson as Norma Desmond in Sunset Boulevard
Gloria Swanson as Norma Desmond in Sunset Boulevard


A handful of movies and TV shows also include the term. Examples: the Disney film Hercules; the 2011 film Seeing Heaven (where Narcissus is depicted in a painting); and the 1979 film Alien. Ah ha, missed that one? It’s the name of the escape hatch that Sigourney Weaver (Ripley) takes to get back to earth. Well, after all, it’s all about her or we wouldn’t have had a sequel or tri-quel.

T.S. Elliott summed it up nicely.

“Half the harm that is done in this world is due to people who want to feel important. They don’t mean to do harm but the harm they cause does not interest them. Or they do not see it, or they justify it because they are absorbed in an endless struggle to think well of themselves.”

And at age 60, maybe 70, they still blame their mother.

Read more about the symptoms and possibly tragic results of NPD at

See more at and at, courtesy of Wikipedia.

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You were so sure about this election, right? So was I. Now the people I meet–liberals and conservatives–tell me they are fearful. It’s a little too late for that. Time to get to work so this won’t happen again.

I handle social media for other people so I don’t have a lot of time to log on to my own feeds and timelines. Occasionally, I post @thinknicetwice on #Twitter where I try to promote civil and random acts of kindness and thank those who are trying to make things better. Something as simple as “Thanks for voting” or “What can we do about our archaic system?” or “How do we change or eliminate the Electoral College?

But here’s the thing: the recent election has spawned a river of hate that is becoming an alarming sea of loathsome hostility. Are we going to accept this malicious disease and do nothing?

A sample of what I call passive activism:

Actress/comedian Sarah Silverman requested in a recent tweet, “Call 202-255-5074 and say “I’m (name) and I am calling for a bi-partisan review of Trump’s financials and conflicts of interest. Good day!”

Then hang up. That’s it.  You probably feel that you should do something but as Hamlet expressed regarding the gnawing choices he faced, “Thus conscience doth make cowards of us all.”  Don’t be a coward. Be like Sarah.

If you consider yourself a decent, reasonable person who wants to voice a civilized opinion without being hateful (I didn’t say you couldn’t swear; just don’t be mean), say it on the social media platform of your choice.

I respectfully ask that you not follow @thinknicetwice just to build your followers’ list. I’m looking for basically good people who want to be and stay informed, and get involved!


I’m not seeing much in the way of civility these days. I know you feel me, no matter who you voted for. It’s been like this for a while, but it didn’t hit me hard until November 8, 2016 when my oh-so-confident-claire-voyant-self realized I was dead wrong. Trump was going to get that damned electoral vote!

My apologies for the quality of this graphic. Please visit www.statistic to get a non-blurry view. Only the first four lines are significant at this point. He got 306 electoral votes; she got 232. Rounded out and up, she got 64-million popular votes; he got 62-million. In other words, the PEOPLE voted for her. But the SYSTEM gave him the vote. More on how the electoral college works in another post. I have to figure it out myself first.

This, after I laughed derisively at his lies, his perverse persona, his hair, his surrogates and disgusting choices of potential cabinet members. This, after I too felt he might just have a shot, and encouraged collective thinking to ward off the possibility. This, after all the assurances I gave to friends and family and YOU, my loyal subscribers, that he would never even get close. This, after I asked everyone I knew and could reach, to please vote. I failed you.


Most Widely-RED
Most Widely-RED


I am so, so very sorry. My normally spot-on functioning intuition somehow went awry on this one. I guess I felt that someone of Donald Trump’s character was not what a majority of our country really wanted as the leader of the free world. I had hoped we would handle that by voting responsibly. Part of the problem is that too many of you did not vote at all. To those who did, thank you.

When Trump insisted the election would be rigged, was it the first time he told the truth? Did he know something we didn’t–perhaps that the election would lean in his favor? He seems to be an insecure bully with a Napoleonic complex and a brain that can only process “numbers.”  Everything is rated by numbers, including women, of course. He also seems to have  multiple personalities. I’m not a psychologist but I play one at home as a mom and grandmom. This guy is not very bright but he is shrewd, and a very sneaky double talker, programmed to confuse you with unfinished sentences and intimidating facial expressions that he probably practices in front of a mirror every day. He is dumb like a fox. Just saying.


Please don’t start with the  “Give Trump a chance” crap. First of all, he is still ONLY President-elect. Anything can happen between now and January 20. I am not offering any examples.Use your imagination.  I choose not to incriminate myself with un-civil thoughts.

Second, if indeed he makes it into the White House, we have little  choice but to “give him a chance” UNTIL HE SCREWS UP. In the interim,  activists are organizing to keep us all aware of what can be done with YOUR input. It’s not too late. But if you’re not outraged, then you’re not paying attention. Read and stay informed. I know what he promised  and there are many who listened and bought in. They voted for him and they are probably going to be very disappointed. Things are not going to move fast enough. But by the time it hits them, it may be too late.

Former Breitbart guru, Steve Bannon
Former Breitbart guru, Steve Bannon

In my humble opinion, Trump has already started his own game of “thornes” by naming Steve Bannon as his chief strategist. Bannon may not even be able to pass the background check for that post considering his affiliation with American white nationalists. Oh, and he was also charged with choking his wife.

