Observations and Thinkings, Vol. pq, Guest Todd Krewal, Foreign Policy Blindness, Watergate Alternative, Colorado River Water Shortage, Litter Flambe’, Former Wingsman

Welcome to this week’s “zine.”

by Mark M

From Observations and Thinkings, Vol. pq, 2007:

It hit me like a big slab in the face.

I looked over the rim of the frying pan I was in and I saw another frying pan.

When one considers what all can go wrong with the body, a healthy one is really quite the marvel.

If Murphy’s Law is a sure bet, better get rid of nuclear weapons.

I hate people who have a chip on their shoulder.

Since I can’t pay you attn now, will an IOU do?

Has anyone ever gone broke by paying attention?

I don’t know what to say, nothing comes to mouth.

I hope I ever see you again!

They engaged in small talk about atmospheric conditions.

The sky’s the limitation.

The racist’s favorite color.

The boy with the thorn in his psyche…

Imagine Eve made first.

Eve was bidden by a snake.

So imagine Eve eating of the forbidden fruit and then Adam saying, “No thanks.”

The fall gal [Eve].

Good heavens

Bad heavens

Do Satanists eat a lot of devil’s food cake? Xns, angel food?

God’s only begotten son… A one-child policy? No daughter(s)? [Fertility problem?]

So-and-so fathered more than 7 kids? That’s quite a pop explosion!

Imagine the unimaginable, a prolix, boring, unattractive Jesus (perhaps short, bald, and overweight) who only every once in awhile comes up with a gem like “The truth shall make you free*” or “Blessed are the peacemakers.”

…So boring was Jesus, so often did he strike out in his attempts to be interesting, that it was only a few days after that first Easter that the disciples actually asked him to go.

*Yardstick of truth: the truth liberates.

[This page is dedicated to Bishop John Shelby Spong.**]

I am the alpha and the omicron.

I dropped some acid — and then I picked it up.

Mishap – something that mishappens.

Of chorus you can sing!

His nose smells.

Gone like the wind.

They had a lust affair.

Love strife.

Grocery store worker — ain’t too proud to bag.

It was a sight to make eyes sore.

“Your toss is my gain,” said the scavenger.

Yes, maybe. (Oxymoron?)

Big deal

Little deal

Medium-sized deal


Please, squeak to me!

Once the cat let go of his tongue, he wouldn’t shut up!

National Organization for Women

Universal Organization for People

Fully groan

He took a sharp coroner.

Please, I besiege you!

Seek for yourself.

The Skeletones

The Maybeats

Population stabilization: Be like God, only one kid.


What a bullshitress!

Ice Cream Socialist

grey – light black

The Mighty (Mighty) Atrophies

The Emperor’s no clothes.


Heading north in the neighborhood at night nude.

Dollar naked

Clothed aggression

He walks around with a chimp on his shoulder.

The status quote

I think the best bet is to try to marry intuition w/intellect. The problem is, that is an art.

Plant bird seed and grow a bird?

Smooth my ruffled feathers, baby!




Exile One Main Street


About the Author

The author often engages in such Thomasfoolery as this little book.

**A note on the late J.S. Spong, who was an American bishop of the Episcopal Church. In his 1991 book, Rescuing the Bible from Fundamentalism: A Bishop Rethinks the Meaning of Scripture, he argued that Paul was a presumably-celibate homosexual based on hints in his epistles and inferences made from same. In a subsequent book, The Sins of Scripture, 2005, he argued the point further and quoted a gay cleric friend: “Paul is just like I was before I became honest with myself…” Needless to say, the religious right did not care for his views. He was even told once, “We’re praying that a plane you’re on will crash” and he thought, “What about the others on the plane?


Racine native Todd Krewal makes art, restores vintage bicycles, writes poetry, and does many other things.

He submitted the following:

Artisan – Todd Krewal

Date: April 21, 2022

Titles: Words define me – Not 1 word – Butt 6 words

I stopped sinning so my syntax disappeared!

