2:00PM Water Cooler 12/28/2021

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Patient readers, I will be taking a holiday breather, and running an abbreviated Water Cooler though January 3, 2022 (may it be a better year). Please consider this an open thread, and talk amongst yourselves. –lambert

Bird Song of the Day

One turtle dove. English countryside birds in the background, and time to grab a cup of coffee.

* * *

Here are a couple Covid charts. Case count by United States regions:

We’re gonna need a bigger chart. I have helpfully added an anti-triumphalist “Fauci Line.” Worth noting the case count is probably an undercount. Home tests don’t get counted, and not everybody can go get a test. I also added a vertical line for election day (since we were given to understand that the Biden administration was organizing a Covid response from that date). Obviously, the peak from November through March isn’t Biden’s fault; the train left the station while Trump was in office. The next two (or three) are.

Here are the CDC’s rapid riser counties as of 12/23/2021:

Thanks to the sharp eyes of alert reader ChrisFromGeorgia, I have helpfully dotted the major cities that are also rapid riser counties — in blue. Looks like those Blue Cities have some sort of Enemy Within thing going on…. (Chicago isn’t red, but pink, so no dot.)

* * *

I didn’t decide to take a breather so I could write about the CDC or the Biden Administration’s latest Trump-like idiocy, so I’m not going there. But you can! (“Covid Year Two (Unlocked)” is a really good podcast, recommended by The West Wing Thing.)

Reliving my misspent youth on YouTube, I ran into the following account, which posts full-length, complete Grateful Dead concerts: Wall of Sound. The recordings are from the soundboard, so are of very high quality. Many audiophile-style adjustments have been more. This note is typical: “The dynamic range of the official release is 9 but for this it is 15.”

Most of these recordings are from 1972 – 1977, when I was misspending my youth. Hater’s don’t @ me, but the Dead of that era were a great band with an enormous catalog and unique interplay between the musicians, but especially and in retrospect obviously a dance band (odd for me, since as a WASP’s WASP, all I can really so is shuffle about). But what I best like about these recordings is that I can hear Phil Lesh, who was my favorite. I went looking for some high-falutin’ commentary, and found this:

In folk, blues, and dance music of all kinds, the role of the bass guitar is typically to play simple repeated patterns at a steady pace, reflecting and motivating the cyclical rhythms of dancing and singing. The subtle rhythmic variations of the bass against a steady drumbeat (or vice versa) become powerful in the context of extended and anticipated repetition, as the tension between different cycles creates a “rhythmic harmony” between implied patterns. Phil Lesh’s bass parts represent the very antithesis of this standard. Significant degrees of repetition are present only with respect to the underlying harmonic-rhythmic core of the compositions, rarely within or across his own phrases. By his own admission Lesh finds it impossible to play exact repetitions of a bass line. Because he never repeats a passage exactly, the sense of “homecoming” when any given familiar musical passage returns is always tempered. The listener is returning, but also moving ahead into new and alternate versions of the familiar….

That the Grateful Dead were one of the most successful bands of their era in motivating huge audiences to free-form dance in spite of unusual time-signatures, the frequent use of slow tempos, and the absence of predictable bass parts is a phenomenon whose unique qualities can hardly be overstated. While not a single member of the band played in a conventional dance music style, their live performances were entirely focused around dancing and rarely failed to stimulate the vast majority of large audiences in this respect, often to ecstatic heights and over marathon durations.

Paradoxically, it was Lesh’s unwillingness and/or inability to play a basic rhythmic and harmonic foundation to their songs that allowed the Grateful Dead to evolve into one of American’s most successful and most rhythmically complex dance bands. Lacking the “bottom line,” the listener’s musical and physical awareness is forced “out” and “up” into the polyphonic interplay “above” where the bass is expected to be, where it sometimes encounters Lesh himself, playing the bass, but not the bass part unconsciously anticipated.

Fun stuff. (Another view: When asked how to play like Phil Lesh, one cranky commenter responded: “Play everything but the root and everywhere but on the beat.” Yes, and?)

Sadly, I can’t listen to these concerts while falling asleep; you can’t fall asleep to music this toe-tapping. But if, over the holidays, you have something to do — or not do — for a couple of hours, want a musical background, and don’t object to the band, you could do a lot worse than check out Wall of Sound. Oh, this is the actual “Wall of Sound“:

* * *

Contact information for plants: Readers, feel free to contact me at lambert [UNDERSCORE] strether [DOT] corrente [AT] yahoo [DOT] com, to (a) find out how to send me a check if you are allergic to PayPal and (b) to find out how to send me images of plants. Vegetables are fine! Fungi and coral are deemed to be honorary plants! If you want your handle to appear as a credit, please place it at the start of your mail in parentheses: (thus). Otherwise, I will anonymize by using your initials. See the previous Water Cooler (with plant) here. Today’s plant (Copeland):

Copeland writes: “Since there’s been some discussion of mistletoe over the holidays, I thought I would try to capture the plants, along with fresh snow (over 12 inches!) near my house. I believe this is Phoradendron villosum on Quercus garryana, Oregon White Oak.” I love the angle of this shot. This is what you see when you take a walk outside and look up at the sky, instead of down at your shoes.