You can read more at  where I found this excerpt:

Bannon also once described himself as a “Leninist” who wanted to “destroy the state… bring everything crashing down, and destroy all of today’s establishment” in order to reach tea party populist goals.


Normally I just ask you nicely to comment when you subscribe. But this time, I am begging for your commentary. Are you really gonna sit on this?  Are you saying ” it is what it is?” Have you been paying attention to the racists, bigots and haters that Trump is appointing to his cabinet? I don’t think people realize we’re are firmly in place for a revolution. I don’t think today’s millennials or anyone who didn’t live through the 50s and 60s has a clue as to what we might expect.

What happened then, is being repeated. Those were the seeds that sowed  “this.” But it’s not too late to get involved.

Click here for more info on the Women’s March on DC the day after the inauguration. Men are absolutely invited and encouraged to join in.

Please stop complaining, whining, sighing, shaking your head in despair, and leaving the hard work to concerned citizens. Otherwise, there is a possibility that you may not be a citizen for very long. I’m not trying to scare you. Trump already did that. I’m trying to smack you into reality. Get informed. Stop reading garbage and get factual information by verifying it in at least three different, reputable and competing sources. Find out as much as you can before 2020. You are actually more resourceful, smarter and more motivated than your leader-elect. Show him your version of “Make America Great Again.”  It’s already great.  Let’s Make America Even Better.  And as a wise man from the South once told me, “If the s%#t don’t stink, don’t stir it.”

BTW, FU! stands for “Follow Up!”

Peace IN!



Holiday gifts from your cable company ?

Playwright George Bernard Shaw ordered his epitaph to read “I knew if I stuck around long enough, something like this would happen.”  Exactly, but the “something” in this case, is the price of cable TV.

The reality is most of America is addicted to television programming. There’s something for everyone out there and the big guns like Comcast and Direct TV, and maybe Time Warner, as disastrous as that deal might be, know they’ve got you. You’ll give up something–anything before you relinquish that remote. But now you’re starting to realize you’re paying a lot more for it than you did ten years ago.  Would you like to pay even more? You may not have a choice.

"Go to the light, Carol Ann. No, wait.."
“Go to the light, Carol Ann. No, wait..”

Cable, satellite companies (DISH, DIRECT TV) and Internet providers are taking steps to make up for trickling revenue in the face of streaming competition from Smart TVs, Hulu, Netflix, HBO, Apple TV and Sling Box that will eventually cause big red numbers on the balance sheets.

As more of us start cutting the cable cords, it’s likely our internet services bill or bundle will increase, most likely in some stealth manner. Dare you to try getting an explanation from your Internet provider, which in many cases, is also your cable company.

The cord cutters are on the rise. According to Variety Magazine, the total residential video revenue for American cable operators “is projected to fall from $57.7 billion in 2016 to $55.0 billion annually in 2026” as more cable users turn into cord cutters. It doesn’t sound too bad on paper over a decade (about .5 of a percent a year) but you know corporate lives for a hefty bottom line, not a dwindling one.

No need to feel sorry for them. SNL Kagan Research predicts a 13% rise in broadband subs for these same cable companies so they’ll also take in “$11 billion in additional cash from residential broadband over the same time frame.” On their end, broadband operating costs are far more profitable than TV.


Like Albert Finney’s character in the movie Network, I am mad as Hell! And I’m not going to take this anymore!” And neither should you.

BTW, you can watch Finney’s full rant, a classic monologue that is still relevant today  (from 1970) on YouTube at

These days, I rely more on Twitter than TV for news. At least the #Twitter platform gives you various viewpoints and sufficient information without having to watch a flock of alleged experts yelling over each other, speculating about what could or could not happen. They know no more than we do. It’s all guesswork.

Speaking of guesswork, that’s where I am right now with this latest communique from Comcast.–our Internet provider under the name XFINITY.

cmd-blog-comcast-2016-10-08-at-10-22-12-amcmd-blog-terabyte-2016-10-08-at-10-22-37-amSo let’s break this language down.

“Effective November 1, 2016, your XFINITY Internet service will include one terabyte (that’s 1,024 GB) of data usage per month.”

“With a terabyte of data you can stream between 600 and 700 hours of HD video, play more than 12,000 hours of online games, or download 60,000 high-res photos in a month.”

What does “will include” mean in context? Is it automatically included, whether you want /need it or not? If you don’t use a terabyte, does your bill remain the same? Or is it included, and you have no choice but to use it or lose it? Most important, how much would you expect to pay for all this? This could use some “claireification.”

I tried reaching Comcast four times by phone, twice on-line. Forget phone contact. Their automated voice has limited communication skills and zero listening aptitude.

cmd-blog-comcast-2016-10-08-at-10-23-58-amWait, there’s more. This portion of the notice reads: “For the past three months, your average data usage was only 183 GB. Based on your usage history, you can still stream, surf, game, download and do whatever you want to do online, worry free.”

But I am not worry-free because the message isn’t clear. “I can….” but at what price? More than I was paying before? How much more? Hard numbers are not explained in this letter. Does that mean everything remains the same for me since my data usage is so low? Am I going to get a full terabyte whether I want or need it or not? If I go to the FAQ section under the link provided, it appears the answer is yes. You just have to check from time to time on your usage, and/or XFINITY will send you a courtesy e-mail.

