Sunday, December 01, 2013

Another Disappointment: Trans-Siberian Orchestra Sponsors Rush Limbaugh

by Dick Mac

Trans-Siberian Orchestra (TSO) is known for their amazingly spectacular shows that are popular around the world.  I know many people who have seen them repeatedly and can't get enough.  At least two of those friends are missing the current tour.  One of them already purchased tickets he is hoping to sell; but if not he feels as though it's a small price to pay to send a message to TSO.

What message? Play "Freebird"?  Nope!  Come to find out, TSO is a sponsor of the Rush Limbaugh radio show.

Limbaugh's popularity has plummeted, thanks not only to his insane life philosophy and political posturing, but also due to the efforts of the Stop Rush Limbaugh folks who have promoted a boycott of his sponsors in an effort to defund the monster.

Many many people dislike Limbaugh and disagree with him; but they are Americans.  Americans are unlikely to take any action, even on matters they support, because . . . well . . . that's now the American Way.  Be upset and angry but take no action.

You CAN take action if you like.  Start by "Liking" the boycott page on Facebook: and follow their campaign.  Eventually something will catch your eye and spark you to take action.  Just like this TSO revelation has sparked me.

Don't see the current TSO tour and tell them why.  Tell the venue that you are not attending because of their affiliation with Limbaugh.  Tell everyone!

So you can be clear about who is doing what, these two links discuss all Limbaugh sponsors and TSO's sponsorship activity:

Rush Limbaugh Sponsor List:

TSO Sponsorship Activity:

Here is an example of what I write when I contact a radio station:
I rely on the media, especially the radio, to provide me with information about the world.
When a radio station decides to air something like the Rush Limbaugh Show I question their integrity.
Rush Limbaugh preaches hate and intolerance, he pits Americans against each other.
We need YOU to help stop his hate.  Please consider removing the Rush Limbaugh show from your line-up.
Thank you for your time.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Fifty Years Without JFK

by Dick Mac

It actually doesn't seem possible that fifty years have passed since that awkward afternoon at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Grammar School.

I remember it like yesterday.  Actually, with my now-feeble mind, I actually remember it more clearly than yesterday.

We were in math class, the first class after lunch break (if I remember correctly) and we were studiously grinding away at First Grade Math:  1+4=5, 5-4=1, etc.  The really challenging stuff.  My teacher was Miss Concannon, one of two lay teachers in the grammar school.

There were fifteen classrooms in use at that time:  three rooms each of Grades 1-5.  We had just a thousand kids or so in the old school building on Smith Street, in Mission Hill.

Sister Loretta was another First Grade teacher, in the room across the hall.

She came into our classroom without knocking (unheard of) and rushed to a very startled Miss Concannon's desk.

Sister Loretta was old.  She had been my mother's first grade teacher, and she was old then; and would also be my little sister's first grade teacher.  It was rumored that she taught until she passed 100 years old.  I think it is actually true.  She never lost her clarity of mind, just developed that human curse:  feebleness of body.

Sister Loretta never rushed anywhere and never expressed any emotion.  EVER  She was visibly shaken, and that scared the daylights out of me.  i remember getting really nervous, worried that I was in trouble.  I racked my brain to try an remember any transgression that day.

Miss Concannon rose and the two of them rushed into the hallway, leaving the door open.  Another thing that never happened.

There was commotion, well, movement and the opening and closing of doors, and eventually the sound of a grown woman sobbing.

Miss Concannon returned, visibly shaken, pale and dumbfounded.  She just stood there in front of the class for what seemed an eternity.

Eventually, the PA system chimed and the principal announced that the President had been shot in Dallas, and that school would be dismissed shortly.  We were to go right home.

When I got home, my mother was sitting in front of the fancy black & white television, watching one of the talking heads (probably Walter Cronkite), with a tissue in her hand, sobbing.

It was years, of course, before I really understood what happened; and even more years until i understood the dramatic impact this event had on the American trajectory.  Today, I see it as the incident that moved America off the path to greatness and on the path to well, the dead-end, of avarice without charity.

Fifty years.

It seems like a long time, and it seems like yesterday (which I can barely remember anyhow).

