Monday, February 10, 2014

Blue America: The Nexus Of Where Alan Grayson, Lee Rogers And Joni Mitchell Meet


Last week, the Washington Post reported that the Koch brothers are already pouring hundreds of thousands of dollars into ads meant to demonize Alan Grayson and defeat him in November. Today, Blue America is launching a Joni Mitchell contest to help raise some campaign cash for Grayson's reelection in the very expensive Orlando media market. Grayson also requested that we ask our donors to give to Lee Rogers as well, a friend and political ally running a tough campaign to win the seat Buck McKeon is giving up just north of L.A. "I like Lee Rogers," Grayson explained. "But that’s not why I’m asking you to support his run for Congress."
I respect Lee Rogers, because he is the doctor who founded and directed the Amputation Prevention Center, and reduced amputations by 72%.  But that’s not why I’m asking you to support his run for Congress.

I know that we need a progressive doctor like Lee Rogers in Congress, to help Drs. Ami Bera and Raul Ruiz (D-CA) counter the demented ravings of Drs. Paul Broun (R-Paleolithic), Scott DesJarlais (R-Patient Dating), Michael Burgess (R-Fetal Wanking) and Larry Bucshon (R-Guns).  But that’s not why I’m asking you to support Lee Rogers’s run for Congress.

I’m asking you to support Lee Rogers for Congress, because we have to win a seat like his to turn the U.S. House of Representatives blue.

…Please contribute to the Lee Rogers for Congress campaign today. Every dollar counts, because every person counts.

Do it for Nancy Pelosi, to make Nancy-- the first female Speaker of the House-- Speaker once more. Do it for me, so that I can push through all of our legislation for justice, equality and peace. Do it for yourself and the people you love, so that all of us can enjoy the blessings of good government.
This time we're running the "contest" a little differently. The basic rules are the same: just contribute any amount to Alan and Lee on this special Joni Mitchell page-- or, if you're strapped for cash and want a chance to win, send us a post card telling us so at P.O. Box 27201, Los Angeles, CA 90027. What makes this contest different is that we're giving away 4 Joni Mitchell art prints (18" x 24") and Grayson suggested that we choose four random winners! Everyone has a lot better chance to win one of the rare, collectible Joni prints-- four times better-- that have never been offered for sale for any amount of money.

If you're on this mailing list, you probably already know why we think Alan Grayson is the most essential-- the best-- Member of Congress. But what you probably do not know is why Alan Grayson counts himself among the world's most devoted admirers of Joni Mitchell's work. He picked the prize and this little essay he wrote will help you understand why:
170 Beautiful Words
by Alan Grayson

Howie Klein asked me to explain to his Blue America audience my fondness for Joni Mitchell songs. I decided to explain by example. Here are the lyrics-- just 170 words-- for one of Joni’s less famous songs, “For Free,” from her album Ladies of the Canyon (1970):

I slept last night in a good hotel.
I went shopping today for jewels.
The wind rushed around in the dirty town,
And the children let out from the schools.
I was standing on a noisy corner, waiting for the walking green.

Across the street he stood, and he played real good,

On his clarinet, for free.

Now me, I play for fortune, and those velvet curtain calls.

I've got a black limousine and two gentlemen, escorting me to the halls.

And I play if you have the money, or if you're a friend to me.
But the one man band, by the quick lunch stand,

He was playing real good. For free.

Nobody stopped to hear him, though he played so sweet and high.
They knew he had never been on their TV’s, so they passed his music by.

I meant to go over and ask for a song, maybe put on a harmony.

I heard his refrain, as the signal changed.

He was playing real good. For free.

Here are some reasons why I love this song, all 170 words of it:

(1)  I can see it. I can picture Joni Mitchell standing on that noisy corner, waiting for the walking green.

(2)  With just a few images-- “hotel,” “jewels,” “limousine,” “escorts”-- Joni paints the enormous perks of success, matter-of-factly, without bragging.

(3)  With one single sentence, Joni succinctly draws the Venn diagram of everyday life for the today’s successful people-- “I’ll play if you have the money, or if you’re a friend to me.”

(4) Joni concedes that success, including her success, is not always deserved, nor is anonymity. “They knew he had never been on their TV’s, so they passed his music by.” Fame begets fame, with or without talent. (If you don’t believe Joni on this, then ask Kim Kardashian.)

(5) A random meeting, a chance encounter. You notice something beautiful that other people seem to be overlooking. A man playing the clarinet. A pretty cloud in the sky. A clever bumper sticker on a car. The lines in your own palm. Are you open to that, or are you just too busy?

(6) I wonder what happened at the end. Did Joni ask him for a song? Did they put on a harmony? I’m not sure, but I don’t think so, because those would have been forms of payment, and he was playing real good-- for free. But as I said, I’m not sure what happened at the end-- and I really would love to know.

Well, my exegesis on the song is now considerably longer than the song itself, so I’ll stop. But here’s the thing-- all of Joni Mitchell’s songs are like this. Dense. Poetic. Brimming with deep and yet casual insights into the way people are. And that’s putting aside the gorgeous musical compositions, and Joni’s surreal voice.

What is the meaning of life? I’m not sure, but I sense that it’s somewhere in there, suffusing the songs of Joni Mitchell.

Again, here's where you can support Alan Grayson and Lee Rogers and enter to win one of the 4 Joni Mitchell prints. One of them, in fact, is pictured on the top of this page. Let me just leave you with something Lee Rogers told us about Grayson: "As a doctor, I know most people use their guts for digestion. But, Rep. Alan Grayson uses his guts for a more constructive purpose. He stands up for the voiceless and underrepresented as a Congressman. Sadly, unless you're one of the 0.01% that donates significant money to fill the coffers of politicians, you're probably one of those underrepresented by Congress. Alan is your voice. I greatly admire Alan for having the guts to stand up to nearly everyone and almost single-handedly prevent an American war in Syria. He's bold and 'tells it like it is.' Those are qualities I hope to emulate in Congress and I'm honored to have his support in my election."

Labels: , , , ,


At 9:02 AM, Anonymous Bil said...

Good morning! Fantastic post Howie.
OK I will unblock Alan from my Rich Politician repeatedly asking for money Spam blocker, and reopen my paypal (we used to say wallet;)

More please....

Pat Metheny, Joni Mitchell, Jaco Pastorius, Michael Brecker, Lyle Mays...

At 9:07 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Alan Grayson, dammit. Just when I think I can't respect him any more.

Drop the mic, sir. You've earned it.


Post a Comment

<< Home