Here’s my big issue with all of this. The provider changes its terms and the consumer has to do all the work to make sure the provider is not ripping you off. Also, the FCC allows cable providers to charge you a month in advance. Naturally, the service you receive that month has glitches and fall-outs; programs don’t record or they record the wrong program. Where are my $$ adjustments for the programs I’m paying for and can’t get? Just use On Demand, they tell you. Sure, great. Except I can get Episodes 3, 4, and 5 but not the Pilot or Episode 2.

Case in point: we have Direct TV as a “cable”/satellite provider for TV. The bill is outrageous but we’re stuck with the contract until Spring, 2017. As you may know, some time ago Direct TV became part of the AT&T “family.” Their Internet service is U-Verse.

In July, 2016, we were fed up with Xfinity Internet (poor connectivity and slow or not available) , so we made an inquiry with AT&T about U-Verse. They talked us into a less expensive package. We made an appointment.  But their installation guy never showed up so we called to cancel. AT&T set up a U-Verse account anyway, and started billing us for both Direct TV and U-verse. So we started getting double-billed for Direct TV (we already had a bill from them) AND we were being billed for U-verse which we never got. Whaaa!

We spent more than six hours on the phone with at least a dozen different representatives (not counting hold times) and no one could give us a decent explanation. One of the reps ended his call, saying “I don’t know what to tell you. If I tried to explain it to you, you wouldn’t understand. It will just all come out in the wash” and hung up.

On the first round of calls, we were assured they would delete the U-verse account and make necessary adjustments. Then two weeks later, we got the same bill—only higher—because we did not pay the U-verse bill from the previous month, primarily because we don’t like paying for service we don’t have or have already paid for.

Two weeks ago, we spent another two hours on the phone with a series of disconnected people who obviously have no info from the previous rep who made the transfer. By now, U-Verse had sent us to a collection agency that was calling every morning at 7:45 (which BTW is illegal; 8:00 is the official start time to begin the dunning)

So, back to the same process all over again. Four transfers and five redundant stories later, we finally got a rep named Liz. (They never use their real names and you’ll never get a last name: security issues) It took two and a half hours but she finally resolved the issue. Tweet pic for Liz at AT&T

Whoever Liz is, she deserves a medal for courtesy, patience, persistence and resourcefulness. For now, at least, she gets props on my Twitter feed.

The problem is there are very few people like Liz in the customer service realm and few consumers have enough time to spend two-plus hours on hold.

It’s all a legitimate racket. The air waves used to be free. You wanted more than three stations; you pay. It’s 2016 and by 2026, your rates will be off the hook.  I encourage you not to wait until these issues become too politically embroiled to surmount.

Write (don’t bother with a phone call) to the Federal Communications Commission at 445 12th Street SW Washington, DC 20554. And get mad as Hell. “You have to get mad.”

While researching remedies for this debacle, I found this information from the FCC for low income users of the Internet. It’s a press release under this link:

To learn more about the Lifeline program for low-income Americans, visit

But on my end, the link is broken. Why am I not surprised.

As always, your comments are appreciated. Thanks to all who have subscribed. I will eventually get around to thanking you personally. Meanwhile, please follow me on Twitter @morricles. If you don’t have a Twitter account, set one up (it’s easy) and stay in touch. I can even walk you through some basics.


That was then and this is not.

George Washington, our nation's first president
George Washington, our nation’s first president
 Abraham Lincoln, 16th President of the United States.
Abraham Lincoln, 16th President of the United States.

Haters Gonna Hate (HGH)

This article has been updated. It was originally published under the title "Will The Real Worst President Please Stand Up" on 9/17/2014 at

Twitter claims to handle about 6,000 tweets per second, roughly translating to 500 million tweets per day. My Twitter topics and interests are varied and my activity is random, so in hindsight, I wonder how and why a troller (or someone) chose me and my timeline to tweet the hashtag #Obama with the brief phrase “The worst president ever.”

“Just baiting,” I chuckled but then I couldn’t resist the urge to respond. Maybe he could give me some examples. I tweeted back with one word: “Because?”

His answer: “He is a weak president. What has he done?”

I have a pretty good idea when an opinion is going to become a useless blowup so initially, I just shook my head and decided to let it go. I have grown weary of the increasing numbers of HGH (Haters Gonna Hate) and I have priorities in life that preclude toxic and fruitless arguments. Speaking up is important but I choose my battles.

But I couldn’t get his comment off my mind. What was his definition of “weak?” Is it because POTUS refuses to play the role of the angry black man? Was the tweeter trying to use the word “weak” as code for something more racially-charged? Whatever his intention, he and his buddies are still out there, overtly labeling Obama as the “worst president ever” and obviously, certain GOP legislators and candidates agree. Instead of presenting a viable platform for running the country, some of the far right continue to lean on the argument that President Obama is weak. “Seriously?

Barack Obama thumbs upWhat is weak is the choice of the word. When I think of weak presidents, names such as Nixon, Dubya, and a few DINOs stand out. For claireification purposes, I also equate weak with cowardly, flimsy, degenerate, forceless, and fragile. I cannot, nor do I believe most Americans would define our president using any of these adjectives. He is calm and maintains grace under fire, and let’s remember, only a few insiders know what goes on behind those closed doors. This was the president who attended the White House Correspondents Dinner the night before the raid that ended with the death of Osama Bin Laden. There wasn’t a reporter at that event who knew the game was afoot.