* * *

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About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.


  1. Wukchumni

    The NFL is crumbling as players contract Covid, crazy mismatches in games of what often is the FNG (football new guys) thrust into action for the first time ever to take the place of the stricken-one can almost see the butterflies they must be feeling, not that it makes for any consistency and can more or less wreck a season for a contending team for all the wrong reasons in being forced to field a gaggle of rookies, with crunch time, playoffs & Super Bowl looming large in LA in theory, if the new & improved* season can outlast Covid.

    * now with approx 6% more games!

    1. Objective Ace

      I dont understand how the NFL thought not testing asymptomatic players would be beneficial. The desicion should have been a “bubble” like the NBA did 2 seasons ago.

  2. Tom Stone

    Thanks for the link to the Dead, their New Years performances were wonderful, I caught 5 in a row plus a number of other performances at a variety of venues.

    1. Nikkikat

      I spent most of my money on concerts for many years. Saw everyone. Nothing like a Dead Concert! Except maybe the Stones. Great Dead show anytime I went. The atmosphere was always great too. Crowd was teens to people in their 80s. Satellite radio Grateful Dead channel has live concerts almost everyday.
      Just Truckin with Sugar Magnolias

    2. Stephen V.

      I guess I must’ve really inhaled but despite living in FL and SoCal in the 70’s I never connected with the Dead. But a couple of years ago on my way to a meeting (on Death, actually!) And across the car radio comes what I later learned was Fire on the Mountain. Couldn’t stop listening to it. A whole new world opened up. THANKS for more Dead Lambert!

    3. GramSci

      Trained as a classical bassist (I couldn’t afford my own axe, but I could rent a bass from the HS orchestra) I never had much success jammin’. It’s like they always wanted *me* to keep the drummer on the beat. It’s testimony to the Dead’s musicianship that they let Lesh do his thing.

      1. eg

        Self-taught sometime bassist myself, but I’m of little use other than to play the root and have decent rhythm (primarily play rhythm guitar). No chance am I improvising anything.

    4. lordkoos

      Although not always a huge fan, I saw the Dead live three times back in the 1970s, the best being a Winterland show in San Francisco around 1974.

      Another time I saw them in Washington DC where they had this crazy PA and monitor system put together by their man Owsley, which was a total clusterf***. I realized that it doesn’t matter how good the PA is if the guy running it is high on acid.

      Regarding Phil Lesh, he got away with a lot in that band, but he must get credit for inspiring some really terrible bass playing from some of his wanna-be acolytes, which I was forced to endure on various gigs where the bassist obviously had Phil as an inspiration…

    5. LilD

      My first time was the 2/9/73 show at Maples (Stanford U), my freshman year…
      One of my buddies had an extra ticket…
      I had never heard of them nor had I ever been to a pot infused basketball arena with a super springy floor…
      Totally amazing.
      Just finished listening to it. Nothing seems familiar but everything is familiar

      Saw them every few years. Was in San Diego a few months before Jerry died.

      Try to model my solos after Jerry’s style. My guitar might be broken because it doesn’t sound the same

  3. JacobiteInTraining

    I grew up just a little late to really do the Dead, although I did hang out a couple times at old Autzen Stadium in Eugene Oregon to hear them play from out in the parking lot, 85 or 87 or so. Great experience.

    But for whatever reason – this has always been my fave song of theirs. Wistful….I often listen to it when the weight of loss is killin me and I just want to sit on a stump up at my cabin, toke it up, drink it down, and cry my eyes out.

    I listen to it, and they remind me to ….”try, just a little bit harder, would ya? It’ll beeeeee OK friend.”


  4. Lee

    “Thanks to the sharp eyes of alert reader ChrisFromGeorgia, I have helpfully dotted the major cities that are also rapid riser counties — in blue. Looks like those Blue Cities have some sort of Enemy Within thing going on…. (Chicago isn’t red, but pink, so no dot.)”

    If my very blue, highly vaccinated area is any indication, based on our local Covid case map, the “Enemy Within” are the lower income folks. With one notable exception, the UC Berkeley campus is a Covid hotspot.

    1. Fiery Hunt

      Oh, I dunno bout that…

      Can’t tell you how many well-to-do people have told me about their travels and parties and family gatherings and trips to the movies and…because they’re “All triple vaxxed!” .

