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R.I.P. Leonard Cohen; November 7, 2016

Leonard Cohen photo by machine
Photo by machine; from the album cover of Songs of Leonard Cohen

As if he foresaw that he would not be able to tolerate a Trump presidency and had already decided not to move back to his native Canada, Leonard Cohen died in his sleep on November 7th, 2016, a day before the 2016 U.S. presidential election. He was 82.

Leonard was truly one of my most important musical heroes. I was introduced to him in 1972 and my teenage spirit was immediately drawn to the existential angst and incense of teenage melancholy embodied in his songs. But moreover, it was his poetry that drew me in. I must have learned at least 40 of his songs on the guitar and I can still recite the lyrics for most of them from memory.

And then sweeping up the jokers that he left behind,
You find he did not leave you very much,
not even laughter.
Like any dealer he was watching for a
card that was so high and wild,
He’d never need to deal another.
He was just some Joseph looking for a manger.
He was just some Joseph looking for a manger.

– Leonard Cohen, The Stranger Song from the Songs of Leonard Cohen, 1967

I was lucky enough to see Leonard at Carnegie Hall in 1989 which was his first concert in more than 20 years. Since he had been absent from any scene for so long,  at the time, it was a bit of struggle to find people  who even knew who Cohen was. But for fans, the Carnegie concert was a long awaited event. And an unusual crowd of fans donned their respective regalia as a mixture of  40 and 50 somethings in tuxedos and 20 somethings in punker gear gathered as one as if to both stand to bear witness as well has to pay tribute. Leonard performed a year later at Madison Square Garden and I also attended that show. It decent show in it’s own right, but not the spectacle that was the Carnegie Hall performance.

What Leonard lacked in the way of hit songs, he made up for with a very loyal fan base. Joe Cocker and Judy Collins did covers of Cohen’s song Bird on a Wire in the 70’s.  And Ms. Collins was also probably the most prolific artist in the interpretation of Leonard’s work. But for the most part, much of Cohen’s work was not widely performed or played. But still he influenced many. A tribute album called I’m Your Fan released in the early 90’s contained songs from a veritable who’s who of journeyman performers and alt-rock headliners.

Leonard’s music often found it’s way to film and his songs turned up in the soundtracks of over 50 films. McCabe and Mrs. Miller, 1971 uses three early songs, Oliver Stone’s Natural Born Killers uses three of Cohen’s mid-career songs. But his cinematic breakthrough, so to speak, came in the form of a movie about a green ogre named Shrek which contained the song Hallelujah which went on to became Cohen’s best known and most loved song.

Cohen became much more active after 2001 when he released a new album Ten New Songs. And he subesequently began to perform regularly. Rumor had it that this resurgence was because his business partner had absconded with all of his money. But whatever the reason, Cohen’s late in life burst of activity has resulted in the public’s gain and his greater recognition as an artist. In the final four years of this life, he released three albums, including Old Ideas which became number one in many countries and placed number three on Billboards top 200. His final album, You Want It Darker, was released three weeks before his death.

So, goodbye Leonard. You will be missed. We will do our best to keep the poetry alive in your physical absence. And your music will certainly live on.

Pat Buchanan says Trump might win. Pat who, you say?

In a recent interview, citing wide-spread discontent among the white working class, Pat Buchanan said that Trump might just win this election.

You remember Pat Buchanan don’t you? You don’t?

This election has been more about the media deciding what we should be thinking rather than about the issues or even the candidates.

They have artfully succeeded in turning this race — between a pompous ass who will say anything to get attention and an extremely qualified candidate who’s main sins are her husband, that she’s a woman, and a politician — into a horse race where the pompous ass might just win.

Yet this same phenomenon is true in most elections, it’s just that this year, with Trump as a candidate, it seems even more untenable and over the top.

The media has dumbed everything down to the 3rd grade level, “Trump said what?” is on the first page.

Editor’s comments: “What Trump said is a lie.” are buried much later reserved for the small minority who are not just passing by.

Buried still further, but you really have to dig for it: “Most of what Trump says is a lie, well 80% or so at least. At least!”

And then the next day, almost the same headline. And the same buried analysis.

This is not done in the service of the public, or even to dumb us down as that already seems to have happened. What it does do is make for a good story that even a child could grasp: i.e. He said, she said with no pretense of the most rudimentary character judgments or even the facts. It grabs eyeballs. It’s easy to understand. And most importantly it sells advertising.

So who is Pat Buchanan you ask?

Pat Buchanan was a senior aid to Presidents Nixon through Reagan. He was the original host of CNN’s Crossfire. He ran for president in 92, 96 and 2000. He has been a contributor on CNN, MSNBC and now with Fox. In his hey-day he was considered somewhat of a right wing extremist, but now post-Tea-Party and Post-Trump, he seems a little less extreme, even though his views have not changed.