For 24+ hours I mulled over the benefits and fallout of further response to this abrupt and designed-to-incite tweet, finally deciding to challenge the poster based on an educated guess that he may not know the history of US presidents beyond, say, JFK or LBJ. Also, a glance at his previous tweets and accompanying grammar were big clues. How could he possibly compare forty-four presidents and determine who was the worst? He had difficulty spelling fifth grade words. Continue reading HOW TO DETERMINE THE CHARACTER OF A PRESIDENT



bestof_gil_scott-heronGil Scott Heron Bluesologist for the ages

It was 1974 in Philadelphia. I was the noon anchor and ABC affiliate’s  unofficial entertainment reporter. A pleasant diversion from the usual assignments like mob stings, SEPTA strikes, fires and murders.

I sat at a table at Just Jazz nightclub with two girlfriends, flanked by the legendary Teddy Pendergrass and some of the club regulars. Just Jazz had booked giants like Dizzy Gilespie, Coltrane, and Billy Ekstine. But the rules could be bent to accommodate popular Philly talent of most genre: The Three Degrees; Melba Moore, Cleavon Little; Patti LaBelle; The Spinners; and the OJ’s. It was cool, hot, and groovy.

Gil Scott-Heron was about to make his Philly debut for the album The Revolution Will Not Be Televised .The song had been released in 1970. It wasn’t new but its message was still salient.

It was not a glorious time for Black and Brown people. Just ten years earlier, (1964) Philadelphia had been the scene of three days of hardcore rioting, looting and burning after an incident in the inner-city of North Philly. The assassinations of John F Kennedy in 1963, Martin Luther King in 1968 and Robert Kennedy in that same year also  weighed heavily on the minds of hopeful people of color and concerned civil rights leaders. Hope was fading.

Fallen Leaders Photo by male voice magazine
Fallen Leaders Photo by male voice magazine

Earlier that day, Gil rehearsed at Just Jazz. He didn’t need much time. A  walk around a nine by 12 foot stage, a look around the back, a sound check and a consult with the setup crew took fifteen minutes. He was a pro. HE was cool, relaxed, appropriately friendly. and kept most of his answers succinct. When he talked about music, his stories flowed as effortlessly as one would expect from a great poet. He was a genuine griot whose words emerged like a custom woven tapestry with meaningful messages in every thread.   But he also knew when to stop and reflect. Sometimes he became subtly Socratic so my questions were often countered with a “What do you think?” or “I’m not sure I would say that. How about you?”

Scott-Heron had been on the scene for a long time but his name began to take root with the recording of Small Talk at 125th and Lenox. He was accompanied by Eddie Knowles and Charlie Saunders on conga and David Barns on percussion and vocals. On that album, he dealt with the shallow tone of television (I think he saw it as a gift and a curse) and the duplicity of some would-be Black revolutionaries, as well as the struggles of inner-city residents to which white middle-class folks turned a blind eye.

In the liner notes, Scott-Heron acknowledged Richie Havens, John Coltrane, Otis Redding, Jose Feliciano, Billie Holiday, Langston Hughes, Malcom X, Huey Newton, Nina Simone and the pianist who would become his long-time collaborator, Brian Jackson.

Brian Jackson Photo by Monique Delatour 2005
Brian Jackson
Photo by Monique Delatour 2005

How ironic that almost four decades later, the situation does not seem to have changed. Scott-Heron’s song compares racial tensions in the US with those in apartheid-era South Africa, implying that the US was not too far ahead in race relations. Today, it seems worse, as if the clock has been turned backward. “Making America Great Again” sounds more like code for Making America White Again.

My cameraman got some outstanding footage, including superb outtakes. The content was provocative to say the least. Gil was outspoken about his drug use, his views on White America, suppression, lost leaders, and sometimes a glimmer of hope, however dim. I should have known then my General Manager was going to object to some of the content but that’s what editing is for. Maybe Scott-Heron was just too deep and intellectual for the news “officials” I had to answer to. He was definitely a complex man whose music was thoughtful satire, a mix of blues and poetry and what some would later refer to as the beginning of hip hop. But Gil considered himself different from all these descriptions and coined his own moniker of “bluesologist.”

This would be a first for the evening news–a young, intelligent and savvy Black man who sported an unconventionally ethnic “look” (his fro was wider and higher than Angela Davis’)  and  spoke out about America’s race problem with songs like “Whitey On The Moon.” The race riots of 1964 received biased publicity, usually below the fold of the newspaper. On television, the footage was looped–the same Black people breaking storefront windows with crowbars and carrying “liberated” items from White-owned stores in shopping carts or on their backs. It was wrong but it was a long time coming.

In 1970s Philadelphia, despite its overtly polite and liberal appearance and aura, racial issues were not dinner table topics. It wasn’t, shall we say, polite conversation. I was taught that everyone was a human being. The color of a person’s skin was not significant. Whether my parents did me a service or disservice in that regard is a subject for another blog.

I sat down with Gil to get his perspective on those trying times and how he expressed it on his album, Pieces of A Man.

You knew right away he was angry but it was a cool defiance, laced with sardonic smiles and shakes of his head as if to say “Don’t ask me to understand it for you. I just write and sing what it is to me.” His face was filled with angelic calm but his eyes spoke of irreversible resentment and rage. Malcom X had been assassinated in 1965 and Gil was still angry about that.

