I was wrong about quite a few of my "self-predictions" for 2016.
I did not deliver the manuscript of my new novel WHEN I GOT OUT to my publisher Lou Aronica of The Story Plant.
I did not work hard for the Democratic ticket. I did put up signs on my fence that faces my quiet little street, but booked only a few sessions of phone banking for my local Democratic candidate and friend Anthony Portantino, who won for the California State Senate, and phone-banking for moveon.org to swing states like Florida and North Carolina for Hillary who lost.
I did not watch the Golden State Warriors win another NBA championship.
I did not eat very many bowls of Life cereal. In fact, I cut down on all my sweets this year.
I'm sure a few of my new "self-predictions" for 2017 will not come to pass, but here goes:
I will fight fascism in the USA. I'm not sure as yet what form this fighting shall take. A friend of mine KEVIN SESSUMS was banned from Facebook for 24 hours for political speech. Who knows where this all will lead?
So far, I've given money to a few of my favorite organizations that will fight Trump and the radical agenda that he and the Republicans promise: Planned Parenthood, Natural Resources Defense Council, Southern Poverty Law Center, The American Civil Liberties Union, and a few other local causes.
I called the office of my congressman – Adam Schiff, of the 28th district – and talked to one of his phone-answerers to urge Schiff, who is powerful for a Democrat (he's the senior ranking minority member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence) and in a completely safe seat, to oppose Trump freely, openly, and honestly. Hold back nothing. We will need all the fighters we have to oppose his ignorant, impulsive actions and the work of his Bizarro-world appointees.
I also called the office of my senior senator Diane Feinstein to urge her to fight Trump. For many years, she and fellow Democrat Barbara Boxer were the "Thelma and Louise" or the "Cagney and Lacey" of the Senate. Now Boxer has retired, so Feinstein has to be Thelma and Louise and Cagney and Lacey combined. Unfortunately, Feinstein was never the fighter that Boxer was (no pun intended). Feinstein was always the moderate, the compromiser. Now, at 83 and the oldest serving senator, I wonder if she has the force to stand up to the onslaught of the Trump machine, in whatever form it takes. Fortunately, she has a new junior senator Kamala Harris, one of the rising stars of the Democratic Party, to tutor and promote. She could be invigorated by Harris' arrival. Feinstein has nothing to lose by standing up and being the maximum patriot and truth-teller that she can be.
I also joined/bought subscriptions to a few of my favorite news sites: Talking Points Memo and Alternet.
I know that I'm going to have to do more. I'm sure what yet. Maybe I'll volunteer with Progressive Democrats of America, "the democratic wing of the Democratic party." It depends on how bad it gets. But I will not give up.
Almost everything else is insignificant.
Here is INDIVISIBLE: A Practical Guide for Resisting the Trump Agenda -- https://docs.google.com/document/d/1DzOz3Y6D8g_MNXHNMJYAz1b41_cn535aU5UsN7Lj8X8/preview#
But our individual lives must go on, right?
So in addition to worrying about the future of the country I love – or rather, as a way of expressing it -- I shall finish this draft of WHEN I GOT OUT this year and send it to my publisher. This time, I really mean it.
I will write my blog once a week, posting on Tuesdays. (I may miss a couple, for vacations, etc.)
I will still listen to too much Howard Stern even though he only works about an hour a week these days.
My Big Brother and Sister-in-Law from New York will visit in February.
In March, as a birthday present to myself, I will drive to Orange County to see Jason Isbell at the House of Blues in Anaheim. (He's not playing LA.) Every decade or so, I have to venture south, beyond the Orange Curtain, to see a country singer who isn't doing a show in Los Angeles.
Jason Isbell – ELEPHANT -- solo
Jason Isbell – DANKO/MANUEL
I will see three operas I really like at the Los Angeles Opera. First comes Mozart's THE ABDUCTION FROM THE SERAGLIO, the one that the Emperor Joseph II in AMADEUS criticizes for having "too many notes." Then Offenbach's TALES OF HOFFMANN, the great French opera, with red-hot Vittorio Grigolo, whom we saw in recital last year. The last is TOSCA with one of our favorite sopranos, reigning American diva Sondra Radvanofsky. And there might be others, but those are the only ones for which we have tickets.
