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2-Oh-Nineteen

2-OH-Nineteen

I’m glad that’s over, how about you?

I’ve been losing it all year

It’s still crazy all around us

And my deepest, nagging fear

Is

That we haven’t hit rock bottom yet

It haunts my every waking hour

As well as the few I sleep in a fetal position

As I tremble and I cower

At the boldness of the evil

That has oozed into our lives

And tarnished the joy we’re meant to feel

When kindly uncle Harry or Santa Claus arrives

The bright spots last year were few and far between

I know it’s not just me

Granted, I’ve been a despondent correspondent

But this is not how I choose to be

I’m ready for some sunshine

To put chaos down to rest

And embrace some genuine, no lie hop-i-ness

Because that’s when I feel my best

Y’think the Dark Side’s beginning to crumble?

Could the pendulum be swinging back?

Perhaps the pervasiveness of wrong is beginning to shift

And we’ll regain some of the mojo that we lack?

If that sounds like resolution crap

Rest assured, that’s not my style

The only promises that I care about

The ones that truly make me smile

Are those where we’re kinder and less cruel

Kumbaya my lord, don’t you know?

There’s no future worth pursuing on the path we’ve been on

So,

It’s time to let it go

And in case you’re la la la-ing or not paying attention

Or you’ve been hiding in a deep, dark hole

Here’s a too long list of couplets

Of 2019’s mostly fetid soul

•••

The mid-term election had some upsides

Nancy’s back in the Speaker’s seat

And

Susan Zirinsky was named the first female President of CBS News

Which was kinda, sorta neat

MacKenzie and Jeff Bezos

Filed for a divorce

He’s still the richest man on Earth

And MacKenzie?

She’s also filthy fucking rich…of course

Michael Cohen is doing time

Paul Manafort’s in a cell

Roger Stone’s being measured for an orange jumpsuit

To wear eternally in hell

Trump canceled the Russian Nuclear Arms Proliferation Treaty

Vlad must have hated it, I guess

Mueller Report/Schmueller Report

What a fucking mess

VA’s governor Northam posed in black face

Justin Trudeau also posed that way for a pic

A German man was cured of HIV

A stem cell implant did the trick

Japan landed a spacecraft on an asteroid

Sears is barely holding on

Notre Dame de Paris caught fire

And her beautiful spire is gone

El Chapo was found guilty

Not much of a surprise

Mostly stories about gun violence and that asshole, Donald Trump

Were winners of the Pulitzer Prize

North Carolina had to redo their Congressional election

The Republican candidate was a cheat

The Four Seasons shuddered its doors

Now, where are we going to eat?

Eight kids were declared winners of the National Spelling Bee

When they ran out of words to spell

Cardinal George Pell was sent to prison for diddling kids

I hope he gets diddled in his cell

Mario Batali ceded control of his restaurants

After many accusations of sexual abuse

Great Britain got their own shit-for-brains-bad-hair leader

Good god…what’s the use?

Terrorist violence ran rampant

School shootings were on the rise

Earthquakes and hurricanes, famine and drought

As waters surged beneath the Bridge of Sighs

The US has taken a pass

Ignoring imminent disaster

While many corporate heads and Republican dopes

Kiss the ass of their dumb, fat-assed master

Global warming will kill us

Gun violence will too

How can anyone with a brain

Think that what we should do

Is nothing?

Ooops…was I editorializing?

Wouldn’t want to come off as a hater

Traditionally, I try to stick to the facts

And save all of the ranting for later…

Austria has pulled back from its Neo-Nazi dabbling

Puerto Rico’s Ricardo Roselló resigned in disgrace

Harvey Weinstein paid $25M to some of his accusers

With a slimy smirk upon his face

Steve Bannon’s on the move

As the voice for the EU’s Right

Keith Raniere, the Nxivm guy…guilty!

Now get him out of our sight!

DT wanted a 4th of July military parade

The Joint Chiefs shut him down

But then he pardoned a convicted war criminal

Because he’s a shamelessly evil clown

Australia’s burning up

The Amazon Rainforest was aflame

The Iraqis stormed our embassy

Because they hate us…what a shame

Vaping and the Juul

It’s smoking…what the fuck?

I think the industry slogan should be

All You Gotta Do is SUCK!

There are burgers with no meat

Bread is gluten free

KETO is good or is it bad

Dietetically?

Hey…Fuckface…Greenland’s not for sale!

Mueller wrote a book

There were a lot of words but all I can remember is

“Barr’s a liar” and “Trump’s a crook”

The Nobel Peace Prize went to Abiy Ahmed

All of Donnie’s posturing did not deliver

So he woke up one morning and pulled our troops from Syria

And sold our Kurdish allies down the river

New immigrants are locked in cells

Asylum’s off the table

Trump has to flush his toilet 45 times

Because he isn’t able

To do anything an actual person might do

Maybe Rudy should do it for him

And while he’s at it he can wipe his ass

Like all the other imbeciles that adore him

Mitch keeps flooding the courts with judges

Most unqualified to belong

But they’ll only serve a lifetime

So, what could possibly go wrong?

World leaders laughed at big, dumb Donnie

He left the NATO Summit in a snit

Pantone’s color of the year is Classic Blue

I’m not happy, not one bit

Greta Thunberg was Time Magazine’s Person of the Year

The President lost his tweeting mind

The Inspector General’s probe of the FBI‘s Russia Investigation

Concluded it did not find

Political bias of any sort

Barr said he disagreed

Facts in support of that opinion

Were things he did not have or need

Aung San Suu Kyi, once a symbol of human rights

Publicly supported Rohingya genocide

Boris Johnson’s run to reaffirm Brexit

Won in an unexpectedly convincing landslide

Our Zambian Ambassador, Daniel Foote, was recalled

For speaking truth to power

About wide-spread corruption and the imprisonment of gays

Stay tuned!  More bad news on the hour

Have you heard about Rudy and Ukraine

The Three Amigos or the Bidens

Or the irrefutable testimony after irrefutable testimony

As the impeachment inquiry widens?

I’ve been dumbfounded, I couldn’t look away

But, alas, the country’s cancer

Won’t be removed by our disgraceful Senate

So,

2020’s our only answer

Breaking News!!! 

Congress filed articles of impeachment

A majority vote was reached

I – Abuse of Power/II – Obstruction of Congress

The ayes had it

HE’S IMPEACHED!

 

Entertaining?