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

5 Pointz: How I Was Wrong

by Dick Mac

I don't think anybody will ever accuse me of being an 'establishment' person, or an apologist for capitalists and developers.  So, it's with a certain amount of trepidation that I followed-up on this story, even though my delving deeper proved my initial reaction to be misguided.

There is actually a much better scenario that I hope will be seen by all and lead to a brighter outcome than anybody anticipated.

Jerry Wolkoff owns a warehouse in Long Island City, Queens, known as 5 Pointz.  For two decades, he has allowed graffiti artists to have their way with the five story structure, and they have done a magnificent job with it.

Photo by The Interrobang.  Used without permission.

This part of Queens never enjoyed a tourist trade, but in the past ten years or so, as 5 Pointz became internationally renowned, people from around the world have travelled by subway out to the neighborhood to see the landmark.

It has always been Wolkoff's plan to develop the site.  Eventually, the site was going to become a bank or a bank of luxury apartments, or some such destination that would preclude the beauty and the horror of graffiti.

That time has arrived.

Two towers will be built on the site.

This means the current structure must be removed.

Here is his dilemma:  he has enjoyed a good relationship with the artists and community, he loves the graffiti covered landmark, he wants to support this art form, and it's now time for him to remove the existing canvas.

  1. Just start demolition and watch it vanish bit by bit, or
  2. Destroy the existing canvas and move forward.
Wolkoff believed that it would be too painful to watch the masterpiece come down bit-by-bit, destroyed by demolition equipment.  He believes that the 'band-aid' approach would be best:  it will hurt less if we just rip it off all at once.

He knew, everyone knew, it would be a heart-breaking, gut-wrenching, no-winners process.

He hired the police as security, hired painters, and went to his building in the middle of the night to white wash it before the demolition starts.

People awoke to this:

Photo: Tamara Beckwith.  Used without permission.

Some who awoke to this felt betrayed, tricked, fooled.
Some are really angry.
Some live in resignation.
After all, we know it wouldn't last forever.
The internet filled with hate for Wolkoff.  Nobody remembered that his building was a free, safe canvas for two decades, through his largesse.  Nobody remembered that it was his love for the art form that led to the amazing piece of history known as 5 Pointz.  Nobody remembered that it was his property and he could do with it as he pleases.
People, especially some of the interested artists, were unkind.
I was unkind.
Explaining why he did the deed in the middle of the night, Wolkoff explained:
I'm never going to say anything bad about them. Why would I allow it to go on for close to 20 years if I didn’t not only like but love the work that they do? The last thing I would want them to do is get arrested while I’m painting the building, their emotions would run over. I felt if I did it in the morning, it would get over with. 

Further, Wolkoff goes on to explain:
In the new building we're going to let them come back, and it's going to be similar and better. They're upset with me now, but it's the right thing for both of us.
His new building will have a 60-foot wraparound wall for graffiti.

So, this ogre who has done this terrible thing is actually a pretty decent guy.  He's a developer.  He's going to make money developing his property.  He is a developer, unlike many, who is interested in his impact on the surroundings.  He loves graffiti. He has given much. And even if you need to get stuck on that which he has taken away, at least acknowledge that he is giving it back.

I jumped to a conclusion that was ill-informed and I now have a different feeling about 5 Pointz.  Yes, I am sad it is gone as we know it; but, in the face of progress, there is a man who wants to be certain the legacy is honored.

Instead of derision, I suspect some gratitude is called for.

Some links:


Monday, November 18, 2013

Ten Commandments of Diplomacy

by Dick Mac

  1. Thou shalt not ask what thy country can do for thou, but what thou can do for thy country
  2. Thou shalt imagine no religion, too
  3. Thou shalt not fool some of the people all of the time nor fool all of the people some of the time
  4. Thou shalt embrace power and powerlessness
  5. Thou shalt tear down that wall
  6. Thou shalt not force the fishes of the sea to ride bicycles nor thy women to serve men
  7. Thou shalt not allow vice to be rampant and rife and shalt always dance with thy wife
  8. Thou shalt care about everything and sow an opinion about it all
  9. Thou shalt smile politely at conservatives and remain silent
  10. Thou shalt always be candid