“What about things that make you happy?” I asked.

He frowned briefly but then a glimmer of a smile gave way to “Living in Chelsea.”  He said his home was close to those of Richie Havens and Julius Lester and other talented artists. It was inspiring to him.

It was probably the most informative and enlightening interview I had done for the station. But my audience would never see it. Somehow, the reel was “misplaced.” Back in the day, it was film and hand-splicing. Editing technology like AVID was just coming on the scene. Reporters reported, sound men held the boom mic, and editors edited. Today, most local news reporters have to do it all, carrying their own cameras and doing their own editing.

I checked on the status of the piece in the editing room around 3:00.

“Can’t find it” Tommy (we’ll call him that) said without making eye contact. I knew he was hedging.

“What does that mean?” I asked. Tommy shrugged. “The cuts you wanted. Not here.”

“So you spliced it and lost it?”

Tommy looked at me apologetically.  “I never had a chance to get to it” he winced.  It’s just gone.” I realized he was following orders. Gil was just too much for Philadelphia conservatives to digest. My GM obviously thought the piece would not go over well with a predominantly White audience. It was like convincing my White friends some years later that they really should watch Roots and hearing them protest that it wasn’t something they wanted to re-live. As if they had lived it at all.

When I saw Gil that night at Just Jazz (after a standing ovation for his hour and a half set) I apologized that the piece had not aired. He did not seem surprised or upset. He just chuckled and shook his head. “The music never dies,” he said.

I was more upset about the whole thing than he was. “This is a racist thing, you know that, right? They didn’t want that shit on the air. It was just too… Black.”

He said quietly, “Sister, remember this. It’s not about color, it’s about class.” I’ll never forget those words because they still ring true today.

Miraculously, the missing reel appeared on my desk the following day  but, the window of opportunity had slipped away. A quick run-through revealed that most of the film had been damaged.

Scott Heron’s work is timeless. Just read the lyrics for The Revolution Will Not Be Televised and make note of its relevance today.  Better still, hear Gil at

The people and products you’ll see on that YouTube video may not be familiar but the message is the same. “The world is too much with us,” said William Wordsworth. “Late and soon; getting and spending, we lay waste our powers. Little we see in nature that is ours.”

But as Gil would say “What does it mean to you?” That’s what’s important.. Gil being the prophet that he was, may have seen beyond today. Maybe he  meant there will be no TV when the real revolution arrives. Maybe there will be no devices at all. At least, none that we can see.


Gil Scott-Heron – April 1, 1949 -May 27, 2011

You will not be able to stay home, brother.
 You will not be able to plug in, turn on and cop out.
 You will not be able to lose yourself on skag and skip out for beer during commercials. Because the revolution will not be televised.

 The revolution will not be televised.

The revolution will not be brought to you by Xerox in 4 parts without commercial interruptions. The revolution will not show you pictures of Nixon 
blowing a bugle and leading a charge by John
 Mitchell, General Abrams and Spiro Agnew to eat
hog maws confiscated from a Harlem sanctuary.
 The revolution will not be televised.

The revolution will not be brought to you by the 
Schaefer Award Theatre and will not star Natalie 
Wood and Steve McQueen or Bullwinkle and Julia.
 The revolution will not give your mouth sex appeal.
 The revolution will not get rid of the nubs.
The revolution will not make you look five pounds 
thinner, because the revolution will not be televised, Brother.

 There will be no pictures of you and Willie May
 pushing that shopping cart down the block on the dead run,
or trying to slide that color television into a stolen ambulance.
 NBC will not be able predict the winner at 8:32
 or report from 29 districts. 
The revolution will not be televised.

There will be no pictures of pigs shooting down 
brothers in the instant replay.
There will be no pictures of Whitney Young being 
run out of Harlem on a rail with a brand new process. There will be no slow motion or still life of Roy 
Wilkens strolling through Watts in a Red, Black and 
Green liberation jumpsuit that he had been saving
 for just the proper occasion.

 Green Acres, The Beverly Hillbillies, and Hooterville
 Junction will no longer be so damned relevant, and
 women will not care if Dick finally gets down with
 Jane on Search for Tomorrow because Black people 
will be in the street looking for a brighter day.
 The revolution will not be televised.

There will be no highlights on the eleven o’clock 
news and no pictures of hairy armed women 
liberationists and Jackie Onassis blowing her nose.
 The theme song will not be written by Jim Webb,
 Francis Scott Key, nor sung by Glen Campbell, Tom 
Jones, Johnny Cash, Englebert Humperdink, or the Rare Earth.
 The revolution will not be televised.

The revolution will not be right back after a message 
about a white tornado, white lightning, or white people.
  You will not have to worry about a dove in your 
bedroom, a tiger in your tank, or the giant in your toilet bowl.
 The revolution will not go better with Coke.

The revolution will not fight the germs that may cause bad breath.
 The revolution will not put you in the driver’s seat.

 The revolution will not be televised, will not be televised,
 will not be televised, will not be televised.

The revolution will be not re-run brothers;
 The revolution will be live.


#ManyPeopleAreSaying Trump went a little too far

Photo by
Photo by

Donny Trump’s most recent incendiary comments at a Trump fest in North Carolina have drawn some ire from esteemed columnist, thinker, reporter, writer and Pulitzer Prize winning author, Thomas L Friedman. The New York Times ® columnist and best selling author is more than unhappy with Trump’s vague and “menacing” implications. From what I read and hear, Friedman is not alone.