 

The Golden Globes went to Green Book and Bohemian Rhapsody

R. Kelly is a creep

SAG awarded Black Panther and The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel

With plaques they get to keep

I’m told, the Grammys happened

Oh yeah, they were a snoozer

Green Book was the big Oscar winner

Which makes every other film, a loser

The R&R Hall inducted Stevie Nicks, The Cure

Janet Jackson and Radiohead

Def Leppard, Roxy Music and The Zombies

And a few of them aren’t dead

Felicity Huffman plead guilty in a college admissions scandal

She went to jail for a couple of days

Placido Domingo left the Met amid allegations of sexual misconduct

The opera world’s seen better days

The Kennedy Center Honorees were Sally Field, Linda Ronstadt

Michael Tilson Thomas and Sesame Street

The funk master magicians, Earth, Wind and Fire

Who always bring the heat

The Hallmark Channel pulled an ad

That showed two kissing lesbian brides

But they were pressured to reinstate it

When many outraged viewers took sides

Streaming’s the big new deal

There are a million shows in my queue

I’m going to start binge-watching them later today

And I’ll get back to you when I’m through

 

Sports

 

Clemson crushed Bama to become national champs

Mariano Rivera was the first unanimously inducted to the Hall of Fame

Roy Halladay, Mike Mussina and Edgar Martinez were also voted in

For excelling at America’s Game

Osaka and Djokovic won the Australian Open

The Patriots…yawn… won Super Bowl LIII

Robert Kraft was caught in a sex sting

Hi diddly, diddly dee

Baylor women won the NCAA B-ball title

Virginia men won the title as well

Andy Ruiz stunned the boxing world

By ringing Anthony Joshua’s bell

Country House won the Kentucky Derby

When Maximum Security was DQ’d

Trump attended a World Series game in DC

Where he was soundly jeered and booed

Tiger won a 5th green jacket

The Blues won the cup in the NHL

The Raptors were the first Canadian NBA world champion

As far as I can tell

US Women’s soccer beat Thailand 13-0

They went on to win the World Cup

Bianca Andreescu overpowered Serena in the US Open final

So, for Bianca, things are looking up

Djokovic outlasted Federer in the longest Wimbledon final

Nadal beat Medvedev in Arthur Ashe

Eliud Kipchoge broke the 2-hour marathon barrier

Which was worth a pile of cash

The Washington Mystics won it all in the WNBA

They were in seventh heaven

The Nationals won their first World Series

From the Astros in game 7

Russia cheated at everything

Now they’ve been banned four years for doping

Maybe that will stir a new Russian Revolution

I doubt it, but here’s hoping

 

In Passing

 

Herb Kelleher co-founded Southwest Airlines

Blake Nordstrom ran a department store

Georges Loinger helped smuggle Jewish children from France to Switzerland

During the 2nd World War

Harold Brown was Carter’s Secretary of Defense

Moshe Arens was an Israeli statesman and Minister

Sylvia Chase was a pioneering TV newswoman

Reporting on stories uplifting and sinister

Bernice Sanders was the godmother of Title IX

Samuel Snipes represented the first black family in Levittown, PA

Michael Atiyah was a theoretical mathematician, connecting math and physics

Which may help or kill us one day

Patricia Wald was a Medal of Freedom recipient

 And the first female Chief Appeals Court judge

Nathan Glazer was an urban sociologist

Who tried to give social responsibility a nudge

Lester Wunderman was the Father of Direct Market Ads

Dr. John Mendelsohn led MD Anderson’s research into cancer

Meshulam Riklis was a corporate raider who married Pia Zadora

He was a lover, not a dancer

John C. Bogle founded the Vanguard Group

For investing other people’s money

Lyndon LaRouche ran for President 8 times

And was categorically un-funny

Harris Wofford advocated for civil rights in the Senate

Ron Joyce ran Tim Horton’s doughnut shops

Edward Morrison was NYC’s deputy mayor

And helped John Lennon avoid the deportation cops

Tony Mendez hatched the 1980 Argo plot

To free the hostages in Iran

Douglas Costle helped create the EPA

He was the Protect the Environment man

Frank Blaichman blew up Nazi supply lines in Poland

Walter H. Munk was the Einstein of the Seas

Henry J. Stern was NYC’s Parks Commissioner

Who saw the forest through the trees

Morton Sobell was convicted with the Rosenbergs

Lee Radziwill was the sister of Jackie O

John Dingell, Jr. was the longest serving member of Congress

Before he had to go

Ed Zigler was the architect of Head Start

Raymond K. Price, Jr. wrote Nixon’s resignation speech

Carol F. Reich started a Brooklyn charter school

So she could have a place to teach

Wallace Broecker was the Grandfather of Climate Science

Donald Smith produced The Silent Scream

William Powers, Jr. wrote the searing, in-depth report

That brought down the Enron scheme

Tom Cade was an ornithologist

Who reinvigorated the Peregrine Falcon population

By providing homey and safe urban havens

For Peregrine Falcon copulation

George Mendonsa was likely the sailor

In the famous VJ Day photo in Times Square

Norman Orentreich was the Father of Transplants

So bald guys could grow new hair

Juan Corona was a serial killer

Dick Churchill was the last who made The Great Escape

Zhores Alferov’s Nobel laser research

Gave us DVDs to replace our tape

Jean Fairfax crusaded for NCAA school integration

Ogden R. Reid edited the Herald Tribune

Jerry Merryman co-invented the pocket calculator

One sunny day in June

Carmine Persico was the Don of the Colombo crime family

Joseph Boardman was Amtrak’s chief

James W. McCord, Jr. led the Watergate break-in

He was an asshole and a thief

Birch Bayh fought to lower the voting age to 18

Charles Sanna invented the Swiss Miss Cocoa drink

Jean Vanier used his foundation, L’Arche

To save people on the brink

Barbara Low unlocked the many benefits of penicillin

Jean-Louis David was all about hair

Tejshree Thapa defended human rights in SE Asia

When the world just didn’t care

Harry Hughes tackled corruption as Maryland’s guv

Marian Sulzberger Heiskell used her wealth for NYC’s beauty

Rafi Eitan hunted down Eichmann

It was his passion and his duty

Charles Van Doren won the game show, Twenty-One

But he cheated to win the prize

Nils Nilsson was the Father of Robots

With those crazy robotic eyes

David Brion Davis contended that slavery

Was the very heart of the American story

John Lukacs laid bare the evils of Hitler and Stalin

And the fascist march to glory

Michael Fesco owned the Ice Palace and Flamingo

Trendsetting clubs for gays

Henry W. Bloch set up offices in shopping malls

To do your taxes on taxing days

Damon Keith was a judge who championed Civil Rights

Art Kunkin founded The LA Free Press

Jim Fowler was the face of TV’s Wild Kingdom

He liked wild things…I guess

Ellen Tauscher negotiated the Nuclear Arms Treaty

Warren H. Phillips published The Wall St. Journal

Fleming Begaye was a Navajo code talker

He died a corporal, not a colonel

George Rosenkrantz developed the Birth Control Pill

Michel Roux sold Absolut Vodka, using celebrity friends

Nicky Barnes was called Mr. Untouchable, as a heroine-dealing kingpin

But this is where his untouchableness ends

I. M. Pei designed iconic structures

A pyramid entry for the Louvre

Mickey Kapp made mix tapes for astronauts

So spacemen could find their groove

Unita Blackwell was the first black woman Mississippi mayor

Claus von Bülow probably murdered his wife

Murray Gell-Mann unlocked the make-up of the universe

Providing clues to the origins of life

Karol Modzelewski was a Polish anti-communist leader

Who coined the Solidarity label

Leah Chase, the Queen of Creole Cooking

 Put food on Presidents’ and Freedom Riders’ table(s)