      And I’m just thru the tunnels from ya.

    2. drumlin woodchuckles

      Maybe its just the extreme population density of these cities, plus the ventilation-prevention design of the buildings that thousands or millions of people are packed into.

      Perhaps cities are just inherently plague traps in a way that suburbs and countryside just aren’t.

    3. John Beech

      And I’m thinking major air hubs, Atlanta, Miami, Detroit, NY, Washington, Dallas, Houston, Seattle . . . missing is ORD and MCO (Chicago and Orlando, was McCoy) and it looks like Denver is coming on strong. Curious MCO is almost colorless.

    4. lordkoos

      Seattle, now an Omicron hot spot, had been extremely strict about having to show proof of vaccination before eating in a restaurant etc. But, once inside the restaurants it was masks off all the way, even in small, cramped places.

  5. Lost in OR

    In ’96 I traveled with 6 friends from Mt Desert Island ME to Upstate VT to see the Dead. Because of my long legs I was honored with the suicide seat in a station wagon Taurus (you know when they drive a Taurus they’ve given up on the American dream). What an interminable ride. Arriving though, to my first and only Dead concert was like a first go into P-town or Key West. What a trip.

    My memory of the concert is the opposite of the critics. Dylan was horrid. The Dead were… the Dead.

  6. BMW DOG

    Ah…..San Francisco in the late 60’s and to hear the Dead in the Park for free and in a wonderful cloud of smoke. Brings back great memories……where are all those wonderful folks now? Hiding out in little cabins in the rural zones…….

    1. Laughingsong

      I was blessed to see them free in GG Park, but in the 70s (75 I think…. With Jefferson Starship) ….this was very special for a couple of reasons: one, this was after a touring hiatus, and two, we left high school that day with excused absences from the “alternative“ counselor who was himself a huge deadhead! He drove about seven of us up in his Volkswagen van to the concert. What a memorable day!

      RIP Karl Griepenberg, the best high school counselor ever!

      1. Laughingsong

        Ah sorry! I was conflating 2 memories of Karl! The 70s were good to me! He excused us on a different day and took us up to Mount Tamalpais for an afternoon. He did take us to the GGP concert but I don’t think it was a school day… I will have to look up the exact date when I get a chance.

        He was still a brilliant light of my teen life regardless.

  7. Henry Moon Pie

    I was not a Dead fan. For me, it was Jefferson Airplane (w/ another great bassist, Jack Casady). But I have seen the Dead. It was ’94 at Soldiers’ Field in Chicago with Sting, on the Ten Summoner’s Tales tour, as warm-up. The crowd was all Deadheads, and when they didn’t pay much attention to Sting, he played three or four songs from the album and split in a huff.

      1. John Zelnicker

        Hot Tuna was a great duo with Jorma Kaukonen and Jack Casaday.

        I once got hired as stage security for a concert of theirs at a skating rink in Camden, NJ in the early 70’s. It was really cold in there, but I was stationed at the barriers in front of the stage and had one of the best seats in the house.

        For those unfamiliar, they originally wanted to name the band Hot Sh!t, but were talked out of it by their record company.

        1. Leftcoastindie

          I won’t mention what Hot Tuna means…something to do with surfer slang.
          Great band. I have had the pleasure seeing them a few times.

      2. Stillfeelinthebern

        Hot Tuna, have not listened to them in a long time. They are more in tomorrow’s list.
        Thanks for the mention, brings back glorious memories of being young and full of hope for a better world. One of my first live concerts was Jefferson Airplane. Grace Slick was very pregnant, the music was marvelous.

  8. stefan

    I attended all three nights of the Grateful Dead/New Riders concerts at the Manhattan Center in April, 1971. Chatted up Pigpen McKernan at a diner around the corner after one of those concerts.

    In the fall of 1972, I heard them at the Winterland Ballroom in San Francisco; tripped acid by myself on that occasion. I remember singing with Donna Godchaux that night. (“Playing in the Band”)

    Heard them outdoors on a sunny afternoon at Kezar Stadium in Golden Gate Park in the springtime, 1973. Went AWOL to attend that concert; don’t ask me how I managed to get away with that.

    Shipped out to Camp Drake, Japan that July.

  9. Don Utter

    Here is an example of what could have been done with Covid in the US

    How many hundreds of thousand needlessly dead, how many millions with bad consequences – long Covid, lost job, lifetime injury from vaccine…

    When you are facing a `17% death rate, and the country of 10 million has only 125 emergency room beds, and your country has very limited resources, effective problem solving is needed.

    “How does Honduras continue to CRUSH COVID-19?”