But how much of what Pat Buchanan says is simply to say something or say anything? Just like Trump says anything. Just like most of the rest of the media seem to just be saying anything.

So, simply stated, you should listen to Pat because he is still speaking.  He still has a platform and a megaphone. He’s been a commentator for so many years that now he’s famous just for being famous.

And he thinks Trump could win. It makes a good story. At least it got him another interview didn’t it?

why I don’t want to live on this planet any more

t-shirt
First they came for the proofreaders… (why I don’t want to live on this planet any more)

So I saw this cute shirt. Just one problem, well maybe two.

1.
First problem may seem minor but it’s actually really huge, because while the sentiments of this shirt might seem at first to be clever and cute they are actually superficial and banal, if not just poorly thought out.

I mean can’t you come up with anything better than “I don’t want to live here anymore?” What next, are you going to cry about it? Do you think you are the first one to come up with the idea of escaping reality by claiming that the current reality is somehow beneath you? Like you don’t live in an entire culture that increasingly does nothing but try to escape?

Bad show I say. Instead why don’t you get truly clever and come up with a slogan that instills in young children the need to take more civic responsibilty? Then maybe in another 20 years or so we could start to dig our heads out of our asses, take some responsibility for what’s going on and not be quite in such a mess that we find ourselves in now.

2.
Second problem, who the hell did the proofreading? Don’t you see it?

Dear “very clever shirt-makers”: if you have the audacity to put Trump and Clinton in the same category, at least give a shit about your stupid shirt enough to spell Hillary’s name right.

Which leads me to another tangent:

First they came for the Proofreaders, and I did not speak out,
Because I was not a Proofreader.

With such faith in spell check, soon we’ll all be riding in self-driving cars and then why not self-driving helicopters, drones and nuclear substations. Hey, the whole world could be put on auto pilot. And then how far off are we from having Governmentgoogle?


But I digress…


Revealing my sources…

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out,
Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out,
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out,
Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me and there was no one left to speak for me.

why won’t you return my e-mails? part 2

In the last few weeks I’ve had occasion to send emails to a number of people that I’ve been out of touch with for some time. I was very shocked that I only got a less than a 5% response rate.

It’s true that I asked a few of my recipients for favors, like acting as my reference in an upcoming job hunt, so I can understand some hesitancy to respond. Still, I’ve known many of these people for years, some even for decades.

The near total lack of response was surprising, considering how well I thought I knew some of the recipients.  It was actually quite maddening, if not a bit depressing.

In trying to figure what happened, I got really reflective and wondered if somehow, I had wronged them all. Was I really being a jerk when I thought I was being nice? Was I completely misguided in how close I thought I once was to some of them?

I soon discovered that I was not alone in all of these feelings. It’s a definite trend that people don’t respond to emails, even from people that they know and like. And it drives everyone crazy,

One researcher noted, “We’ve seen an increase in the nonresponse rather than just politely declining. You delete it and hope it goes away, just like if someone comes to your door and you pretend you’re not home.”

Another writer noted that in some cases, that “No response is the new no.” But added this this is often not always true. He cited that “sometimes people would put aside an e-mail to give a longer, thoughtful reply later, but then waited too long and felt embarrassed to send it.” So there’s lots of possibilities.

It’s clear that unanswered e-mails cause everyone a great deal of anxiety. The most common suggestion for ways to get a response is to send a polite reminder. I sent reminders to my list and got a 20% response rate.

The next most common suggestion is just to accept that many people are just never going to respond.

My own personal theory is that in a culture where technology is moving faster than our brains, that we’re just too overwhelmed and busy multitasking to weed out the good from the bad. Perhaps spammers and endless ads everywhere have just inundated us to the point that we have begun to just ignore everything.

For another perspective, one writer asked several Buddhist monks, why they thought people didn’t respond to e-mails. The last of the responses came from a monk who responded that,

“Patience is the ability to end our expectations.”

How Buddhist of him.

And yet can someone really wait forever? On my third reminder, I told people how important they were to me. This increased by response rate to 60%.

So if you want to do it right, you can review this: E-mail Etiquette 101

But don’t miss this…

A wise person at the New Yorker put together a calendar for the whole year of why people don’t respond to e-mails.  Why the People You E-mailed Aren’t E-mailing You Back, by Week

This really explains so much. As for my own situation, I remain hopeful that the rest of the people on my list will still send me a response. Someday.

why won’t you return my e-mails? part 1

When I was a teenager, I used to talk to everyone I’d meet. One day I met some white middle class New Yorker Buddhist types who said that they chanted all day as a way to get whatever they needed or wanted. They would chant for their food and they’d get food. They’d chant for their cigarettes and they’d get cigarettes. (Yes they really used this example) Myself I was amused that the cosmic powers of the universe would be so kind. But after all, this was a pre-anti-tobacco-litigation era.