Robert L. Bernstein founded Human Rights Watch

Curtis Blake started Friendly’s with his brother

Kary B. Mullis won a Nobel for developing DNA analysis

So you could be certain if your mom was your mother

Maryetta Dussourd raised the alarm against abusive priests

Dr. Henry Lynch discovered an hereditary link to cancer

Herb Sandler thought the corporately-unfiltered ProPublica

Was journalism’s most honest answer

Louis Levi Oakes was the last of the Mohawk code talkers

Gary Burrell pioneered GPS tracking

Mohamed Morsi was ousted as Egypt’s President

Because his morals and character were lacking

Luis Alvarez spoke up for 9/11 survivors

Mitchel Levitas edited the NY Times Op-Ed pages

Robert Klein studied kindness and the use of time

And wrote a primer for all ages

David Binder chronicled the Cold War and its aftermath

Barry Kowalski prosecuted the Rodney King case

Ross Perot was a salesman, billionaire, philanthropist

Who ran the Presidential race

Lee Iacocca developed the Mustang for Ford

And brought Chrysler back from the brink

Sarah was maybe the smartest chimpanzee

And just possibly the missing link

Philip Freelon designed the African-American Museum

Vincent Lambert advocated for the Right-to-Die

Christopher Kraft was the voice of NASA’s Mission Control

For space stuff junkies, like you and I

Andrew Dibner invented the first Medical Alert

Roberth Morgenthau was a nine-term crusading Manhattan DA

Marylou Whitney was the Grand Dame of Saratoga Springs

And I’m sad she passed away

Colin Palmer chronicled the African Diaspora

John Paul Stevens morphed into a liberal judge

Li Peng ordered the massacre in Tiananmen Square

When the protestors would not budge

Ed Westcott photographed the Manhattan Project

Dorothy Olsen was a pioneering WASP pilot during WWII

J. Robert Schrieffer won a Nobel for his research

Into what super conductivity could do

Fernando Corbató was the Father of the Computer Password

So it’s him you have to blame

For creating P/W’s you’re supposed to remember

That aren’t your birthday or your name

Mitchell Feigenbaum developed the Feigenbaum Constant

To give the chaos of Nature some order

Timothy Means encouraged ecotourism to protect

The Baja Peninsula on our southern border

Paul Krassner was an anarchist, prankster and Yippie

And published The Realist for non-mainstream news

Mark Kleiman was a proponent of legalizing pot

For when you’re sick or have the blues

Béji Caïd Essebsi pressed for Tunisian democracy as President

David Koch was an ultra-right-wing creep

Barron Hilton was that hotel guy

Who gave travelers a place to sleep

Hector Figueroa led the Fight for 15

Ferdinand Piëch ruthlessly headed Volkswagen

Vivian Paley encouraged storytelling as a creative outlet

For every kid to use his or her noggin

Donald Klein was the Father of Psychopharmacology

You know, drugs to alter your mind

Richard Booth was the King of Used Books

And he collected almost every kind

Lois Wille won Pulitzers for journalism

Frances Crowe was a peace activist/war resister

Beverly Sackler was the Purdue Pharmaceutical matriarch

Who may have hooked your brother or your sister

Jeffrey Epstein was a scumbag child molester

He hung himself in jail

Too easy a fate for him and his slimy friends

Who lived way beyond the pale

Dr. John Hansen worked to expand bone marrow donors

Gerard O’Neill helped nab Whitey Bulger from the Boston Globe

James R. Leavelle was accompanying Oswald when he got shot

But was found blameless in an IA police probe

Danny Cohen invented the flight simulator

Internet telephony and on-line dating

Pal Benko gave his 1970 World Chess Championship spot to Bobby Fischer

Which led to Bobby’s prolific check mating

Jack Perkins reported on Civil Rights and Viet Nam

He hosted NBC’s Biography too

Leslie Gelb led the team that compiled the Pentagon Papers

Which proved to be unimaginably true

                Edda Servi Machlin was the Queen of Italian/Jewish Cuisine

Robert Mugabe was Zimbabwe’s leader

Dr. Janette Sherman was an early force in environmental science

Too bad she’s gone, we really need her

Dawda Jawara was the founding father of Gambia

Sally Ford invented RED to help avoid InterNet congestion

Ruth Abrams was Massachusetts’ glass ceiling-breaking judge

Making equality a thing, not just a suggestion

Marita Lorenz was Castro’s mistress

Who claimed inside info on the JFK plot

Patty Abramson founded Women’s Angel Fund

To give female-owned businesses a shot

Ciaran McKeown started Peace People

Northern Ireland’s Troubles were his reasons

T. Boone Pickens was a ruthless corporate raider

Who corporate raided in all seasons

Marca Bristo advocated for the Americans with Disabilities Act

Maurice Ferré was Miami’s first Hispanic mayor

John Keenan led the Son of Sam investigation

Of the whacked out, dog-controlled slayer

Diet Eman harbored Jews and downed Allied pilots

Jacques Chirac embezzled and fell from grace

Robert Boyd helped Nixon get elected

By getting in Geraldine Ferraro’s face

B. J. Habibe ushered in democracy in Indonesia

Anthony Mancinelli cut hair until 108

William Milliken was the longest-serving Michigan governor

Of my politically misguided home state

Joseph Wilson contradicted W’s State of the Union

Then his CIA wife, Valerie Plame, was outed

Elijah Cummings represented Baltimore in Congress

And his patriotism was never doubted

Napoleon Chagnon inadvertently exposed the Yanomami people

He destroyed their indigenous Amazonian existence

Su Beng was the Father of Taiwanese Independence

Which still faces Chinese resistance

John Rothman created the NY Times Information Bank

Giving public access to archival news

Aleksei Leonov was the first to walk in space

In his hi-tech, space-walking shoes

James Robinson provided volunteer ambulance service for Bed-Stuy

Michael Coe was a Maya language codebreaker

Lee Botts devoted her life to protecting the Great Lakes

She was a giver, not a taker

Diogo Freitas was the Pillar of Portuguese Democracy

Mark Hurd was Oracle’s CEO

Of all the Medal of Honor recipients of WWII

Francis Curry was the last to go

Michael Armstrong led the Knapp Probe into the NYPD

Robert Provine studied, wrote and talked about laughter

Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was a brutal Isis leader

I hope he’s burning in the Islamic hereafter

John Conyers, Jr. was a liberal Congressional icon

Josie Rubio wrote of living while dying

Jennifer Davis convinced large investors to pull support for Apartheid

Which changed things, there’s no denying

Werner D. Doehner was the last Hindenburg survivor

Carolyn Konheim fought for cleaner NYC air

Allan Gerson sought justice for the families of terror victims

When so many just didn’t care

William Ruckelshaus defied Dick Nixon

Gary Regan wrote mixed drink guides

William E. McCauley donated millions to City University of NY

So needy students could get free rides

André Daguin was a chef in Gascony

People traveled miles for his grilled duck

Paul Volcker was the chairman of the Federal Reserve

And he sometimes passed the buck

Terry de Havilland cobbled for the stars

George Lauer gave us the bar code

Danny Kronenfeld sheltered homeless families in NYC

At the Henry Street Settlement abode

Tony Brooker wrote early programming language

For some of the first computers we got a hand on

Mama Cax was a model and disability activist

Although she had but one leg to stand on

Baba Ram Das was a self-proclaimed guru

He taught New Age Enlightenment with LSD

He claimed to expand minds while expanding his pockets

But was a little too far out for me

Joseph Segel founded the QVC Network

So we could buy stuff on TV

Chuck Peddle designed the first chip that opened the world

Of personal computing to idiots like me

George Sakheim was an interpreter

At the infamous Nuremberg Trial

When Lenny Bruce got arrested on obscenity charges

Bentley Kassal represented him, for a while

 