    1. Lee

      Many countries much poorer than the U.S. have done considerably better in protecting their citizens.

      Some of my comments I find so nice, I post them twice. From today’s Links:

      December 28, 2021 at 8:54 am

      Why China is still trying to achieve zero Covid BBC

      This article gives a pretty comprehensive description of Chinese disease control measures, which are often breathtaking in their scope. It is worth noting that China with a PPP income of $17K is apparently able to afford to shutdown a significant portion of its productive capacity by quarantining at times millions of its citizens, while in the U.S., PPP $66K, resistance to such measures is based in large part on economic considerations.

      I’m engaging in some speculative spitballing here, well outside my ken, but there is a certain line of thinking that keeps coming up for me.

      I don’t know what percentage of the Chinese workforce is engaged in materially essential production but I’ll bet it is higher than the 60% of the U.S. workforce (EPI). So, 40% of the U.S. workforce could not show up for work and material privation, beyond what is currently being experienced in the U.S., need not be the result. And yet we are hell bent for leather to keep everyone on the job at all times and at all costs.

      But the stock market keeps going up so I guess everything is jake.

      Reply ↓

      December 28, 2021 at 10:21 am

      Covid deaths in China: approximately 10,000 in a population of approximately 1 million (many Western media claims these are phony statistics, I do not).

      Covid deaths in the USA: approaching 900,000 in a population of 340 million.

      Reply ↓

      December 28, 2021 at 2:09 pm

      I was just looking at Cuban stats and they too seem to be doing remarkably well compared to the Leader of the Free World™. They also have their very own vaccine, Soberano, which our MSM seems to assiduously ignore.

    2. Milton

      Hmmm. I think you mean crushed by Covid as free market Honduras, with their 370k cases and 10000+ deaths, fares rather badly when compared to Nicaragua’s 211 deaths and 13000 cases.

      1. Don Utter

        Lets compare USA with Honduras using worldometers and their 7 day numbers

        8,072 vs 38 deaths in last 7 days

        24 vs .2 deaths per million in the last 7 days (US vs Honduras)

        120 times .2 = 24

        US has 120 times the death rate of Honduras

        Lets divide 8072 by 120 to get 67 deaths per week if US was at same rate as Honduras

  10. Sardonia

    On Phil Lesh’s bass playing. There’s an old adage among musicians. If you’re playing rock and make a mistake, ignore it and just keep playing. If you’re playing jazz and make a mistake, repeat it.

  11. QuicksilverMessenger

    My misspent youth was about fifteen years after you. But in my college (and apparently a lot of colleges all over the country given how huge the Dead became at that time) in the late 80s/ early 90s there was a big noticeable clique of young deadheads. I kind of like some of the Dead stuff but back then, man, my friends used to really ridicule them and all these kids following them as “museum pieces”. We’ve got Sonic Youth, Replacements, Pixies, Bad Brains, Pogues, all the new Seattle stuff, the golden age of HipHop, and you’re taking trips to the museum? It seemed very conservative to us. But now, whatever. You like what you like

  12. Watt4Bob

    I watched a great interview with Jerry Garcia on You Tube, wherein he explained that what the Dead were doing was like Dixieland Jazz, everyone soloing at the same time.

    As far as that goes, I’d never heard Dixieland described that way.

    That goes a long way toward explaining the comments on Phil’s Bass playing, and everyone else’s for that matter.

    It’s taken me a long time to ‘get’ what it is they are doing, but it now seems obvious, they’re jazz musicians, and the interplay within the moment is where the ‘action’ is.

    Hearing Jerry’s explanation was the key.

    1. ambrit

      Oh my goodness. I think you’ve figured out what’s the matter with Overton’s Windowpane.
      My favourite was China Cat Sunflower and a hefty slug of Bovine Mycology Brew.
      Yes, do get cover of Aoxomoxoa and “read” it.
      See: https://purpleclover.littlethings.com/entertainment/8048-album-covers-hidden-message/item/led-zeppelin-symbols (See images #16 and #17.)
      Also: http://www.feelnumb.com/2012/03/13/grateful-dead-album-aoxomoxoa-hidden-message/
      Now, as to playing certain albums backwards…..

  13. Robert Hahl

    Grateful Dead – Sugar Magnolia / Scarlet Begonias / Fire On The Mountain (Winterland 12/31/78)

    “This is the opening sequence from one of the most famous, and highly regarded, Grateful Dead shows of all time, the Closing Of Winterland. With opening acts the New Riders of the Purple Sage and the Blues Brothers, the Dead didn’t hit the stage until midnight, and played until the sun rose. Bill Graham served breakfast to everyone after the show.” – David Lemieux

  14. Eureka Springs

    As I age I find talking about art can so often destroy it. Funny since so much of my life has involved deep lasting relationships with artists of all sorts and of course talking about it more than perhaps anything else in total.
    For me, moving to San Francisco in ’85 – ’94. I landed in that scene without plan. I didn’t have to follow. Over the next ten years I ushered at the Warfield which of course was Jerry’s JGB home. And of course I would see the Dead most shows when in the bay area. My only regret – wish I could have traveled to see them locale would have been a Red Rocks series.