It appears that the Donald, with blood coming out of his ears, coming from everywhere–I don’t know–gave a nod to anyone with a gun and an attitude to get creative and “stop” Hillary Clinton.

NYT Best Seller List Books by Thomas L Friedman
NYT Best Seller List Books by Thomas L Friedman

Mr. Friedman was more than kind with his description but I’m telling you what I heard and saw, including tone and body language.

“Hillary wants to… essentially abolish, the Second Amendment,” Trump said. “By the way, and if she gets to pick her judges, nothing you can do, folks. Although the Second Amendment people, maybe there is, I don’t know.

The ignorance that seeps from those words, is just as unsettling to me than the thinly veiled directive that Trump signals. Does he have any idea of the many steps involved in abolishing an amendment. And yes, POTUS selects Supreme Court judge nominees but they must be confirmed by the Senate.  The powers of the president are more limited than most Americans know. Am I wrong? I don’t know. You tell me.

Why bother to make a strong statement that invites the confused and unstable to consider knocking off a presidential candidate, followed by “…maybe there is [a way]” but “…I don’t know.” Are those hollow, over-exposed phrases of doubt intended to cover his buttocks, as if to say “It’s just something I am noodling on in my big brain that one of you zombies with a gun might consider carrying out to protect [my] rights.”

MY UPDATE:  This controversial comment about the Second Amendment was followed by  an equally scathing remark that President Obama and Hillary Clinton were the FOUNDERS of ISIS. Need I suggest that this guy is desperately looking for a way out of his candidacy?

“Oh for God’s sake,” one of my GOP acquaintances squealed at me, “that is not what he meant at all.”

I asked with a forced calm, “What do you think he meant?”

Many people are saying that I say I don't know a lot. I don't know. You tell me.
Many people are saying that I say I don’t know a lot. I don’t know. You tell me.

“He’s just saying maybe the people who want to protect the Second Amendment can figure out a way to do that. To stop her from taking away our guns. You can read into it whatever you want.”

I wasn’t aware that each American citizen had a bounden duty to sharpen his or her political interpreting skills to understand the real meaning of poly-speak. Is there an on-line class for that and how many credits do we get toward a degree in PolySigh?

This is why I always stress the importance of clear communication.We live in a world where “bad” means “hip” and “sick” means “absolutely fabulous” and “dope” means “incredible.” You have to claireify almost everything. That sometimes means using up seven of your 140 Twitter characters with the word “SARCASM” just to ensure you are not attacked when someone reads your post the wrong way. All it takes is a misplaced comma or a misspelled word. What could go wrong.

Of course, Trump didn’t say “Kill Hill” in plain English. He doesn’t speak the language clearly anyway, because that yuuuuge brain of his is impaired. There are so many big words crowding the frontal lobe of his cerebrum, he becomes easily confused.

But a view to the kill was definitely more than implied in Trump’s statements. It was not-so-subtle code for “Maybe you people who are here today, you know, somebody with a gun can go to her next event and get close enough to just pop her. Teach her a lesson.”

No Doubting this Thomas

“People are playing with fire here, and there is no bigger flamethrower than Donald Trump,” Friedman writes in his August 9, 2016 NYT column Trump’s Wink Wink to ‘Second Amendment’ People .

Friedman starts his piece with the caveat that this newest rant smarts of right wing extremists who labeled Israeli Prime Minister, Yitzhak Rabin as a traitor, and triggered the PM’s assassination. Rabin had negotiated the Israel-PLO accords with PLO (Palestinian Liberation Organization) leader, Yasser Arafat in 1993, in an effort to sanction Israel’s withdrawal from occupied territories. In October 1994, Rabin also signed a peace treaty with King Hussein bin Talal of Jordan. In 1995, after speaking at a peace rally in Tel Aviv, Rabin was gunned down by an Israeli student, Yigal Amir.

“Of course, all is fair in politics, right? And they had God on their side, right? They weren’t actually telling anyone to assassinate Rabin. That would be horrible,” Friedman writes with satire in every keystroke.

“There are always people down the line who don’t hear the caveats,” Friedman continues. “They just hear the big message: The man is illegitimate, the man is a threat to the nation, the man is the equivalent of a Nazi war criminal. Well, you know what we do with people like that, don’t you? We kill them.”

Trump and his minions were quick to rush in with a defense saying Trump was simply encouraging people to vote for him to stop Clinton from appointing liberal Supreme Court judges who would undoubtedly hand down a ruling forcing everyone to give up their guns.

“This is a political movement,” Trump told Sean Hannity of FOX news. “This is a strong political movement, the Second Amendment, and there can be no other interpretation. Even reporters have told me. I mean, give me a break.”

“What he said was ambiguous — slightly menacing, but with just enough plausible deniability that, of course, he was not suggesting an assassination,” Friedman writes.

Trump is aware of the power of his words. He seems to have a hypnotic effect on the poorly educated, which may be the reason he often states his love for that group. These are what I call the mushroom people. You keep them in the dark and feed them manure.