The Arts

 

Bob Einstein was “Super Dave Osborne”

He was a ridiculously funny guy

Daryl Dragon was the Captain to Tennille’s…uh, Tennille

And I never knew exactly why

Aldo Parisot was a renowned cellist

And taught many more who’d aspire

Christine was the eldest sister

Of the harmonizing sisters, McGuire

Dr. Hook and the Medicine Show’s Ray Sawyer

Sang, Cover of the Rolling Stone

Dean Ford was the lead in Marmalade

With his sultry rock/pop tone

Ringo Lam directed City On Fire

Alan Pearlman was an ARP Synthesizer pioneer

Brian Garfield wrote Death Wish

To stoke vigilante fear

Pegi Young was Neil’s ex

She founded the Bridge School for the Disabled

Howell Begle founded the Rhythm and Blues Foundation

For artists unknown and fabled

Babs Simpson was a taste-making Vogue editor

Verna Bloom acted in Animal House and Medium Cool

Carlos Sánchez portrayed Juan Valdez

The Colombian-coffee-bean-picking fool

Mary Kay Stearns starred in Mary Kay and Johnny

The first family sit-com on TV

Jessica Tcherrpnine was a botanical artist

As exacting as she could be

Joseph Jarman was in the Art Ensemble of Chicago

A virtuosic woodwind player

Mary Oliver shed light on the natural world

Layer after poetic layer

John Falsey wrote and produced

Saint Elsewhere and Northern Exposure

Jacqueline Steiner wrote Charlie on the MTA

I hope poor Charlie gets some closure

John Burningham wrote children’s books

Mr. Grumpy’s Outing, Whaddayamean

Walter Chandoha photographed cats

So there’d be many more cats to be seen

Clydie King sang backup with Dylan, Steely Dan

Joe Cocker and the Rolling Stones

Carol Channing was a Broadway icon for over 75 years

Because theater was in her bones

Bonnie Guitar was a ground-breaking singer/songwriter

Jo Andres choreographed experimental dance

Lorna Doom played bass for the punk rock Germs

By design, not simply by chance

Mark Urman was a champion of independent films

Reggie Young played studio guitar

Patricia McBride Lousada was one of Balanchine’s original ballerinas

Who spent a lifetime at the barre

Kaye Ballard was simply delightful

She had a streak for being funny

Jean Guillou was a classical organ master

Both for the glory and the money

How do You Keep the Music Playing?

When Michel Legrand is gone

You embrace the many gifts he left behind

So, his music will go on and on

And James Ingram who sang the song above

Left us way too soon

Yah Mo B There

Was my favorite JI tune

Russell Baker won a Pulitzer for journalistic humor

Margo Rodriguez was the Mistress of the Mambo

Oliver Mtukudzi was a master of tuku

In a Zimbabwean tuku combo

Jonas Mekas was the Godfather of Avant-Garde Cinema

Florence Knoll Bassett influenced office design

Bill Spence was a folk legend

And more than a passing acquaintance of mine

Julie Adams drove the Creature from the Black Lagoon crazy

Joe Sirola had an often-heard voice

Dick Miller was a B movie actor

Who was often Roger Corman’s choice

Rosamunde Pilcher wrote The Shell Seekers

Albert Finney brilliantly portrayed Tom Jones

Guy Webster photographed covers for The Mamas and the Papas

Simon & Garfunkel, the Doors and Stones

Harold Bradley played on thousands of Country hits

Robert Ryman’s paintings were mostly white

Heidi Toffler co-wrote Future Shock with her husband, Alvin

Although her credit was an oversight

Izzy Young was the guru of the folk revival

And proprietor of the Greenwich Village Folklore Center

John Mason pushed the boundaries of ceramics

And was a hands-on, wet clay mentor

Lili Wronker was a calligrapher and illustrator

C. Y. Lee wrote Flower Drum Song

David Horowitz was a TV advocate on Fight Back

Trying to right things that went wrong

Jan Wahl was a children’s book writer

Who worked with many famous illustrators

Tomi Ungerer was also a children’s author

And drew posters for protesting demonstrators

Ron Hutchinson restored sound

For old films, mostly on one reel

Ron Miller, Disney’ son-in-law, was ousted by a contentious board

How do you think that made him feel?

Mel A. Tomlinson was a powerful dancer for Alvin Ailey

The Dance Theater of Harlem and NYC Ballet

Mabel Lee was the Tap-dancing Queen of the Soundies

In a much less PC day

Betty Ballantine helped popularize the paperback

U Tin was a Burmese master of the slide guitar

Beverley Owen played Marilyn on The Munsters

Mac Wiseman was a Bluegrass star

Bruno Ganz was an acclaimed German actor

Downfall, The Party and Wings of Desire

You could claim that Ethel Ennis was Baltimore’s First Lady of Jazz

But you’d be preaching to the choir

Kiyoshi Koyama edited Japan’s Swing Journal

Karl Lagerfeld was an iconic fashion designer

Bibi Ferreira was the Grande Dame of Brazilian Musical Theater

And there was hardly anyone finer

Peter Tork was a Monkee

Hey! Hey!  You know what I mean?