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Ten Commandments of style

by Dick Mac

  1. Thou shalt remember Paris when thou wore blue and yon Nazis wore grey
  2. Thou shalt put on thy red shoes and dance the blues
  3. Thou shalt tell the world it is not thy legs, dahlink, but how thou make use of them
  4. Thou shalt swear that when it comes to fashion, comfort is no object
  5. Thou shalt choose Jungle Red, mother
  6. Thou shalt be famous for fifteen minutes
  7. Thou shalt know the technology of fashion and obey the laws therewith
  8. Thou shalt shun the logo and empty status it promises
  9. Thou shalt never be dull
  10. Thou shalt hold Chanel above all others

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Ten Commandments of Fact and of Fiction

by Dick Mac

  1. Thou shalt find the ring that in the darkness binds them
  2. Thou shalt be called Ishmael
  3. Thou shalt know the best of times and the worst of times
  4. Thou shalt steal this book
  5. Thou shalt build it and they will come
  6. Thou shalt be the light of my life, fire of my loins
  7. Thou shalt hold these truths to be self-evident
  8. Thou shalt never accept that there was only one shooter
  9. Thou shalt have some more, please
  10. Thou shalt wonder

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Ten Commandments of Rock

by Dick Mac

  1. Thou shalt not step on my blue suede shoes
  2. Thou shalt take thy protein pills and put thy helmet on
  3. Thou shalt not be blinded by the light
  4. Thou shalt shake it loose together
  5. Thou shalt not spit on yon snatch
  6. Thou shalt carry on as if nothing really matters
  7. Thou shalt twist and thou shalt shout
  8. Thou shalt never turn around to see the frowns on yon jugglers and yon clowns
  9. Thou shalt treat me like a natural woman
  10. Thou shalt like it like that

Monday, November 11, 2013

The Ten Commandments of Glam

by Dick Mac

David Bowie releases his first record in ten years and Lou Reed dies.

We must all now remember the ten commandments of glam:

1. Thou shalt be an untamed youth with thy cloak full of eagles
2. Thou shalt not be stealing clothes from Marks & Sparks
3. Thou shalt beg voulez-vous coucher avec moi
4. Thou shalt praise do do do do do do as yon colored girls sing
5. Thou shalt sock it onto others as thou shalt have them sock it to thee
6. Thou shalt be waiting for thy man
7. Thou shalt party like it's 1999
8. Thou shalt not lay a divorcee in New York City
9. Thou shalt keep thy TV Eye on me babe
10. Thou shalt wear thy electric boots and thy mohair suit

Saturday, June 01, 2013

I Loves Me Some Red Bulls

by Dick Mac

Well, not the drink Red Bull, but the soccer team owned by the drink company.  There are some (and have been other) amazing players in the organization.  I've been a fan for 12 years, and a season ticket holder for most of that time.  I am dedicated.  No matter how much the team wins or loses and no matter how badly the organization is mismanaged, I am always true to my team.

This does not mean I am incapable of critical analyses, it just means that my heart always wins out over actual scientific, empirical, legal, and historical analyses and conclusions.

Being a soccer fan in New York City is probably easier than being a soccer fan in Tulsa, or Missoula, or Birmingham, or Little Rock; but, being a soccer fan in the United States means truly being a second-class sports citizen.  OK, third-class.  Hockey fans get the #2 slot.

I am lucky, though.  I live in a large metropolitan area with one or the known-universe's most dynamic urban centers.  There are a lot of soccer fans.

My team built a state-of-the-art soccer-specific stadium in Harrison, New Jersey.  Harrison is right across the Passaic River from Newark.  It's a beautiful stadium.  European fans and players alike are happy to wax eloquently about its beauty and utility.  It really is the premier soccer venue in the Americas.  I have been fortunate to have four or five tours of the place over the course of time from the construction phase (seats were not even in, yet, never mind offices, locker rooms and the such) through to last year's annual behind-the-scenes tour with my daughter.