    I never called it this at the time but it was church, plain and simple. One of so many churches in my life. Sitting in a high corner office on Market and Montgomery in an Italian suit at quitting time, popping into the restroom like superman in a phone booth, popping back out in some jeans and a dead shirt always made me laugh as I would join so many others in mass exodus of a rush to BART over to a show in Oak town.

    There was an outdoor show up Calavares county way I remember in particular. Unexpectedly rain started pouring down as the very first song played. Not a person left or even tried to shelter for long, everyone let loose in dance with even more gusto than usual and I think they played a full show, nearly three hours of rain songs. I’d love to hear a board of that show again.

    If I had a dollar for every bootleg cassette tape, now gone….

  15. SomeGuyinAZ

    I missed the Dead sadly, but I love seeing Phil Lesh or Bob Weir when they have Derek Trucks and Susan Tedeschi join them – or join The Tedeschi Trucks Band on stage (ex Lockn’ 2016 with Phil and friends with Derek & Susan) — just so much joy and top notch music. TTB and Gov’t Mule are two jam bands I really hope I get to see live in the future.

    Sheesh, left out Widespread Panic too, d’oh.

  16. petal

    Dead.net has been giving away 30 songs over 30 days in November for a few years. Might still be able to grab them. Love the Dead but never got to see them. My big brother saw them in Rochester and said it was one of the best shows he’s ever been to. I often listen to their live stuff when I run.

    I hope this is okay to do(def remove if not)-this Phishhead would like to plug Phish’s Dinner and a Movie NYE show. Their run at MSG has been cancelled due to covid, so they are going to webcast a free 3 set concert NYE starting at 830p EST(they are going to perform sans audience). There are lemony dinner recipes at the link(making lemonade out of lemons), and the show can be watched on their YT channel and at LivePhish.com. Should be a lot of fun, and great music.

  17. Kate

    I first saw the Dead in Sacramento in the late 70’s. I was maybe 19 or 20 and such a “square” uninitiated chick from a boring East Bay suburb in my basic jeans and mall-brand tee. I loved the show but what I remember most vividly were the female Deadheads–gloriously attired in real Victorian lace, floaty Indian skirts, velvet, every kind of thrifted wonder. They were a revelation to me.

  18. John Zelnicker

    I saw the Dead probably 15 times in the early 70’s at the Nassau Coliseum on Long Island, the Spectrum in Philadelphia, and other venues, including the Saenger Theater in New Orleans in the early 80’s.

    “There is nothing like a Grateful Dead concert” and each one of them was unique.

    Jerry left us far too young.

    1. stefan

      The day Jerry Garcia died in August 1995, the radio announced that Grateful Dead fans would congregate on the National Mall later that day.

      In the late afternoon, I went to the Lincoln Memorial. Although I didn’t run into any other fans, the sunset across the Potomac River over Arlington Cemetery was extraordinarily radiant, reflecting orange, rose, and purple light on the memorial’s limestone columns and pavement.

      We now return our souls to the creator,
      as we stand on the edge of eternal darkness.
      Let our chant fill the void,
      in order that others may know.
      In the land of the night,
      the ship of the sun,
      is drawn by the grateful dead.

    2. ambrit

      I too saw the Dead at the Saengar Theatre in New Orleans. Something of a “return from the Dead,” as they had sworn never to step foot in N’awlins after their infamous bust at the Royal Sonesta Hotel. I shared digs with the son of a bigwig at the time at that hotel. He stated that his dad swore that the police had planted the evidence used to press charges against the band. Then as now, the police of New Orleans are about as corrupt as can be found in America. It is not a coincidence that Werner Herzog set his ‘sequel’ to Bad Leutenant in New Orleans. (Our son met Nicholas Cage, during the filming of the movie, one night while partying with friends in the French Quarter, hung out with him and his group for a while, and had photos to prove it. Now he’s “all grown up” and doesn’t talk about those times. *Groan*)

      1. John Zelnicker

        ambrit – Perhaps we were at the same show, with both of us dancing in the aisles.

        It was an excellent show, sadly the last time I saw a Dead show.

        What a long, strange trip it’s been!