Swarthy stuck shoelaces pucker squashed leather

My virtual audience reproves smee

An external cascade of blurred mindscapes

Shelling large corporate quantities of Covid-20 droplets

A wave my loose arm unencumbered by superfluous

Packets of shredded ballpark gum

Just a pinch will suffice

The Covid-20 dispelling wave causes –

Covid-20 to jump over my arm like

Double Dutch jump rope

Covid-20 laughs at my attempt Co-Hah

Clover, crow bate, snowing late

Fungus immunity prevails

Walloping the spent carcasses of Covid-20

How about a few more hip-hop classics

A beat that propels me to my feet

Peep, beep, and reap the wild spin

Not a scrambled rambled

Caught in my quantum microscopic accelerator

Smashing bass protons to dance too not

Blasting ten hot minutes to minute fragments

Let’s have another dance shall we?

A deecent into my decent realm  –To Odd


Foreign Policy Blindness

During the Democratic primary for U.S. Senate, which Mandela Barnes won, only about two of the about eight candidates had anything to say about foreign policy or the military budget and Mandela wasn’t one.

I wrote to his and the silent others’ campaigns and pointed this out.

After Mandela won, I wrote his campaign again to no avail.

Actually, this silence on foreign policy is almost the rule rather than the exception even though military spending is about half the federal budget and votes are taken regarding U.S. wars, treaties, sanctions, and so forth, a rather important aspect of their job.

I was able to briefly speak to Mandela when at a fundraiser in Racine on September 28. I mentioned the need to reduce the gargantuan military budget and he said, “I’m with you.” I also mentioned the need to not support Saudi Arabia’s war on Yemen by selling them arms. He was likewise in agreement.

I will cross my fingers, for, regarding the military budget, I said the same thing to Tammy Baldwin when she was first running for the Senate. She also agreed with me, but her voting record shows she doesn’t actually agree after all.

I presume incumbent Senator Ron “Fake Electors” Johnson is hunky-dory with throwing all that money at the Pentagon. His campaign website has so little issues information, it could almost fit on a 4 x 6 notecard.

Foreign policy this: “…what has not been reported in the United States is that leaders from 66 countries, mostly from the Global South … used their U.N. General Assembly speeches to call urgently for diplomacy to end the war in Ukraine through peaceful negotiations, as the U.N. Charter requires.” 66 countries are sensible enough to see the great danger of what amounts to nuclear “Russian roulette.” And, annexation — bad, whether by Putin or this here nation.


Watergate, An Alternate View

When I wrote of exercising discernment concerning conspiracy theories in my post of July 21, 2022, I intended that post to be my 2 cents on the matter, something of a summary of my thought concerning same.

However, I cannot resist here adding an alternative view to what really happened with Watergate (the break-in was 50 years ago this past June) which I find most intriguing.

(Incidentally, that earlier post outraged one of the about 40 people I e-mail the link to a new WiR post of mine:

(“Take me off the mailing list. I don’t want to read anymore cockamamie conspiracy theories…. You and I evidently live in different universes.”

(I simply replied, “And, you’re off. Thank you.” and took him off. I don’t know if he thought I was going to continue to post and post and post on the topic — not my intention! — or if he was tired about hearing about conspiracy theories in the culture at large.)

So… Watergate:

Family of Secrets (2008) is a book by Russ Baker. I read it with great interest back when it was new.

It is a cliche that those who learned the news of JFK being shot can exactly remember where they were when they heard that news. I remember my second grade teacher telling the class.

Baker was surprised to learn that George H. W. Bush, unlike most people, could not remember where he was on November 22, 1963; it got Baker’s “antenna” a-quivering, so he decided to dig in and ended up investigating the Bush family.

(It turns out that GHW Bush, by the way, was near Dallas on that day.)

His book describes alleged connections between the Bush family and the Central Intelligence Agency. The book asserts that George H.W. Bush was linked to the Watergate scandal.

During the Watergate scandal, GHW Bush was chair of the Republican National Committee (RNC).

Baker describes Watergate “not as a ham-handed act of political espionage but as a carefully orchestrated farce designed to take down President Richard Nixon,” a “soft assassination,” as it were.

Somewhere I once read (maybe in Baker’s book!) that Nixon himself said that he would never have sought serious intel on the Democrats at the Watergate hotel (where the headquarters of the Democratic National Committee was then residing), that no useful intelligence would ever be found there, that the botched break-in felt to him like a trap, and trap him it sure did.

Here is the reason for it all: Nixon, you see, opposed the oil depletion allowance, something that the oil-men were pretty upset with, they being quite wealthy and wanting ever more.