The organization works very hard to win over the hearts and minds (and future pocketbooks) of the area's children.  There have been events and special clubs and access to the players for kids, and every time they do something like that, the amount goodwill they enjoy is enormous. What parent isn't happy to see a child beaming with pleasure while meeting one of the players on the team, have a picture taken, and collecting an autograph.  Every parent is thrilled to see that, it's priceless, and MLS teams work hard to make those moments happen.

My daughter is in her sixth year as a season-ticket holder, and to my surprise, her interest has not waned as she has matured.  We are members of Viking Army, an official supporters club, and she is well-known in that group as well as in the team's organization and fan base, in general.  She knows the chants and sings along, and at 9-years-old is still embarrassed by the R-rated (and X-rated) chants that emanate from the South Ward (home of the most ardent supporters).  We now travel to away matches with other supporters.  We've been to New England, Philadelphia, and Washington, DC.  On the road trips, she is totally comfortable socializing with the adults around her, because the men and women who make up the community of Red Bull supporters are a unique and amazing brand of people.  Soccer fans are different, they really are.

Because we are so familiar with the organization, the stadium, the other fans, and the surrounding area, our trips to Red Bull Arena are always fun.  This was not always the case.  The team has had some difficult hurdles to overcome since the facility opened for the 2010 season.

The stadium is located in a reclaimed industrial wasteland, and is part of a major development project that is seeing the riverfront of Harrison, New Jersey, transformed from an abandoned horror show, to a dynamic area of shopping and residences and entertainment, including Red Bull Arena.  The Riverfront project is impressive, and Red Bull inherited the project when they purchased the team a few years earlier.

In 2008, you may recall, the American economy took a turn for the worse, and the rest of the world followed.  Credit dried up, progress seemed to halt, and the entire planet seemed inert.

When you are redeveloping an industrial wasteland into an urban paradise, it is (generally speaking) a high-risk proposition.  High-risk proposals often face difficulty when seeking financing.  Needless to say, as the stadium was nearing completion and the bottom was falling out of the economy, almost all work on the rest of the project slowed to a standstill.  As an economist friend said to me a few years ago:  "Even China won't lend them money for that project, and when China won't lend you money you are probably in a bit of trouble."

Twenty-four acres of land that front the stadium were intended to be a mixed-use development with restaurants and bars and retail outlets and apartments and a cinema.  The local commuter rail station was to be transformed into a modern facility that provided multiple exits giving access to all of the new development, including the stadium.

Sadly, although work has re-started on some of the development, neither the fancy mixed-use development fronting the stadium, nor the promised transportation improvements have materialized.

Still we march on.  Literally.  Hundreds of us  march to the stadium as a group, before each match, and the players from both teams take the field in a procession that seems part-religious and part-militaristic.  We march on.

The team has trouble selling tickets.  The stadium seats 25,000 and I think only one Red Bulls match has sold-out:  and that was actually the MLS All-star game.  Our league matches do not sell-out. Sometimes, on a lovely day in the Spring, the stadium will be less than half-full.  The players, especially the famous players who have come from playing in European leagues, say it is discouraging to play in front of so few people.

But, we make a lot of noise!  And the players:  from the most famous, aloof, international to the most humble young man who has made good and landed a place on his hometown MLS team, acknowledge the support that the season ticket holders bring.  And they publicly applaud us.  Literally.  At the end of each match, they approach the South Ward, which is usually full, and clap their hands and wave to us.  They show their gratitude, and that is not something you see in any other American sports league.

I'm in love.  I love my Red Bulls.

I have written about the team many times, so a regular reader probably knows that my all-time favorite athlete, Thierry Henry, signed a four-year contract with us a few years back.  I get to watch my favorite player, one of the greatest players in the history of the sport, play at my stadium.  He has approached the section in which I sit and he has applauded me and my fellow fans.  When participating in a public event that includes face time with his fans, he is humble and self-deprecating, enthusiastic, sincere, and seems truly grateful for his success and station in life.  I am really lucky to have him on my team, to have met him and chatted a few minutes, had my picture taken with him, and get to brag over and over and over again about him being on my team.