Gif by Giphy
Gif by Giphy

That old meme “Sticks and stones may hurt my bones but words will never hurt me” a phrase that every good child was taught decades ago to ward off bullies, couldn’t be further from the truth. Hateful words incite the loners, the already mentally disturbed, and as Friedman describes, those who are “deeply immersed in fringe jihadist social networks that heat them up.” These folks most likely grew up unhinged because of words that were hurled at them as children. Not only do words hurt, they can kill–if not the person, her spirit, her drive, her soul.

“They hear the signal in the noise,” Friedman says. “They hear the inspiration and the permission to do God’s work. They are not cooled by unfinished sentences.”

Mr. Friedman amplifies his article with an unfaltering tone of anguish. “Forget politics; he (Trump) is a disgusting human being,” writes Friedman. His children should be ashamed of him. I only pray that he is not simply defeated, but that he loses all 50 states so that the message goes out across the land — unambiguously, loud and clear: The likes of you should never come this way again.”

I agree, sir. I agree and so do millions of Americans. Unfortunately, many remain a part of the silent majority. To them, I say, it’s time to grow some balls. Unless you’re afraid a Trumpster has you in his crosshairs. If that’s the case, do what you must do (or not) but please do not stay home on election day. Not to decide, is to decide.

Thomas Friedman’s full story appears in this edition of the New York Times.


Your comments and shares are always welcome. Please follow me on Twitter @morricles. If you’re a movie lover, I’d also love to see your tweets @pen_soeur.






I came across this piece of wisdom about a year ago, printed it out and tacked it on my bulletin board as a reminder. I thought it might be time to share it with you. All credit goes to its author, John Henry Müller, a very creative designer whose biography appears at the end of this blog. Here’s a picture of John and here’s what he wrote in 2014.

John Henry Müller, designer and co-founder of PACK
John Henry Müller, designer and co-founder of PACK

“I am happiest when I feel productive. I know this about myself. I work closely with a small team. We work mostly distributed and pretty autonomously. I have a lot of freedom in the way I work and what I choose to work on. This freedom is wonderful but requires discipline. Many days I have a clear understanding of the highest priority and can jump right in. But sometimes an entire day will slip by and I have little to show for my scattered effort.

Small seemingly urgent and quick tasks, nagging audible, animated, vibrational notifications and other distractions (news, industry articles, email/chat correspondence, hilarious animated gifs) chew away at my day. At the end of the day, a day like that leaves me feeling unproductive and a bit blue.

I realized it isn’t the power of distractions that is too strong, it’s that my sense of priority is too weak.



At the beginning of this year (2014) I tried something new. It’s a simple idea. But so far, it is working.

The very first thing each morning (after coffee but before email) I write three sentences in plain text then save this document to my desktop. I call it  “today.txt.”

It is the only file I keep on my desktop to ensure it stays in my purview. The format is simple and looks something like this.


John Henry Muller's Easy To-Do
John Henry Muller’s Easy To-Do



The first sentence names the one thing that is most important to you. Remember, only one.

The second sentence breaks down the one thing you want to accomplish into smaller actionable tasks. It forces you to get over that intellectual barrier that’s preventing you from getting started.

The third sentence stays constant but does two things. First, it serves as a reminder of the satisfaction you get from staying disciplined by focusing on the one thing. The second frees you from the pressure of a daunting and nagging list, allowing yourself to feel relaxed and inspired.

This isn’t a to-do list. This isn’t even a list.  It is about quality before quantity. Calmness before urgency. Clarity before complexity.  It gives you permission to define your own priorities.

It isn’t the only thing you will accomplish today, but if it is, today will be a good day.”


Your comments and shares are appreciated. Please use the comment form below.

About John:  John Henry Muller  was born and raised in the midwest. He now lives in Nebraska. In 2014, he joined a team of 40 talented designers at Hudl as design director. Before Hudl, he designed for a startup called Pack. He also started a digital product design and development company called What Cheer.

“Sometimes people say nice things about me,” says John.  “Andrew Hyde called me his “design power animal.” Jeffrey Zeldman once consoled my lack of rhythm with ‘Anyone with that much design talent has to have at least some musical talent too.’ Megan Casey said “It’s like Christmas every time I get to see new designs from John Henry. He is the most creative person I’ve ever worked with, bar none.’ ”

If you want to know more about John, visit his Twitter page  @johnhenrymuller. He is also on Facebook, Instagram, Dribbble, GitHub, LinkedIn, MySpace and Pack, which he co-founded.

Napa and Sonoma Valley: Best Places To “Wine” Down

Vineyard sunset 2016-07-03 at 8.43.27 AM


“I cook with wine. Sometimes, I even add it to the food.”–W.C. Fields

More than ten million people a year visit wine country in Napa and Sonoma counties–about  an hour and a half from the city of San Francisco. They come for the wine and stay for the beauty, tranquility and charm of this Northern California Paradise, and they spend billions on wine, food, lodging and entertainment. The region’s exceptional wines are requested and served throughout the Bay Area, making wine country the hub of the nine-county area’s culture, lifestyle and economy.  Two wineries share top rank with France as winners of the “Judgment of Paris” putting Napa on the international must-taste-wine-map.