Baker also names Bob Woodward of The Washington Post as an intelligence agent who conspired with John Dean to remove President Richard Nixon from office.

This assertion about the intrepid Woodward (someone who did not have the integrity to tell us when he found out that Trump actually did believe COVID was real since he feared that telling us this would make him lose precious access to Trump) actually being an intelligence agent is not really surprising in light of (from Wikipedia):

Operation Mockingbird is an alleged large-scale program of the United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) that began in the early years of the Cold War and attempted to manipulate domestic American news media organizations for propaganda purposes. According to author Deborah Davis, Operation Mockingbird recruited leading American journalists into a propaganda network and influenced the operations of front groups. CIA support of front groups was exposed when an April 1967 Ramparts article reported that the National Student Association received funding from the CIA. In 1975, Church Committee Congressional investigations revealed Agency connections with journalists and civic groups.”

And I believe that it would be quite naive to assume that Operation Mockingbird ever really went away. Bear in mind that the CIA has a black budget, for instance.

Concerning the CIA, from JFK and the Unspeakable by James W. Douglass (2008):

“Before the act was passed. Secretary of State George Marshall warned President Truman that it granted the new intelligence agency in particular powers that were ‘almost unlimited,’ a criticism of the CIA that Truman would echo much too late — soon after the assassination of John Kennedy.”

Truman, in essence, created the U.S. Agency of State Crime. Thank you, Harry. (Truman says he never lost any sleep over his two atomic bombings; on August 6, 1945, President Truman lied*** on the radio that a nuclear bomb had been dropped on an army base, rather than on a city. And he justified it, not as speeding the end of the war, but as revenge against Japanese offenses. “Mr. Truman was jubilant,” wrote Dorothy Day.)

And what great accomplishment, in the near half-century since, has the Washington Post ever brought us since aiding in the downfall of Nixon (who certainly, by the way, was no angel)?

***Government lying is like a Petri dish for conspiracy theories.

More info:

Russ Baker: 3 chapters on Nixon and Watergate from his book on the Bush family.

The CIA’s Role in Watergate



Incidentally, this new book, Watergate: A New History, points out that it’s never been established exactly who ordered the DNC break-in, nor exactly what the aim of doing so was. The author presents about four theories, one is the standard story, another is Russ Baker-esque, and two other theories. He adds that maybe the answer is some combo of some or all of them, but we are not likely to ever know for sure, because, for one thing, many of the principals are now dead.


On September 29, NPR aired an interview on their Fresh Air program entitled, “The Colorado River water shortage is forcing tough choices in 7 states.”

Here was an exchange I found notable:

DAVIES: You know, you mentioned one fact, that there is research that shows — this is kind of startling — that if Americans simply avoided eating meat one day a week, it could save water equivalent to the entire flow of the Colorado River each year.

LUSTGARTEN: That’s right. It’s an incredible number. This was a calculation I did with the help of some European researchers back in 2015 when I was reporting on the Colorado River. But the overarching idea is widely accepted, which is that an incredible amount of the water goes to grow these crops that are used to feed cattle for meat, and that if the demand for meat is reduced, an enormous amount of water is saved. So the potential in those figures, as you said, is the entire flow of the Colorado River. You could virtually solve the West’s water crisis just by shifting, you know, away from that meat consumption.

Elsewhere, Cowspiracy, it is asserted:

“2,500 gallons of water are needed to produce 1 pound of beef.”

The NPR interview mentioned use-it-or-lose-it waste on the part of entities with water rights. So that’s something that cries out for reform.

“…the waters that run through the Colorado River are a primary source of water for 40 million Americans.”

Concerning the shrinkage of Lake Mead, “there’s been all sorts of stories of old towns uncovered, boats that had long ago sunk uncovered and even dead bodies, murders in the Las Vegas area, people who had been, you know, disposed of in the reservoir suddenly coming back above the waterline.”


A Burnt Shirt

In my second post, I wrote out a litter inventory of items I’ve encountered when riding my bike. Just the other day, I encountered this cake-taker: A smoldering white T-shirt in the street. Maybe I should have called the cops for I don’t think it’s legal to burn trash in the city of Racine. But when you think of it, all it takes is for someone who suddenly finds wearing or possessing a white T-shirt utterly intolerable, and another person whose car ashtray is overflowing, no vacancy for further cig-butts, to create this minor spectacle. I stomped it out and left it there.