My daughter tells a funny story about the first time we met Henry.  I was speechless, tongue-tied.  I had reverted to being a shy 9-year-old boy too nervous to talk in front of the grown-ups.  He talked with my daughter and asked her questions.  He signed a shirt on which she was collecting all the players' autographs. He posed for pictures with us.  And I stood there grinning like a fool, unable and incapable of knowing what to do or say.  I was so baffled and overcome, that I forgot to have him sign my Thierry Henry jersey.

At some later date, we attended an event at the SoHo Adidas shop with all the players.  Henry was present. I was less flummoxed this time, and was able to actually make sentences and laugh a few times.  As we were walking to meet another player, my daughter said (loudly enough for everyone to hear):  "Daddy, you forgot to have him sign your shirt again."  We managed to backtrack to his spot and my daughter explained to him that this was the second time I forgot to have him sign it.  We all laughed and I was (once again) a little boy trapped in an old man's body.

He isn't the only player that makes the team amazing.  Over the years, the organization has employed some wonderful players who have been very generous of time and spirit.  Currently, Henry plays with Tim Cahill, an Australian international, and Juninho, a Brazilian international.  Ten years ago, it was unthinkable that players of their stature, still fit enough to actually play the game, would play for us.   But here they are.

At one point, we had Henry, Rafa Marquez, and Juan Pablo Angel all on our team at the same time.  Outside of Europe it is almost unfathomable that a team would have three players of their stature on the roster -- irrespective of their current skill level.

As I said earlier, the players (especially the famous players) find it difficult to accept the lack of interest in the sport and the low attendance.  No matter how full, or not full, the stadium is for any particular match, it is like being in heaven to watch my team play, and to shout encouragement and sing the songs and chant the chants.

It is heaven inside Red Bull Arena.

Yes, it is hell outside the stadium, but once inside there are no words to describe the experience.

If you haven't been to a match at Red Bull Arena, please do so.  You will not regret it.  If you went once and were frustrated by the conditions surrounding the stadium, please give it another chance.  Things have improved and continue to improve, and you won't regret it!  Tickets are very affordable:  Look here.

Perhaps the surrounding development will be completed one day, maybe not.  But I won't let that stop me from attending every home match (and some away matches, too).

Thursday, January 17, 2013


by Dick Mac

How the hell do these things happen?

Or, in more realistic terms:  "Why me?"

I am having an encounter with noroviruses.

Sounds deadly and obscure, but noroviruses are commonly known as stomach viruses.

At the New York City Department of health website, it states:
Noroviruses are a group of viruses that cause an illness some people call the "stomach flu."  They are not related to the flu (influenza).  Another name for noroviruses is  gastroenteritis.
Gastoenteritis!?!?!  I thought that was severe or chronic heartburn?  Yes, I do have heartburn with this, but it's all the other flu-like symptoms that make it unpleasant.  Especially the nausea.  So, I have all the symptoms of the flu, but I don't have the flu.  I have a stomach virus.

It has been at least five days and I am done with it.  I felt better yesterday and ate dinner last night.  Sadly, last night's dinner was not a permanent resident of my digestive system.  I felt better when I awoke, though, and got ready for work.

Not so fast!  Showering seemed simple enough, but moving around after the shower resulted in more nausea.

Now I am back in my pajamas, whining about being sick.

I am so done with this, so very done with this.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Dear David Bowie

And so you're back from outer space.
I just walked in to find you here with that sad look upon your face.
I should have changed that stupid lock,
I should have made you leave your key,
If I'd known for just one second you'd be back to bother me.

"I Will Survive" written by Freddie Perren and Dino Fekaris, performed by Gloria Gaynor (1979)
by Dick Mac

Dear David:

Welcome back!

I thought you'd never return.

I loved Tuesday's headlines:  "David Bowie Returns After Ten Years In Outer Space"!

How was outer space?

The last couple years of being a David Bowie fan have been lonely without you, but somewhat amusing.  Pictures of you walking with a shopping bag appeared.  I was particularly fond of the shot where you were discreetly flipping the bird to the photographer.

God knows you've given all of us enough memories to last a lifetime.

I had resigned myself to your retirement.