  19. dcblogger

    January 12 & MLK Weekend: Send Amazon A Message – No to Union Busting!
    January 12 is Jeff Bezos’s birthday, send him a birthday message:
    Jeff Bezos’s birthday is not an occasion to celebrate, it’s a reason to rise up. The working conditions for Amazon workers are so terrible that the annual turnover rate for Amazon workers is 150%. Amazon is also arguably the biggest, the most determined, the most sophisticated, and the most vicious union-busting corporation on earth.This is why Bezos earned the reputation as union-buster-in-chief. From Staten Island NYC, to Bessemer Ala, To Chicago, Amazon workers are organizing, fighting back, and walking off the job to demand better conditions and union recognition.



  20. Katiebird

    > Sadly, I can’t listen to these concerts while falling asleep; you can’t fall asleep to music this toe-tapping.

    I can. The Grateful Dead always put me to sleep. VERY embarrassing at concerts.

    1. lordkoos

      I liked some of their songs a lot, but yeah, the interminable jams were definitely sleep-inducing. Maybe if you were high on LSD it was different…

      1. Randall Flagg

        As the old joke goes,
        What did one Deadhead say to the other when they ran out of weed?
        Hey, these guys really do suck.

        To each there own,

  21. Otis B Driftwood

    I grew up with a guy who had an entire bookshelf in his apartment filled with bootleg tape recordings of Dead concerts. Another childhood friend spent all the insurance money he got from a near fatal car accident following the Dead around the country during one of their tours.

    Completely baffling to me as I never liked their music (like nails on a chalkboard, actually). But I’m sure there were things about me that baffled them, too.

  22. Kevin Carhart

    Fred Turner: “On October 15, 1965, [Ken] Kesey was invited to speak at a rally against the Vietnam War in Berkeley. Organizers expected a fiery speech and a joining of the New Left and the growing counterculture. But rather than orate, Kesey simply stood up and announced to the audience, ‘You know, you’re not gonna stop this war with this rally, by marching … That’s what _they_ do.’ He then pulled out his harmonica and played ‘Home on the Range.’ In keeping with psychedelic visions of transpersonal harmony (and with cybernetic and Romantic visions of a world linked by invisible currents of energy and information), Kesey rejected as fundamentally false the dynamics of confrontation called for by the moment and by the logic of the cold war more generally. He simply stood up and demanded that the audience not confront their enemies, but instead turn away from them and come together elsewhere.”

    Philip Mirowski: “While drugs such as caffeine, amphetamine, and Benzedrine had long been used to boost awareness, experimentation in the 1960s with drugs such as LSD, peyote, and psilocybin was oriented to subvert and otherwise alter mental identities in the user. Whereas the hippie drug culture was notionally an artifact of a rebellious counterculture, in fact the experience of taking these psychotropic hallucinogens provided one of the early testbeds for the discipline of the neoliberal transmogrification of the self. Some of the drugs heightened the experience of being a spectator at one’s own performance, while others fostered dissociation from past behavior; endless analysis of trips after the fact reinforced belief in the plasticity of the self.”

    1. ambrit

      Then there is the whole questionable “scene” in the Topanga Canyon.
      I always was distrustful of the entire “Hippie” scene. Too much of an upper middle class ‘escape from reality’ performance piece. The Beatnicks are more my style.

    2. Darius

      Ken Kesey sounds like a real drip. Performative contrarianism. This kind of horse manure shows why the hippies fizzled out.

  23. Randy

    I didn’t like the Grateful Dead in 1972. IMO the vocals were awful and what I had heard of their music was only OK.

    Now for a little background.

    They performed two shows at the Milwaukee PAC on 9/23 and 9/24/72. At the time I was a student at Ripon College, Ripon, WI, an expensive private college attended by a lot of rich East Coast children. I was there because my costs were the same as a public WI school after generous financial aid from Ripon.

    This was my first exposure to wealthy people’s offspring. My roommate had a wealthy grandma as his benefactor and he was a TOTAL jerk. I was fed up with him in a month. By the end of the semester even the other rich students were done with him. I could talk for an hour about that place.

    Back to the Dead. The Milwaukee PAC was a small venue, about 3000 seats. Made for music, velour seats that reclined, the place sounded like you were wearing a gigantic set of headphones. My friend from NY stood in line for four tickets to the two shows. He got front row seats in the middle (actually about row 5 because the first four rows were promotional seats). He had plans for using the tickets to help in his quest for a woman to brighten his life. He was not very good looking and a little weird so no girls were found to accompany him to the shows. So he asked me if I wanted to go. I said no, I didn’t like the Dead. He had to talk me into going to this concert. He also sweetened the offer with a tab of pure synthetic mescaline (tested in a lab in NYC). All I had to do was pay $12 for the ticket, an offer I couldn’t refuse. He also drove.