The chant these Buddhists used was

“Nam Myoho Renge Kyo”

Which roughly translated means that each person has the power to overcome any difficulty in life.


Recently I sent out a ton of e-mails to old friends and acquaintances and got almost no response. I found this very frustrating, if not a bit depressing.

So to be proactive I have devised my own chant to deal with this problem. It goes like this,

“Hey bro, don’t dis my email yo.”

Seems like many many people have this same problem. I’m hoping that that this might be of help to others.

Or for you purists out there, here is the traditional 24 minute chant.
Nam Myoho Renge Kyo – 24 Minute Chant.

And the traditional 1 hour chant is here.
Nam Myoho Renge Kyo – 1 Hour Daimoku – Chanting

Best of luck. I hope this helps.

Japanese disclaimer

I’ve added translators for Spanish and French to this blog, because I figure if it’s good enough for other companies doing business in North America, well then it’s good enough for me too.

I’ve also added an Icelandic translator, just because I think the letters look really cool and even though I’ve never been, it seems like a really cool country which I believe was recently ranked as the country with the second happiest citizens. So that’s really cool too.

And I’ve added a Japanese translator because Japanese looks even cooler than Icelandic and because I love of some of the quirkier aspects of the Japanese culture, sushi, samurais, anime, traditional folk dancing, planting cherry blossom trees everywhere and other stuff like that.

Bear in mind that this site is translated by robots and that not a solitary soul even tries to check the veracity of any of it. So for legal reasons I must offer this disclaimer as follows: deanheagleblog.com shares no responsibility for any actions or reactions resulting from the accuracy or inaccuracy of any statement contained or not contained herein particularly as this may or may not affect the loss of limb, loss of life, mental or physical illness or even slight discomfort, a bad rash in an embarrassing place, or the harming of anyone or anything. Furthermore, all characters appearing in this work (unless stated otherwise) are fictitious and any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental. And we also don’t hurt any animals.

Once upon a time, in an age that my kids refer to as the “olden days”, I used to get a newsletter from a company that did multi-language translations and typesetting. This was in the days  before robots could do everything better than people. One of my favorite features of this newsletter was a section that told horror stories about bad translations, when no one in charge bothered to take a peak outside or had any regional understanding of the local culture.

One such horror story told how Pepsi translated “Catch that Pepsi spirit” into Japanese and the effective cultural translation worked out to be something like “With Pepsi, your ancestors will come back to haunt you”. So obviously that was not good for sales.

If you’d like see an old Pepsi ad and take a scary trip back to 1977, you can do so HERE. Now imagine watching this commerical with the awareness that your ancestors had come back to haunt you. And if you were already scared, then you’d be doubly scared then.

My lawyers tell me that to be on the safe side, I should make everyone who visits this site submit a digital signature to a disclaimer shielding me from any legal claims.
However, instead I will simply advise you: “DON’T BELIEVE EVERYTHING YOU READ (NO MATTER IN  WHAT LANGUAGE) PEOPLE. AND ESPECIALLY IF IT’S ON THE INTERNETS.” It might all be made up to start out with and then via a bad translation, it might become doubly made up. I’m just trying to play fair here. I just thought you’d like to know.

R.I.P. Paul Kantner, Signe Anderson; January 28, 2016

kantner_andersonI was always a huge fan of Jefferson Airplane. But to me, Paul Kantner was just another one of the guys in the band. Because for me, it was always about Grace Slick who I had a huge crush on from the time I was fourteen.

I learned more about Paul when he and Grace got together in 1971 to make an album called Sunfighter and create a baby named China Wing Kanter. For someone only fourteen, Sunfighter seemed epic,  indeed a wondrous trip through rock, folk, history, animal instinct, overtones of imagined cannibalism, almost a whole other very strange world.

As for Signe Anderson, I wouldn’t have even known who she was had she not died on the same day as Kantner. I have since learned that she was the original singer for the Airplane but made the decision to leave when she learned she was pregnant. She continued to sing for the rest of her life, but never regained her chance at significant fame.

We should celebrate both Paul and Signe for being extremely brave people.

Paul just kept exploring, he kept pushing his music further, he tended to stay constructive, he saw the problems with the world, but yet believed that humanity would rise above it. He believed that one day we would ascend to the stars.

Signe for her part probably couldn’t see into the future any better than most of us, but she had the foresight to know what was most important. She had the wisdom to know that being a mother was more important than chasing after fame. That having a home was better for the child than being on the road. The strength to give up so much in favor of a simpler path, makes Signe seem to me as the braver of the two. And I think Paul was extremely brave.