In the ten years since you've been gone, a lot has changed:

This internet thing (that you leveraged so successfully in the last century) is huge and is now even in grade school classrooms.  I know people who get all their television, movies and phone calls over the internet.  Well, I guess I do - but I still like the old way of doing those things, too.   Do you still have that Betamax?

And mobile phones!   Have you seen them?  Amazing what they do now.  I'll bet at least ten thousand views of your new video have been on a mobile phone.  Really!  Grown people hunched over a tiny 4" screen with the sound delivered through ear buds.  The sound and picture quality are amazing.  If they didn't have these in the part of outer space you were visiting, I suggest you check them out.

My wife and I had a daughter, shortly after the Reality show at Madison Square Garden.  Did you select Macy Gray as the opening act?  I adore her work (and I love her mental state, too).

After that show, I wrote:  "His conversations with the audience were animated and humorous. He was frisky, and sexy, and flirtatious. He was butch and femme, cowboy and drag queen, a little bit street and a little bit regal. He's a man's man and a big queen!"  I stand by that.  And I've missed you.

And now you've returned with that sad look upon your face.

In 2007, I arrived at my daughter's pre-school to pick her up.  They had had a music and dance session.  The teacher selected "The Jean Genie" and, according to the teacher, my daughter danced like a banshee and knew almost all the words to the song.  The teacher and I bonded that day: thanks to you.  Again!

The following year, I entered my daughter's room and she was listening to "Rebel, Rebel."  I cannot tell you how it feels (because I do not any words to describe it) to hear your toddler sing:  " . . . you've got your queue line and a handful of 'ludes . . . "!

I panicked, I interrupted and said:  "No, Boo, the line is "queue line and a handful of food . . . '"!  Totally lame, I know, but I was in a panic and "food" seemed like a good substitute.

"No daddy," she explained in a serious and officious tone, "it's handful of 'LUDES."

I shrugged my shoulders, smiled inside and out, and decided it wasn't a big deal.

She's a huge Bowie fan, and if you do a show in NYC, I will do my utmost to get her there.

What else?  I changed jobs.  We bought a huge apartment in Brooklyn and no longer live in Manhattan.  It was hard to accept at first, but I quite like it now.  I received a medal from the Bishop of Brooklyn for my service to the community.  My brother, who said your Staten Island show was the best rock concert he had ever seen, became a grandfather.  Some people died.

Rex Ray (rexer) has become really famous (he even has a fan club on Facebook), and then Elizabeth (leeza) got married.  Myriam (mask) has done some big shows and her work continues.  Jim (floidoip) well  . . . he adored you and you let him title his book "Up The Hill Backwards" which was very generous of you.  I've only talked to Mark (blammo) a few times while you were gone.  What a great guy!  After decades of saying no, Helen (helen2) became an American, but you don't have to be afraid of her.  Kelly-Marie (kelmar) moved to Vegas.  Of course she did.

And now your back!

(c) Jimmy King
I am so happy to see you used that picture of you and Burroughs in a current photo.  In 1974, I got that issue of Rolling Stone and was flabbergasted by it.  I had no idea who William Burroughs was, but at 16, it was time to read him.  Thank you for that.  For awhile I had a similar picture of the two of you pinned to my wall.  Maybe it was a copy of that one.

The original Plastic Ono Band reformed (with Sean Lennon substituting for John) and did a couple shows.  Yoko has formed a new Plastic Ono Band.  The only weird part is that sometimes Sean  looks just like his father and it really shakes me up.  You should see Plastic Ono Band.  Really.  Lori (cavebat) and I sat in front of Danny DeVito when they performed for the Japan tsunami fundraiser.

Yeah, that happened, too, while you were away:  an earthquake in Japan caused a devastating tsunami.  Look for the footage, it's incredible!

New York got struck by a superstorm (sort of like a hurricane, but not named a hurricane to allow insurance companies to say there was no hurricane and blame all the damage on flooding - everyone is covered for a hurricane, but many do not have flood insurance).  Your neighborhood was blacked-out for quite a while.  But, we're New Yorkers! Storm?  It's only weather!

Where did you go?  Did you get BBC, CNN or Fox News out there?

What happened recently, in 2012, that might interest you?

Barack Obama was re-elected as President.  Does this mean he is also the second black President?