    It was one of best experiences of my life. A carnival atmosphere, the Dead opened with “Bertha” and played nonstop until their 15 minute break after which they proceeded to give their “customers” over three hours of nonstop music total. Their work ethic was supreme, I was getting tired after three hours of just listening.

    That is how I became a dedicated Dead fan but I had to be bribed to get there.

    After the show the Dead got a visit from the US Secret Service. They were one floor up in their hotel from presidential candidate George McGovern. They were lighting up firecrackers and the Secret Service didn’t like that.

    Afterwards I went to two more Dead shows at big venues which were made for sports not music. Both concerts were a waste of time and money and if either had been my first experience with the Dead I still wouldn’t like them.

    The ’70’s! Those were the true good ol’ days.

    1. Stillfeelinthebern

      I left Ripon, WI in Sept 1972. Went off to college. Will never forget the live music (Twisting Harvey!) on Saturday nights at the college student center. That’s college made living there bearable.

  24. lance ringquist

    great article and correct over view that under free trade prices will just keep going up driving america and the west further into grinding poverty. thus we must produce our own.

    however she misses that huge pink elephant standing right next to her, nafta billy clintons disastrous policies.

    if nafta billy clintons wall street targets much of that production that has become profitable, they will swoop in and send it right offshore under nafta billy clintons free trade. or bleed it through stock buybacks and other scams like ceo pay.

    so really, any talk of reform you cannot skip over the parasites and parasitical policies nafta billy clinton un-leased on america and the world.


    December 28, 2021
    The Real Antidote to Inflation
    by Ellen Brown

  25. Jason Boxman

    So The NY Times is degenerate.

    As a third year of the pandemic loomed, the seven-day average of U.S. cases topped 267,000 on Tuesday, according to a New York Times database.


    The previous U.S. daily cases record was set on Jan. 11, 2021, when the seven-day average was 251,232. That was during a catastrophic winter that was far worse than this moment, when over 62 percent of Americans are fully vaccinated. And early evidence, including some hopeful reports from South Africa, suggests Omicron causes milder symptoms than other variants, with vaccinations and boosters helping prevent serious illness and death.

    I guess it’s okay. And mild in this case merely means not hospitalized. You can get quite sick. You can get long COVID.

    Omicron is undoubtedly becoming the dominant variant and that could be good news: A new laboratory study carried out by South African scientists showed that people who have recovered from an infection with the variant may be able to fend off later infections from Delta.

    Well, isn’t that good news then. Go die for capitalism.

    This might be the most incompetent government in recent history. I regret having lived this long. I don’t particularly want to see how this ends. Citizens deserve better.

  26. Heidi's Walker

    Saw them once, Halloween show 1985 in Columbia, SC. Great show! They opened with Werewolves of London.

  27. Hepativore

    As long as we are talking about music, how about some Tangerine Dream? Even though their heyday was back in the 1970’s and 1980’s, they are unmatched when it comes to advant garde music and most of their stuff is instrumental.

    Tangerine Dream – Stratosfear (Album,1976)


  28. drumlin woodchuckles

    @ Eclair,

    I left some more corn comments in the tiny corn-subthread part of the thread on this post .. .

    @ Tom Pfotzer,

    I left a comment about reliable edible fruit/nut/berry growing woody perennials already existing now and ready for integrating into the right kinds of engineered savanah-form foodscapes and etc. I left it in the thread from this post here . . .

  29. skippy

    I’m going take the Grateful Dead to task and some are going to be a wee bit miffed …

    OK lets start off with it beings as collage band back in its inception with the intent to be successful above all else, so it started off with small gigs where it gave out LSD to the front row ***FREE*** … This lubed up and already ingrained social dynamic which thought it was going some place contra the old way and these devices were the way to get there. That all went splat in the broader social dynamic yet it still persisted regardless due some savvy marketing, hay how many so called youthful hippies went on to greater things in the free market.

    So it positioned itself like a cult with nary a bar to what one did for a life and even if it sucked your soul out, in the day, you could always pop a GD song on and all the bad would go away like a pill or a bong. All the early attendees that made packet or status carried the narrative upwards and with it their fame. More absurdly they became the anti status band of the most wealthy kids in the U.S. legion are the bootleg tapes of past life experiences in acoustically poor quality but sought after like some rare item to be worshiped. These kids parents thought romantically to the past and their dalliances as uninformed rebellious youth and identified it as a part of passage to adulthood.

    Gosh don’t make me regurgitate all the experiences I had in the elite family’s of L.A. and the East Coast as the prodigal son or daughter returns home during the holiday season in peasant garb only to hear the adults in the room reminisce.

    End of story it was a marking effort back to front and the biggest grossing profit live band in the U.S.