The dead are never that far away. Thank you for your brave spirits. R.I.P. Signe and Paul!

all my watch caps in a row

In Target, I actually found someone who worked there, and asked her if they had any single  color, non-branded knitted caps. She gave me a dull stare like she couldn’t even imagine what I was talking about. So another quest had begun.

I wanted to buy some winter gear for my family but I just wanted simple gear, not branded, not patterned, a single color would do. At first I was confused by many seller’s listing of kid’s sizes and I tried to figure would what size my kids heads were. That threw me off for a bit.

And then tired of all of the endless Google advertisements, I decided to go to the source, the U.S. Military, the king of all stocking caps. So I bought four Rothco Genuine U.S.N. Wool Watch Caps. Not sure if this is the same exact cap used by the Navy, but they are good enough to get the D.O.D. seal. And if they are good enough for combat, chances are that they will work just fine on a snowy day in the back yard.

watchhatandseal

The caps fit me, my wife, my 12 year old and my 9 year old perfectly. No need for kid’s sizes, that was a red herring. These were a bargain at only $8 for 100% wool, made in the U.S.A.. Seems you just can’t get that at Target. They’re available in many places and you could do worse than supporting your local army/navy store. If you absolutely can’t find these caps anywhere else, you can find them HERE.


Since one thing leads to another, especially with me, I then found myself on a quest for un-branded mittens in general and the exact mittens of my childhood in particular.

The mittens of my childhood were called chopper mittens and consisted of a removable wool liner and a leather, (pigskin, goatskin or buckskin) outer shell.

Searching the web, I found that a lot of items were called chopper mittens, but many of them clearly were not. Many designs were complicated by a built-in liner, liners not made made of wool or lots of other alternate designs. At one point, I even ordered a set for my family from Amazon, but the quality was poor and the liners were not removable. So I returned them. So I ultimately concentrated on looking for stores or outfitters in areas that were known to have cold winters. And I finally found I found these choppers in the Midwest and indeed they were the real deal and a beauty to behold.

Lauer_1420_Yellow_Main__55378.1415812401.1280.1280What I found were Joseph Lauer Chopper Mittens. I found mine in Plymouth, MN at a store called the The Foursome. From their website: This rugged and durable chopper’s mitt is assembled to last, according to quality standards established in the late 1800’s, when the enterprise was housed in the basement of Joseph Lauer’s clothing store in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. 

And because I was confused about sizing, I even called them and spoke to someone who actually worked in the store and was super helpful. You too can probably find someone super helpful at 763-473-4667. Or you can also order them online HERE.

The Lauer family tradition apparently continues under the name of the Milwaukee Glove Co. located in Marinette, WI. I worry of the future of this company since they have absolutely no online presence at all. And one of the senior Lauers recently died, also not a good sign. I haven’t tried, but you might try to get a printed catalog from them by calling: (715) 735-5921.

I wish you luck in your own cap and mitten quest. And don’t forget to support family owned businesses.

hello world!

Welcome to WordPress. This is your first post. Edit or delete it, then start blogging!

It was so exciting to install WordPress and get this message. I’m sure to be a famous blogger in no time.

Edit or delete it. Well of course, I’d want to edit it. Well, what I really want to do is add to it.

So as a note to the success of my first post, first I’d like to thank WordPress and the spirit of open source and all of the people dedicated to the process. I’d also like to thank the people who developed PHP and made the phrase “Hello World!” a standard in confirming server side connectivity.

And to all of the pioneers, like Grace Hopper and all of the others too numerous to mention or even remember, who toiled with bedroom-sized machines that could do almost nothing. And to Al Gore who invented the internet, (never said that, but sorta did have huge foresight in funding the idea). And of course thanks to my mother and family for their constant support and belief in me, even when it was clear that I had become a bad seed, but they kept the faith and saw me through those growth spurts until it all turned out alright anyway.

And to my fellow city dwellers past and present, like Nikolai Tesla who not only had the spark to give us modern electricity and so much more, but was also known to entertain the likes of Mark Twain with an earthquake or two.

And for Edison who lived across the Hudson, whose imagination, single-mindedness and unbridled greed and who along with Westinghouse and other financiers helped make the grid what it is today, even though by now it just may have caused a problem or two of its own.

And finally to Alexander Graham Bell, without whose invention, the world wouldn’t be the same and Apple stock certainly wouldn’t be so overvalued. For in the end it was Bell who was first to say those magic words, “Mr. Watson come here.” “I want to see you” which if you really think about it, was a lot like saying “Hello World”, so that I and so many others could say those words again and again on WordPresses all across the galaxy.

And to all of the other pioneers and friends who I don’t have time to mention. Thank you! Thank you!

It is for you, that I proudly say with great feeling and triumph and like so many others, but hopefully with my own voice, “HELLO WORLD!”