The "Turkish" Finale from THE ABDUCTION FROM THE SERAGLIO – from AMADEUS – with Twyla Tharp's choreography
Natalie Dessay singing Olympia's aria from TALES OF HOFFMANN
Sondra Radvanofsky singing "Vissi D'Arte" from TOSCA – the most guaranteed four minutes of my 2017
On May 5, I will see GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY 2 at my local movie theatre. Probably at the 4:00 show.
I will weigh myself every Friday morning to make sure that I'm not gaining back the weight that I lost.
I will go to my beloved local Farmer's Market every Saturday morning. In southern California, everything is almost always "in season."
I will do yoga four times a week this year, up from three.
I will pay my real estate taxes twice.
I'll finally make to the Broad, the contemporary art museum in downtown LA.
I'll spend a lot of enjoyable time reading all the art books I got for Christmas.
I'll read the Springsteen autobiography. I just finished a satisfying biography of Elizabeth I by Anne Somerset.
I will see what's left on our LA Philharmonic subscription: Gustavo Dudamel conducting Prokofiev's ROMEO AND JULIET ... Zubin Mehta (!) conducting a rare Ravi Shankar sitar concerto ... the delightful Mirga Grazinyte-Tyla conducting anything she damned well wants to ... and orchestral highlights from Wagner's RING!
We will spend a long family weekend at the end of the summer in Cambria on the Central Coast of California.
I will deadhead my rose bushes on Monday when I remember to. I will clean my storm drains. I will put up and take down the Christmas lights and Christmas tree. I will tend my cactus collection and my succulents.
My Sister-in-Law and Her Boyfriend from Mexico will visit. And the TG and I will vacation at her fantastic place in the city of Queretaro, the best-kept secret in Mexico.
I will shop at Trader Joe's, about twice a week. But I've cut out the challah, the juices, and the tubs of cookies.
I will listen to Steve Earle's "Hardcore Troubadour" show on Sirius XM radio at 6:00 PM every Saturday night, often in the car on the way to hear other music.
Young Steve Earle singing "My Old Friend the Blues" – from Farm Aid -- 1986
I will eat an apple almost every day, in the late afternoon. Usually dipped in a dish of nuked crunchy peanut butter.
I will take out the garbage every night and prepare the morning coffee the night before.
Maybe I'll see HAMILTON when it comes here to the Pantages in August. Maybe I won't. The tickets are so expensive that I, who have paid a lot for certain tickets in my lifetime, am hesitant. What I've seen of HAMILTON – on the Tony Awards, etc. – looks sensational. And I've been listening to the OBC album. That's Original Broadway Cast. And it sounds pretty terrific. I have no ear for rap or hip-hop. It's not what I listen to. But HAMILTON is very good listening.
HAMILTON – at the Tony Awards – performance starts at 2:15
HAMILTON – closing number at the Tonys
HAMILTON – featurette from the "CBS Morning Show"
A few times this year, when I have the urge, I will put the top down on my convertible and drive from my house up into the Angeles National Forest. I'll reach total wilderness in about three minutes. I'll drive up for a ways, winding back and forth along the two-lane blacktop that cuts into the mountains to one of the overlook points. I'll enjoy the absolute peace and quiet for a little while. Then I'll drive back home.
I'll try to take the TG to the beach more this year. She likes it.
And best of all, I'll spend lots of time hanging out with my grandson Calder, my new best friend. He is very smart, funny, and handsome. We like to do the same things. We like the same foods and the same books. We take long walks together and have extended conversations. He is very verbal for a two-year-old. We laugh at the same jokes. We can also be together and not talk at all. And he loves me just as much as I love him. I'm very lucky to have this pure love: in 2017, more than ever, everybody needs love.
EVERYBODY NEEDS LOVE – by The Drive-By Truckers – from Letterman, 2011