With more than 600 wineries to choose from, the region is a mecca for those who like to combine culture, wine, food and entertainment with pristine beauty and serenity. Sean Penn and Robin Wright Penn, Katie Couric, JZ and Beyonce, Rachel McAdams and other celebrities are repeat visitors.  Even if you’re not famous, the people who keep wine country humming, treat all visitors with consistent, unparalleled hospitality.CANVAS - Research day 5/25/16

Part of the steady heartbeat that keeps everything running like a well-oiled machine, is credited to an organization called CANVAS–an acronym for Concierge Alliance of Napa Valley and Sonoma. Its founder is Colby Smith, a household name among those who live and work in wine country and to the thousands of Bay Area restaurants serving wine from the Valley. Colby is a people-connector who tends to downplay her role as the ultimate wine country organizer. She knows that her company is a valuable service, but insists it is only as good as its members.

“There are thousands of very talented people who make wine country the special place it is. Meeting and event planners, concierges, restaurants, entertainers, vintners and wineries, even mom and pop roadside stands and gas stations. I just happen to be the glue.”

CANVAS facilitates workshops, research trips, web resources and networking so the Wine Region’s hospitality professionals can convey a high-quality, personalized level of caring to millions of wine country visitors and pair them with thousands of hospitality workers in an area that covers over 2,500 miles.

Colby CANVAS two shot resized 2016-07-02 at 12.42.47 PM

Colby Smith, Founder/Executive Director of  CANVAS- Concierge Alliance of Napa Valley and Sonoma







“The Law of the Few” as described by Malcom Gladwell in his 2002 best seller, The Tipping Point:How Little Things Can Make A Big Difference, relates to exceptional people “who are capable of starting epidemics. All you have to do is find them” says Gladwell. “The lesson of stickiness is the same. There is a simple way to package information that, under the right circumstances, can make it irresistible. All you have to do is find it.”

Colby is one of those few and she started the CANVAS trend seven years ago. She saw an opportunity to add value to customer satisfaction, and offer services to the industry that would have multi-level benefits to individual business; the industry as a whole; and the most important component—the wine country visitor.

Before she founded CANVAS, hospitality workers in the Valleys were separate, but united by default, all of them catering to the end-consumer. CANVAS, she decided, would match the needs and interests of each segment of the industry.

Visitor numbers were increasing,” says Colby, but there was a loose affiliation between the businesses who served our visitors and they needed a cohesive platform to deliver the best customer service. Concierges, meeting planners and restaurants could help each other. There is so much going on in the region and it’s a challenge to navigate the options without basic tools.”

Social networks start here

Putting social in social media

Colby uses a balanced social media plan but insists there is nothing that tops true old-school social interaction. Social media alone is not enough in a region where people gather specifically for social interaction. She is constantly on the phone with clients and potential exhibitors, or sending e-mails to her data base of close to two-thousand people. Meeting for lunch over local cuisine and wine, of course is a must. Armed with a plethora of information and statistics and a Type A personality, she is fearless, and formerly worked as a stunt woman, taking high leaps and falls for the stars. She also has a background in web design, public relations, modeling and television production.

CANVAS Sommelier 2016-07-02 at 12.43.07 PMThe social gathering of the summer for Napa and Sonoma Valleys is the 2016 Wine Country Hospitality Trade Show. It’s a private networking event that connects corporate meeting and event planners with top hospitality professionals. Colby likes to keep things intimate. A hundred-plus exhibitors and 150 attendees will be wined and dined at Cornerstone Sonoma/Sunset Magazine Test Campus on July 12. As soon as the tables are cleared, Colby will start planning for 2017.

“It never ends,” she says “but I love what I do. I guess meeting and being with people and putting them together is part of my DNA.”


CANVAS - Research day 5/25/16

For more information about Napa and Sonoma wine country, visit these sites and start planning your visit to the Bay Area’s social hub for a memorable experience. (a sneak peek )

As always, your comments and shares are appreciated.





Not all people over 50-ish, are created equal, so it’s not coincidental that stereotypes of “old” people persist. Be honest. If you’re an employer looking to hire the best and brightest, you’d also like “youngest possible” in the job description too. After they hit fifty, they’re going to be burdensome and pretty much out to pasture, right?

Well, no, because there’s a new brand of “old” on the rise. I call them neo-hip. They have a little more spunk than your ordinary resident of Wrinkle City, as you might picture it.  A little more confidence coupled with humility. They’ve banished the denial metaphors like “65 is the new 50.” They’re embracing their 65-ness with a kind of wise awareness that comes with age. The trick is to make the best of the gifts they’ve been given. Doctors push old age as a common denominator for aches and pains that cannot be diagnosed and prescribe meds for whatever ails you. The neo-hip smile at them, politely acquiesce, then break out the yoga mats, the spinners, wheels and balls; they meditate, get acupuncture, take shiatsu and weight lifting. They are healthy, unafraid, daring and, above all, resourceful.

Still, the myths about older workers prevail and some employers still believe and fiercely enforce them. Unfortunately, there are just as many seniors who believe the hype as well. But if you’re neo-hip, you’re faster,  better, and smarter than the 30-year old whippersnapper sitting next to you on the bus. It’s time you realized that if you’ve been wallowing in “nobody-wants-me” land.

What if you were worth $19K an hour

A group of 30-something airplane mechanics noticed a strange sound on the floorboard of one of their planes but after weeks of probing, they could not determine where the sound originated. Without the plane in operation, they were losing hundreds of thousands of dollars a day. Out of desperation, they called in a retired employee who had worked extensively on this particular model. He was 68 years old. It took him three minutes to discover the problem. Continue reading THERE’S A NEW OLD GUY IN TOWN AND HE’S “NEO-HIP”