In Burma, Aung San Suu Kyi was elected in a landslide.

We Occupied Wall Street.  After a worldwide financial meltdown, protesters took to the streets all over the world to demand changes to the financial system.  They ignored us and the media pays little attention now that the police are finished beating the shit out of a bunch of young Americans.  It's embarrassing.  The laws of finance have been so rigged against the bottom of the food chain that hunger and homelessness are pervasive throughout the States.  The Occupied movement is trying to mobilize again.  Perhaps you could lend them some support (or give them some money).

The Arab Spring has lasted quite a few seasons now, and last year Syria really fell apart.  It's a mess.

London hosted the Olympics.  Queen Elizabeth II (yes, she is still alive) made a James Bond short movie with Daniel Craig.  It was charming.  It ended with her parachuting into the stadium.

Gay couples can now get married in many states.  You know, I think almost all couples are gay when they get married.  That's the perfect adjective for how couples feel and act at their wedding.  Gaiety is a nice thing.  Anyway, same-sex couples can get married in a lot of states now.

Members of Pussy Riot, a girl rock band in Russia, have been imprisoned for their political actions and ant-establishment stance.  Things are not good in Russia.

A new dance craze from Korea took over and the song is played everywhere.  Now that you've been back a few days, you've probably heard it.  It persists.

While you were floating in a tin can, as you do, wherever you went, we managed to land a vehicle on Mars.  The Mars Rover.  Pretty cool.

The President made a valiant effort to create a health care system so that there wouldn't be as many Americans with untreated illnesses.  The Democrats basically implemented the system the Republicans presented in 1994.  It was a bad plan in 1994, and it's just as bad as a Democratic plan in 2013.  But it's something, and perhaps the dialog can shift to finding a way to ensure health care for all Americans.

While you were travelling through space, a guy named Felix Baumgartner flew to the edge of space and jumped to Earth.  He jumped a long way.  It was amazing.

Yeah!  A lot's happened while you were gone.

Tony Visconti says that you worked on your new album for two years.  He's a good guy, Tony: kind, intelligent, and talented.  Did you like his book?  Yeah, he wrote a book while you were away.  It's really good.  He mentions you in a few places and you are in some of the pictures.

Two years!  That's a long time to keep something confidential.  There was a brief time a year-or-so ago, when a rumor surfaced that you were recording.  It faded away.

Tony said something about you being Adam Ant about not touring for the new record.  I didn't know you were Adam Ant.  Perhaps he meant that Adam Ant performs on the new record?  I don't know:  but everyone says your Adam Ant about not touring.  It's all so confusing.

I downloaded the single first thing Tuesday morning.  The "download" concept has been embraced and grown incredibly while you were away.  If you could figure out how to download physical objects, you'd be as acclaimed as Einstein.  Just get into your Thomas Newton mode and whip something up.  Did you know that I had a boyfriend named Thomas Newton?  Newton was actually his middle name, but when I started dating him, he wore a small pin on his jacket with your picture from the cover of Low: a picture of Thomas Newton.

Alicia Keys released a great song about New York, and then Jay-Z used it as the chorus for his next song.  Both are very good.  My team plays it after the match.  It's more fun to hear "Empire State of Mind" than yet another go-through of Frank Sinatra singing New York, New York."

I suggest you download the Alicia Keys record.  It's very good.  You can get it on iTunes.  Is your iTunes account under the name "sailor"?

Everybody misses sailor.

I've done my best to influence my daughter's musical taste.  She was listening mostly to kiddie songs, and Dusty Springfield became her first adult favorite.  I was relieved it wasn't Sting. One weekend I was watching my new "Live Aid" DVD.  She walked in and out, and always noted the guys she thought were cute.  I think the first to get the nod was Paul Weller, who performed early in the show.   Anyway, she wandered in one time just as your performance began.  You looked striking in those days:  that hair, those suits.  I forget which song you were singing when she asked, breathlessly - yes, really, breathlessly, with her hand on her heart - "Who's that?"

Phew!  What a relief.  You went right to the top of the list of her faves, and I told her some fun stories about going to your concerts.