Dr. Theodore Reuben wrote a book about patients, Lisa and David

Which became David and Lisa on the silver screen

Toni Myers directed IMAX movies shot by astronauts

Stanley Donen directed On the Town and Singin’ in the Rain

In the 60’s, there was a brilliant transgender soul singer

Whose name was Jackie Shane

W. E. B. Griffin authored more than 40 novels

Ken Nordine read his poetry to jazz

Dorothy Masuka’s anti-apartheid songs had as much of an impact

As anybody has

Fred Foster helped kickstart the careers of Roy Orbison and Dolly Parton

Dominick Argento’s operas were stylistically diverse

Mark Bramble wrote the book for Barnum

Which was anything but terse

Jeraldine Saunders; memoire was called The Love Boats

Inspired by her years on that TV show

Ira Gitler was an influential jazz critic

And I was sad to see him go

Mark Hollis led the Brit synth-pop band, Talk Talk

Katherine Helmond starred in Who’s the Boss? and Soap

Carolee Schneemann was a visionary feminist performance artist

Who gave other women artists hope

André Previn was a world-renown conductor/composer/pianist

His music had no bounds

And I was lucky enough to be invited often

To record his glorious sounds

Charles McCarry was a CIA spook turned spy novelist

Hugh Fordin recorded many a Broadway cast

Sid Sheinberg led the growth of Universal into an entertainment behemoth

Before his time had passed

Kevin Roche was a Pritzker-winning architect

Of the Ford Foundation and the Temple of Dendur

Michael Lynne helped turn the upstart New Line Cinema

Into a real box office contender

Peter Hurfurd was an acclaimed classical organist

Jan-Michael Vincent was an action movie star

Dick Dale was the leader of the Del-Tones

And The King of Surf Guitar

Jacques Loussier was a Jazz pianist who riffed on Bach

Edith Iglauer was Canada’s poetic voice

Vivian Cherry photographed NY street life

In black and white, by choice

Hal Blaine’s drums can be heard on thousands of songs

The Beach Boys, The Beatles and more

He could lay down a groove in any style

But was the master of four on the floor

W. S. Merwin was the poet of life’s effervescence

Marjorie Weinman Sharmat wrote Nate the Great

Johny Thompson, The Great Thomsoni, was a magician’s magician

In a prestidigitationally induced state

Al Silverman wrote Brian’s Song

Luke Perry starred in Beverly Hills, 90210

James Dapogny transcribed the works of Jellyroll Morton

So we’d know how the works of Jellyroll go

Okwui Enwezor was a Nigerian art curator

Whose installations were off the damn chart

Dan Robbins developed Paint-by-Numbers

So anyone could pretend to make art

J. H. Kwabena Nketia was an African music scholar

Genevieve Oswald curated the NY Public Library’s collection of dance

Rachel Ingalls’ almost forgotten novel,  Mrs. Caliban

Became the the Oscar-winning The Shape of Water romance

Richard Erdman played hundreds of characters

On TV and the bigger screen

Gary Stickells was the production manager

For both Paul McCartney and Queen

David White was a member of Danny and the Juniors

He wrote, At the Hop

Peggy Lipton was married to Quincy Jones

And played a Mod Squad TV cop

John Oddo was a pianist/conductor/arranger

And an all-around really good guy

Georgia Engel was quietly hilarious

 She’d make you laugh, she’d make you cry

Jonathan Baumbach wrote experimental novels

Seymour Cassel’s thing was quirky roles

Transcending his Dallas character

Was one of Ken Kercheval’s long-term goals

Lawrence Rhodes was a celebrated dancer and teacher

Sam Palafian played tuba in the band

Mark Medoff wrote Children of a Lesser God

With words lovingly signed by hand

Steve Golin produced Spotlight, The Revenant and Being John Malkovich

John Singleton directed Boyz N the Hood

Bibi Anderson was a Bergman favorite

Because she was very, very good

Warren Adler wrote The War of the Roses

The movie was a box office hit

Jo Sullivan Loesser starred in Most Happy Fella

And married Frank because of it

Gary Stewart was a Rhino Records exec

 He championed the very popular “Boxed Set”

David Picker green-lighted Bond, The Beatles and Midnight Cowboy

And that’s as good as green-lighting can get

Peter Mayhew played Chewbacca

He was Han Solo’s film friend

Fay McKenzie had a 100-year career as a singer and actress

And she worked ‘til the very end

Marilyn Mason was a world-renown organist

Les Murray was Australia’s unofficial Laureate Poet

Sol Yaged was a mainstay NY jazz clarinetist

Man, that cat could blow it

Quentin Fiore Illustrated for McLuhan, Jerry Rubin and Bucky Fuller

Davide Winters danced in a West Side Story gang

Chris Albertson wrote a biography

About the way that Bessie Smith sang

Doreen Spooner was a gender-pioneering British photo-journalist

Ben Heller was a champion of abstract art

Terry Allen Kramer was a five-time Tony-winner

Producing was her part

Beth Carvalho was the Godmother of Samba

Norma Miller was the Lindy-hopping Queen of Swing

Nurit Karlin was a brilliant New Yorker cartoonist

Without words, which was his thing

Chuck Kinder inspired Wonder Boys

Andrei Kramarevsky taught at the School of American Ballet

Verna Hart’s paintings expressed the rhythms of jazz

In a colorful sort of way

Alvin Sargent wrote Ordinary People and Julia

He won two Oscars for his writing

Jim Pike was the lead singer of The Lettermen

Who, in their heyday, were exciting

Doris Day

Herman Wouk wrote The Winds of War, The Caine Mutiny, Marjorie Morningstar

Judith Kerr wrote The Tiger Who Came to Tea

Robert Earle moderated TV’s College Bowl

Where kids could be all that they could be

Tim Conway was just plain funny

On McHale’a Navy and Carol Burnett

And Dorf, every time I watch a clip

I laugh until I’m wet

Machiko Kyo starred in Roshomon

Roger Hirson wrote the Pippin book

Everett Raymond Kinstler painted celebrity portraits

With a uniquely distinctive look

Jake Black wrote The Sopranos’ theme song

Tony Horwitz won the Pulitzer Prize

For writing Confederates in the Attic

About some sore-loser Confederate guys

Leon Redbone was a rapturous crooner

Tony Glover was a blues harp king

Henri Belolo co-founded the Village People

So he could dress-up like a cop and sing

Lawrence Leathers was a murdered, young drummer

David Esterly was a carver of wood

Franco Zeffirelli directed movies and operas

Extravagantly, because he could

Dr. John was called the Nitetripper

He was an ambassador and a fount

Of New Orleans hoo doo music

How much?  The normal amount

Sylvia Miles was a flamboyant actress

Midnight Cowboy was her cherry role

Velvel Pasternak helped preserve Hasidic music

At the roots of Jewish soul

Lil’ Buck Sinegal was a Louisiana guitar slinger

Susannah Hunnewell published the Paris Review

Gloria Vanderbilt was Anderson Cooper’s mom

Among hundreds of other things that she could do

Charles Reich wrote The Greening of America

Elliot Roberts managed Joni Mitchell and Neil Young

Gary Duncan’s Quicksilver Messenger Service songs

Were psychedelically sung

Suzan Pitt was a wildly inventive animator

Billy Drago was a movie bad guy

Peter Whitehead made the film Tonight, Let’s All Make Love in London

If you saw it, you might ask yourself, why?

Judith Krantz was the Queen of the Romance Novel

Bob Dorian hosted old films on AMC

Charles Ginnever created public sculptures

Geometrically

Dave Bartholomew was a producer arranger, composer

And a NOLA trumpeter of note

Martin Charnin was a musical theater lyricist

The Annie songs were some lyrics he wrote

John Shearer was a Look photographer

He shot the turbulent ‘60s years

Min Hogg edited World of Interiors

And was lauded by her peers

Barbara Hunt McLanahan directed NYC’s Children’s Museum of the Arts

Sid Ramin orchestrated West Side Story, Gypsy and A Funny Thing…

Arte Johnson was a star on Laugh-In

 Verrrrrrry Interesting

Max Wright was Willie Tanner on Alf

Jerry Lawson had a great a cappella voice

Jack Renner founded Telarc Records

To give music lovers a higher quality choice

Paul Benjamin was a character actor

In Escape from Alcatraz and Do the Right Thing

Johnny Clegg stood up against apartheid

With the songs and dances he’d bring

Ben Barenholtz gave us the “Midnight Movie”