    1. skippy

      I’ll add that its attendees are two completely different social status aficionados … the ones that are wandering devotees and the rich that take the pilgrimage to off load their parents conceived sins in youth and as a brotherhood latter on in life … been there and done that thingy … barf …

      What did these people really do for the planet never the less humanity and get lionized whilst making silly money …

      1. Wukchumni

        What did these people really do for the planet never the less humanity and get lionized whilst making silly money …

        The very same could be said about oh so many troubadours from the 70’s who as luck had it, made more money than anybody on Wall*Street, and some wrecked hotel rooms and lived vicariously through drugs, but in the end we have their work, stuck in time only in need of you tapping your fingers on the QWERTY to conjure it up.

        Now, the richest people we know are in danger of wrecking not a hotel room, but the entire planet.

        And what sort of music or art did we get out of the Unabankers & Illionaires? All they did was compete against one another to buy their way in visa vis holding up a bidding paddle @ an art auction, in order to hide a painting away from the public by allowing only a precious few to ever view it in person.

        FD: I know a few dozen GD songs and am a lukewarm fan at best, and I probably went to 200 rock concerts in LA in the 70’s to 00’s, but not one of theirs…

      2. drumlin woodchuckles

        Well . . . what did Bob Dylan ever do for the planet other than get lionized while making silly money?
        Nothing more than the Grateful Dead ever did.

        I never did go to any Grateful Bob Dylandead concerts of any kind. I never was a concert goer, because “reasons”.

        But I find Grateful Dead music musically beautiful to listen to nowadays. And some of Dylan’s songs are very interesting. I especially enjoy the rage, hate, bile and spite of Positively 42nd Street as a bracing relief from all the ” Peeece and Luhhhhv ” of a lot of the music of that time.

    2. wol

      Contrast with the Northern Soul of the Midlands and North of England at the same time. Class conscious working class young adults who lived for weekends spent dancing all night to rare non-mainstream American soul. Drug of choice was dexedrine which enabled all-night dancing and encouraged an increasingly athletic style. Fashions for all genders evolved to high-waisted elephant bell-bottoms for freedom of movement. Extended BBC doc: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dNAiKCWMv30 .

    3. skippy

      E.g. the grateful dead is everything the don’t look up ascribes to oh look squirrel trick … cuz I feel[tm] good/groovy before impact …

    4. dougie

      OH, jeez. NC was my last online “safe” space, where I never had hear about how awesome the Dead was. Yep, I saw them once in 75. Let’s just say my “Dead period” was rather short, as I found scads of more interesting (to me) bands to follow. I can personally attest that one can misspend their youth, and not have one single Dead related story to bore you with!

      I don’t hunt, golf, or participate in competitive lawn endeavors. I would, by an order of magnitude MUCH rather hear your stories about these boring (again, to me) activities, than endure another single minute of some tale about some Dead show you saw decades ago.

      Frank Zappa once said “Talking about music is like dancing about architecture”. Maybe that’s what all those noodle dancing hippies were doing back in the day, dancing about architecture?

    5. ChrisRUEcon

      In the 90’s, I worked for a certain US telecom (with campuses all over the garden state *wink-wink*) where my little office IT group – legacy mainframers (MVS/COBOL) slowing moving to UNIX/Oracle/SAP – were all Dead Heads! Like … serious dead heads. And so it was that I found myself one warm summer evening in Giants Stadium at a Dead show. Although I was not a fan, I enjoyed the concert. I could feel the passion and the excitement. It was so much more than just the music. One thing I did become keenly aware of from the group was that some older Dead Heads hated the “Touch Heads”. “Touch Heads” were those younger, more affluent kids of the MTV generation who got into the ‘Dead because of their one hit video for “Touch of Grey” (via YouTube). The folks I hung out with had followed the dead for ages, collected bootleg cassettes, set lists and so on from multiple shows at the same venue. The “Touch Heads” didn’t have that kind of reverence or history from what I gathered.

      Back then, I also had a trifling interest in the machinations of the music industry. One of the things I found out from reading Billboard and other publications was what an absolute touring juggernaut The Dead were. To my recollection, the were always at or near the top of the earnings from touring list every year. That was pretty much their major source of income – merchandise aside. I mean, think about it: they let people freely record live shows, and they didn’t out out a lot of music on physical media – can’t get pirated by #Napster if you’re letting people make their own bootlegs! So from that perspective, I don’t besmirch them their earnings at all. Good on them.

      I’ll end my comment by sharing that my work friends all had a good laugh at me when I told them what song I liked most at the concert – “Picasso Moon” (via YouTube). Apparently, one of the least liked songs by Dead Heads … LOL … feel free to confirm if you’re a ‘Dead fan!

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