She's growing-up, of course, and now her musical taste includes boy bands with adorable lead singers.  Make sure you check out the lead singer of the band One Direction.  I think he looks like a young David Johannsen and every time I see him I think:  "Put some make-up and a dress on that kid and you could re-launch the New York Dolls."

I told my daughter about Bowienet, too.  She knows many of my Bowienet friends her entire life, and they come to her birthday party each year.

Ahhhh, Bowienet.

Remember the beginning of Bowienet?  Before the discussion boards, when all we had was chat and news and email.  I made friends through Bowienet.  Good friends, lifelong friends.  Many thanks to you for Bowienet.  It kind of fizzled, but you should be proud of that site, the community it spawned, and the impact it had on the development of artists and the web.  You were the guy who started it.  Nobody did it as well.  Get it back up and running so we can all join again.

Now you're back from outer space.

The new song is hauntingly beautiful.  I like the video a lot.  I reserve judgment on the cover until the official release date; because, you've made-up things before and surprised everyone later.  Will you release another song before March?  If we still had Bowienet, you could release one just to us!  Feel free to send me a cut to the email address at this blog.  Or, my Yahoo account.

Facebook is sort of like your old discussion boards with more interactive media options.  It's very public, so people are always getting in trouble by saying something or posting a picture that nobody should see.  Maybe you were able to connect from outer space.  Can you connect to the web from outer space?  Are you a sailor on Facebook?

Soccer (football) is actually becoming popular in the States.  It's on mainstream television and there are like twenty teams in the league (MLS).  Thierry Henry (Yes!  THAT Thierry Henry!) plays for New York, and David Beckham played for Los Angeles.   Some big names are coming from Europe.  It's been exciting.

My daughter is a huge Red Bull New York supporter, and has been a season ticket holder for five years.  The upcoming season being her sixth.  Last season she went on her first away trips.  We traveled to see our team play in New England and Philadelphia. It was exciting.

If you want to go to a match, we can get tickets for you.  Just say the word and we'll go.  Bring your daughter.  I would say we should bring wives, but mine will only attend if Beckham is playing.  So, we'll do it with our kids.  I usually drive to the stadium, and it's nothing to swing by and collect you.  In fact, the gas station across the street from your downtown place is where I get gas in Manhattan on our way, if I've forgotten to get it in Brooklyn.  So, really, it's no bother to swing by and pick-up you guys.

How is outer space?

Did you go far?  I know there's a lot of trash circling Earth, the detritus of our space exploration.  Now and then a piece falls to Earth.  Remember the Devo song "Space Junk"?  Are there other planets that have made a mess of their world?  I've always envied your astronaut persona, with the space travel, and cool songs, and accolades.  You really are a cowboy out there!

Did you find any of your music in other places?

Someone in Europe published a list of your 23 studio studio albums, ranking them from best to worst.  That caused quite a stir on Facebook.  I decided to create the same list but in order of best cover art.  You can find it on my Facebook page.

Bowinetters have a group on Facebook,  Roger (RogInLA) started it and maintains it.  He has made an alphabetical list of Facebook users and their Bowienet names.   Lots of people are there, including some old friendly faces.  You should join us.

Ten years in outer space.  Nobody should be surprised.

Americans have gone bat-shit over guns.  You're a cowboy, so you know about these things.  Cowboys are always so respectful of their guns.  Most Americans with guns don't treat guns with the respect they deserve.  It's surprising how easy it is to get one.  As you may have suspected, most of the killings are in suburban and rural areas.  The crime rate in New York City keeps going down.  Thank God for cities, especially cities with strict gun laws!

Anyway, it's good to have you back.  I hope you'll do some interviews, maybe even a television appearance.  If you do a TV appearance, be certain to have blammo give you the list of attendees.  He knows whom to invite.

I know you are not going tour to promote the album, and I understand.  It's exhausting enough spending ten years traveling through space.

But, you're back!

If you do decide to do one show for us, please give us plenty of warning so folks can fly over from Europe (and other places).  It would be swell to see you at Roseland again.  Carnegie Hall is nice, too.  Just not the Garden, please.

Well . . . I guess that's it for now.

Welcome back.

Let me know if you need anything.