Vivian Perlis founded the Oral History of American Music at Yale

Michael Colgrass was a composer/percussionist

Who received his Pulitzer in the mail

João Gilberto was a bossa nova genius

His music had no peer

Working on his iconic Amoroso

Was a highlight of my career

Rip Torn was an hilarious actor

The Larry Sanders Show, Men in Black

Michael Seidenberg ran a secret bookstore and literary salon

In his Eastside apartment, upstairs, in back

Valentina Cortese was an Italian movie star

Who sparkled in Truffaut’s Day for Night

Jerry Seltzer revived Roller Derby

So wild ladies could skate and fight

Artur Brauner was a Holocaust survivor

Who produced Europa Europa and Babi Yar

Alan Rogan was most rockers’ first call

As a tech for their guitar

Aaron Rosand was a virtuoso violinist and teacher

Russell Smith sang lead for the Amazing Rhythm Aces

César Pelli was an architect

 For many iconic, skyscraping places

Ida Wyman photographed ordinary people for Life

David Hedison captained the sub in TV’s Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea

Hugh Southern created the TKTS Booth

For ticket-bargain-hunters like you and me

Rutger Hauer was a snarky movie villain

In Blade Runner and Nighthawks

Russi Taylor is the voice that you hear

When Minnie Mouse, Huey, Dewey or Louie talks

Phil Hymes was SNL ‘s lighting director

David Berman led the indie-rock Silver Jews

Cokie Roberts was a veteran TV journalist

For ABC and NPR news

D. A. Pennebaker was a pioneer of Cinéma Vérité

Don’t Look Back and Monterey Pop

Art Neville played and sang with his Brothers and the Meters

Until his passing made him stop

Julia Farron was a Royal Ballet ballerina and teacher

As fine as she could be

Ben Johnston was a microtonal composer

Who had no use for middle C

Neil Estern sculpted monumental public works

Carlos Cruz-Diaz painted in shimmering hues

The world will miss Toni Morrison’s words

Her insights and her views

Anner Bylsma recorded the six Bach cello suites

Bob Wilbur was a disciple of Sidney Bechet

Lee Bennett Hopkins championed poetry for children

So, some children may be poets one day

Piero Tosi was an Oscar-nominated Italian costume designer

Peter Fonda was the Easy Rider

Katreese Barnes was a go-to NYC musician

 And an SNL insider

Edward Lewis defied the Blacklist to produce Spartacus

Barbara Crane was a photographic master of illusion

Robert Pirsig’s Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance changed the world

At least, that’s my conclusion

Ernie Colón drew Richie Rich

Richard Wilson created Who Framed Roger Rabbit?

Myrna Katz Frommer collected stories for It Happened in the Catskills

An orally-fixated historical habit

Charles Santore was a TV Guide cover artist

Then switched to illustrating children’s books

Orlando Suero took celebrity photographs

That hung in many gallery nooks

Mario Davidovsky was an electronic music pioneer

Donnie Fritts made rockin’ music in Muscle Shoals

Valerie Harper was our friend, Rhoda

One of her most endearing roles

Takis was a kinetic sculptor

Brunilda Ruiz was an original Joffrey dancer

James Atlas was an ambassador of in-depth biographies

Who kept digging for an answer

Clora Bryant was a pillar of the LA jazz scene

Peter Lindbergh photographed super models in black and white

Rosemary Kuhlmann sang the part of mother in Amahl and the Night Visitors

On NBC one night

LaShawn Daniels wrote songs for Whitney, Beyoncé and Michael Jackson

Terrance Dicks wrote for Dr. Who

Jimmy Johnson listed producer, studio guitarist and engineer

Among the things that he could do

Carol Lynley was a child actress in Blue Denim

And Under the Yum Yum Tree

Francisco Toledo wove indigenous themes into his art

For all the world to see

Camilo Sesto was a Spanish, Pop Superstar

Stanley Love’s choreography celebrated joy

Robert Frank, (The Americans), wanted to be a photographer

Ever since he was a little boy

Peter Nichols penned A Day in the Death of Joe Egg and Forget-Me-Not Lane

Sander Vanocur was a TV news anchor

Daniel Johnston’s Indie songs and art

Were full of angst and rancor

Neil Montanus’s Kodak Colorama photos

 Greeted Grand Central Terminal travelers for years

Phyllis Newman was remarkable

And beloved by all her peers

Eddie Money sang Two Tickets to Paradise

Mardik Martin wrote Mean Streets, New York, New York and Raging Bull

Alicia Alonso was a star of Cuba’s National Ballet

Her dance card was always full

Susan Kamil was a fearless editor/publisher

Of Salman Rushdie and Ta-Nehisi Coates

Mary Lyerly Alexander inspired Coltrane’s Cousin Mary

Although Trane inspired all the notes

Anne Rivers Siddons embraced her Atlanta roots

In her novel, Peachtree Road

Steve Dalachinsky was a poet

In an Avant-Gardist mode

Christopher Rouse’s compositions

Were equal parts delicacy and rage

Jimmy Nelson gave voice to Danny O’Day and Farfel

In a simpler TV age

Ric Ocasek drove the Cars

To rock-and-roll fame

Lee Salem published Cathy, The Far Side, The Boondocks and Calvin and Hobbes

But hardly anyone knew his name

John Cohen was a musician, photographer and filmmaking musicologist

He co-founded the New Lost City Ramblers string band

Betty Corwin ran the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts Theater on Film and Tape Archive