The next day, unsurprisingly, it was still there, by now with tire tread marks on it, and I took its picture, gathered it up, and took it to the nearest public trash can about a half mile away.

On a positive note, that smoldering day there were 12 cents of legal tender litter for the taking. I took them.


Wikipedia sez: ‘Sessions for WingsRed Rose Speedway [which yielded the abysmal single “My Love” (woe woe woe woe) –Mark] were held at Olympic Sound Studios in London, with Glyn Johns as producer. [Johns had worked with the Beatles on what became Let It Be. –Mark] At the first session, McCartney asked Johns to think of him as “the bass player in the band” rather than as Paul McCartney, but then took offense when Johns duly treated him as an ordinary musician. Johns thought Wings were not a genuine band and not of the caliber of artist he usually worked with. Before long, according to author Howard Sounes, citing the producer’s recollection, Johns was reading a newspaper in the control room at Olympic as the group smoked marijuana and jammed aimlessly in the studio. On 17 April 1972, Johns told the press that he had quit working on the album due to a “disagreement” with McCartney and that “Now we have respect for each other.”‘

So when Stu Sutcliffe bowed out of the pre-fame Beatles to pursue painting, there was the question of who then would play bass? In those early days, John was seen as the leader (it was his group that Paul joined followed by George and he was the oldest), and he wasn’t going to play bass. George was seen as a lead guitarist, so again, no. So it fell to Paul who reluctantly agreed. He said the image of the bassist in those days was “the fat guy in back,” that he was “lumbered” with the job.

That’s when he bought the famous Hofner “violin” bass because of its symmetry and affordability. A musician friend says they aren’t especially great basses. (Paul ended up with two of them, and, during the “Get Back” sessions, one was stolen and never recovered. Around 1967, he was gifted with a left-handed Rickenbacker which he painted with some abstract “doodlings.” George painted a Fender Strat. I believe Rick Nielsen of Cheap Trick had a replica of the George guitar made for himself. Many rich rockers have enormous guitar collections. Except Robert Fripp, in a recent Guitar Player interview, said he doesn’t collect guitars, that all he owns are pretty much only the ones he actively uses which sounds like about barely six.)

So, now, post-Beatles, when Paul starts up his Wings group where he is undisputedly the boss, why is he still playing bass?

A mystery to me until I saw a few months ago a reprinted interview from the 80s or 90s in a mag called something like Bass Player where he explained that he came to take pride in playing the bass and found that, to an extent, one could musically control the group when playing it.

He went on to say he greatly admired the Motown bassist, James Jamerson, the uncredited bassist on most of the Motown Records hits in the 1960s and early 1970s.

Post-Wings, at times, in concert, Paul plays some songs on electric guitar.

Sometimes on the Beatles’ recordings Paul is not on bass, George or John is. They had a Fender VI, a six-string electric bass guitar.

Sometimes Paul is playing the guitar solo such as on George’s “Taxman.”

Two individuals, on separate occasions, were hanging out with George. One was guitarist Peter Frampton (who was uncredited on George’s All Things Must Pass), I forgot the other person, and the same thing happened in conversation each time:

“George, I really like your guitar playing on [XYZ].”

“Uh, that was Paul.”

“Oh. Well, I really like your solo on [ABC].”

“That was Paul.”

“Ah. Well, on [MNOP], you played great!”


The End.

Next week (subject to change): Observations and Thinkings, Vol. pqrstuv, The Frustrated Playwright, Note on Immigration, Film: Lunana and Bhutan, Callipygian Determination in Antebellum America, Something Not About Those Beatles

Boilerplate: As part of my community project as Racine Writer in Residence, I hereby invite Racine-area people to send me prose or poems of 250 words or less for me to consider for inclusion in my posts as a “guest appearance.” So far, there have been no responses. So, former Racine Writers in Residence, I want to explicitly include you in this invitation. If you want, also send a photo and a very short “bio.” You will retain the copyright for the material you submit. Send to m.mk at att.net with “Racine WiR” in the subject line. Thank you.

Don’t hide your light under a bushel-sized basket; it is recommended that you let it shine brightly.

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