So, all that stuff would be easily at hand

Harold Mabern, Jr. was a beloved Jazz pianist and teacher

Bob Esty was the Disco King

Jessye Norman was royalty in the opera world

And I loved to hear her sing

Sol Stein published the great James Baldwin

Sid Haig played Captain Spaulding, with murderous intent

Rip Taylor was a flamboyant TV comedian

Whose antics were oddly bent

Robert Hunter wrote the lyrics to Uncle John’s Band

A mainstay of any Dead set

Wayne Fitzgerald designed the credits for Bonnie and Clyde and Footloose

To be as perfectly credited as they could get

Gianfranco Gorgoni photographed artists at work

Mary Abbott’s art was ignored due to her gender

Jimmy Spicer was an early, early rapper

And a usage and vocabulary bender

José José was the Mexican Prince of Song

Larry Willis payed Jazz and Pop

Mac Conner was a drawer of advertising cartoons

That were drawn to convince us to shop

Martin Bernheimer was the LA Times’ tart music critic

Karel Gott was the Sinatra of the East

Mordicai Gerstein illustrated children’s books

The Man Who Walked Between the Towers was a visual feast

Diahann Carroll broke the TV color barrier

To star in Julia in sixty-eight

Ginger Baker was the fabled Cream drummer

He was wildly, percussively great

Pierre Le-Tan illustrated New Yorker covers

Karen Pendleton was an original Mousekateer

Robert Forster directed me on Falcon Crest

When I had a recurring role one year

Paul Badura-Skoda was one of the most-recorded classical pianists

Stephen Swid purchased SESAC, the royalty collector

Bill Macy played the husband of Maude

Then became a well-respected TV director

Elaine Feinstein was an insightful poet, novelist and translator

Beverly Watkins played fiery blues guitar

Günter Kunert contrasted life in East and West Germany

And its permanently divisive scar

Anna Quayle played Eve in Stop the World, I Want to Get Off

I was Little Chap for one day

Phillip Gips’ movie posters for Rosemary’s Baby and Alien

Were brilliant, in a scarily creepy way

Jill Freedman photographed on the margins of society

Sam Bobrick created Saved by the Bell

Ed Clark was a pioneering Abstract Expressionist painter

Whose star rose and never fell

Milcho Leviev was a masterful studio pianist

Ray Santos played hot Latin sax

Walter J. Minton defied censors to publish Fannie Hill and Lolita

So, they wouldn’t fall through the cracks

Sally Soames shot photos in war zones

Kate Braverman wrote Palm Latitudes

Huang Yong Ping was a genre-bending conceptual artist

Who created conceptual, gender-bending nudes

Dana Fradon was a New Yorker cartoonist

Nick Tosches wrote celebrities’ stories

Like Dean Martin and Sonny Liston

About their tribulations and their glories

Scotty Bowers wrote the tell-all, Full Service

About being the Pimp to the Stars

Paul Berrere was a singer in Little Feat

And played both Fender and Gibson guitars

Emilio Nicolas, Sr. founded the Univision Network

Ed Cray wrote biographies of Woody Guthrie and Levi Strauss

Kadri Gopalnath introduced the saxophone to Indian music

So, there’d be some sax in the Bollywood house

Bernard Slade wrote the play Same Time Next Year

And created The Partridge Family show

Ernest J. Gaines wrote The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman

Just in case you wanted to know

Bob Evans was a flamboyant movie producer

The Godfather, Chinatown and The Cotton Club were but three

Of the battles he fought with famous actors and directors

And there were times he fought with me

Meyer Ackerman brought hard-to-find films

To his single-screen theaters in New York City

Maria Perego created the beloved Topo Gigio

Then she died…and that’s a pity

Al Burton produced TV’s Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman

The Jeffersons and The Facts of Life

Michael J. Pollard was the quirky sidekick actor who played C. W. Moss

In the film about Clyde and Bonnie, his wife

Ann Crumb acted in Anna Karenina, Les Miserables

And brilliantly in Aspects of Love

Rick Ludwin green-lighted Seinfeld

Which worked out when push came to shove

William Branch wrote, acted and produced

Black history shows for stage and TV

Jan Erik Kongshaug was an ECM recording engineer

Not inconsequentially

Marie Laforêt was a French singer and actress

The Girl with the Golden Eyes

Gay Byrne was a revered late-night Irish TV host

He’ll be missed, that’s no surprise

Robert Norris was The Marlboro Man

He made it look cool for us to smoke

And though he wasn’t a smoker he died of lung cancer

And that’s a cruel and karmic joke

Stephen Dixon wrote experimental fiction

Robert Freeman shot Fab Four covers

Gahan Wilson was a macabre cartoonist

Who appealed to dark, goth lovers

Frank Giles published the fake Hitler Diaries

His boss, Rupert Murdock, insisted

Frank Biondi was the CEO of HBO, Viacom and Universal

Among the companies I found listed

Shoji Sadao implemented designs by Bucky Fuller and Isamu Naguchi

Nick Clifford was the last of the Mt. Rushmore crew

Branko Lustig survived the Holocaust to produce Schindler’s List

Because it was something he was meant to do

Terry O’Neill was a celebrity photographer

He shot the Beatles and some others

Kehinde Lijadu wrote songs and sang of injustice and hope

To uplift his Nigerian brothers

William Loren Katz wrote history books for children

Filling in ignored African-American contributions

Robert K. Massie wrote Nicholas and Alexandra

About the czarists’ executions

John Simon was a curmudgeonly art critic

Marilyn Yalom wrote about famous wives and breasts

Jonathan Miller was an inventive British theater and opera director

Known for his fine, bespoken vests

D. C. Fontana went where no woman had gone before

To join the Star Trek writers’ table

Marion McClinton directed August Wilson’s plays

As best as he was able

Leon Cleobury led the fabled King’s College Choir of England

For a while, in old Hong Kong

Irving Burgie was Harry Belafonte’s friend

Who wrote Day-O, (The Banana Boat Song)

Clive James was a witty entertainment critic

British Telly celeb and poet

Howard Cruse depicted his gay experience in comic strips

When nobody else would show it

Joe Smith ran Warner Bros., Elektra and Capitol Records

Marie Fredriksson sang Roxette’s lead

If you wanted to produce hits like Charlie’s Angels and Fantasy Island

Leonard Cohen was the guy you’d need

Raeanne Rubenstein photographed Warhol and Parton

Philip McKeon played the son on Alice

If where you lived reflected your percussive prowess

Emil Richards would have lived in a palace

Ron Leibman won the Tony for Angels in America

And stood out in Norma Rae and Slaughterhouse Five

Rina Lazo was a muralist disciple of Diego Rivera

Back when Diego was still alive

Caroll Spinney was Oscar the Grouch

And millions loved him as Big Bird

Gershon Kingsley composed songs using Moog synthesizers

Pop Corn was one you may have heard

We watched René Auberjonois in M*A*S*H  and Deep Space 9

Claudine Auger was a Bond Girl in Thunderball

Moonstruck and Purple Rose of Cairo were great films

Because someone gave Danny Aiello a call

Richard Eaton won a Tony for The Invention of Love

William Luce wrote Belle of Amherst

In the world of composing and teaching electronic music

Ruth Anderson was among the first

William McFeely was a Pulitzer-winning historian

 And wrote biographies of Frederick Douglas and Grant

Anna Karina starred in French New Wave Cinema

Where she often played the aunt

Ken Heyman was a revelatory photographer

In the time of Life’s and Look’s populist glory

Larry Heinemann wrote a very personal Viet Nam War novel

The searing, Paco’s Story

Elizabeth Spencer wrote The Light in the Piazza

Johanna Lindsey was a best-selling writer of romance

Dalton Baldwin, among accompanists for classical singers

Brought his unique eminence to the dance

Arthur Singer, Jr. helped establish the Corporation for Public Broadcasting

Sue Lyon played Lolita as a fourteen-year-old

Don Imus spewed crap on the radio

Shocking…if the truth be told

Jerry Herman was a Broadway composer

He wrote Hello Dolly and Mame

 And La Cage aux Folles just to list three

Which accounted for his fame

Lee Mendelson produced A Charlie Brown Christmas

Seen by millions every year

And he also wrote the lyric

To the iconic Christmas Time is Here

Sleepy LaBeef was a legend in the Rock-a-Billy world

But

If you were gigging in LA

And wanted to have the best time ever

You’d call Jack Sheldon to sing and/or play

Neil Innes wrote goofy songs

With the Monty Python crew

And then parodied the Beatles by starting the Rutles

To show what he could do

The year took its toll on the musical force

Right up to its final day

Sadly, the force dimmed one last time

Vic Juris passed away

 

Allee Willis was an artist

Creatively miles deep

Those who knew her and those who didn’t

Still have Allee memories to keep

In that place where you put anything

To cherish and adore it

Allee Willis walked among us

And we are, each of us, better for it

 

Sports

 

Gene Okerlund was the voice of Pro Wrestling

Mel Stottlemyre was a Yankee ace

Bob Friend was a Pirates pitcher in the 1960 World Series

Who kept the Yankees in the race

Alice Dye designed golf courses

Gene Littler had the purest golf swing

Marilynn Smith was an LPGA founder

Ladies golfing was her thing

Frank Robinson was the first black MLB manager

And a slugger in his day

King Kong Bundy was a gargantuan wrestler

Who had little he wanted to say

Ted Lindsay was a Red Wings power forward

Forrest Gregg was an Ironman on the Packer’s line

Bart Starr was a football legend

And an imaginary friend of mine

Don Newcombe was a racial-barrier-breaking pitcher

On the Dodgers baseball team

Clearing the highest bar

Was Don Bragg’s Olympic pole vaulting dream

Eusebio Pedroza was a seven-year Featherweight champ

Cal Ramsey was the color commentator for the Knicks

Michael Doyle was a big time surfing champ

Who knew all of those surfing tricks

Harry Howell was a Rangers star defenseman

John MacLeod coached the Phoenix Suns

Rosie Ruiz was the disqualified winner

Of one of those Boston Marathon runs

Gino Marchetti was a Baltimore Colts lineman

Niki Lauda was a champ in Formula One

Pat Bowlen owned the Broncos and won three Super Bowl rings

And then, his time was done

John Havlicek was a legendary Celtic forward

He won eight titles in his day

Harold Lederman was a boxing judge and HBO commentator

Who always had a lot to say

Edwin Drummond was a climber, poet and activist

He scaled the Statue of Liberty for human rights

Pernell Whitaker was a four-division boxing champ

Who fought only forty-six fights

Bill Buckner was an All-Star first baseman

His World Series error was his most memorable play

Pumpsie Green was the first black player signed

Back in the very white Red Sox day

Jim Bouton was a Yankee knuckleball pitcher

He wrote the personally revealing Ball Four

Gerry Murray was a Roller Derby star

Who enjoyed rolling on the floor

Walt Michaels was a feisty coach for the NY Jets

Felice Gimondi won cycling’s Triple Crown

Harvey Frommer was the Yankee historian

Who wrote a lot of Yankee history down

Keith Lincoln was a star in the Charger’s only championship win

Mike Stefanik was a NASCAR champion and fan

Sherm Poppen was the Father of the Snowboard

Since snowboarding first began

Nick Buoniconti was an All-Pro Dolphins linebacker

Who championed sports medical research studies

Jack Whitaker spent decades in the CBS and ABC booths

With his other broadcasting buddies

Cliff Branch was a lightning-fast Raider receiver

Al Carmichael caught the first AFL touchdown pass

Davo Karnicar was the first to ski down Everest

Because his balls were made of brass

Howard “Hopalong” Cassady was a champion Lions running back

Brad Gobright was a fearless free climber

Harrison Dillard was a master of the high hurdles

And an Olympic gold medal five-timer

Bill Bidwell moved the Cardinals from St. Louise to Arizona

Wayne Merry was the first to scale El Capitan’s peak

Peter Snell was a record-breaking middle-distance runner

With an amazing winning streak

Masaichi Kaneda was Japan’s “Emperor” of Baseball

Ron Fairly was a Dodger star and play-by-play guy

Fred Cox was a Viking kicker who invented the Nerf Football

So you could throw a football in your brother’s eye

Al Bianchi was the Knicks coach and GM

Wat Misaka was the first Asian in the NBA

Jake Burton was the Godfather of Snowboarding

Who loved a snowy winter’s day

•••

Mortality’s a bitch

Aging makes me sick

They’re the carbon-based life form’s cosmic punchline

Of a humorless dirty trick

We come and we go, that’s pre-ordained

Maybe the Buddhists have it right

And our energy springs into some other being

Through a Karmically mapped insight

Or some other version of afterlife

Or nothing…that’s how I feel

I’m all about the time we spend right here on Earth

The stuff we know is real

And who we touch and how we love

The kindnesses we share

How we’re remembered is eternity

While the time and noise and glare

Is but the future moving on without us

Until a story comes to mind

Or a photo or a poem

Or some work we’ve left behind

Is shared, hopefully, with fondness

That we weren’t just here for naught

And we’ve added to the cumulative life force

By the things we learned and taught

 

If you live a full, long life

In your plus column, you may write

The names of those who made you fuller

And helped you through your darkest night

Tim Boyle would make my list

He was affably reliant

While his talent, like his heart

Were both lovable and giant

Ed Cherney was my shoulder devil

He got me willingly in trouble

And shared his unbridled depth of gleefulness

But alas

The magical Eddie bubble

Burst

But his smile and joy and art

Left a trove of loving memories

From Ed’s huge and kindly heart

 

•••

 

O

In case you’ve been wondering about me and Oprah

Things are going fine

Although I haven’t yet gotten her on board

With this brilliant idea of mine

I think she should run for President

She needs to take one for the team

And before you scoff, take a sec

This is smarter than it may seem

Who doesn’t like my babe, Oprah?

She’s smart, she’s rich, she’s kind

A philanthropic celebrity

You may look, but you won’t find

Anyone better to lift up the nation

Bring sanity back in play

Think about it…I’ll get back to you on this

But for now, that’s all I’ve got to say

Except

You should pick up a copy of jOel Magazine

It will tell you everything that you need to know

And because I’m a teaser, I’m only showing the cover

Which you can check out right below

 

 

Denouement

The ball has dropped

’19 is done

We had some laughs

We had some fun

But

Mostly there was chaos

A fissure in The Force

I’ve invoked his name enough

So

No need for redundancy

Of course

We have to make some better choices

If not, we’re clinically insane

And though the smiling and the drooling

Of the non-responsive brain

My have appeal

Like reality TV

This isn’t how Darwin imagined our species

Would one day evolve to be

We’re supposedly deductive

We have that special, free-choice mind

But we’ve too often chosen hatred and bias

Instead of simply to be kind

But that won’t cut it anymore

It’s brought us to the brink

Let’s all take an optimistic cleansing breath

And have a Universal Think

Our colors are all beautiful

We’re all the same inside

If you’re  compelled to pick a god to worship

Pick one who’s anti genocide

And borders are all imaginary lines

Like imaginary wealth

Which seriously can’t buy happiness

Or gracefulness or health

But knowing that all the world

Is housed and clothed and fed

Should be the prayer we all kneel down to pray

Before we go to bed

Easily said for a rhymer

Preachy, I admit

The alternative, sadly, is a new 366-day year

Of more of the same old shit

•••

Hunger is still, sadly, all around

It weighs heavy on my ‘tude

So, as is my tradition

I’ve made a lovable donation in all of your names to

Project Angel Food

https://www.angelfood.org

This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. kikione1 says:

    We all can make the needed changes- face our challenges and create new opportunities.

  2. Dan T. says:

    Amazing. Another brilliant summary. We made it to the new decade. Though the prospect of not hitting rock bottom yet is sobering. Pray this is the year for a turnaround.

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