6/16/19: Founded in White Supremacy

1/15/20: History and biography are the same subject matter. America fought the Nazis and won. Germany said it was wrong and repented. Both America and Germany then prospered as friends and allies. That is the process — a process that we never engaged in with the Confederacy. We have to do it now. We have to defend ourselves against the American darkness that has been encouraged by Trump and the Republican Party. The immoral criminals have to be held accountable — thousands of mini- Nuremberg trials from Trump and members of Congress to White Nationalist foot soldiers. Then the enemies must repent. Only then will we have peace.

I like this piece from June 2019 because it shows how the poison of fascist racism does not only harm its primary victims, African-Americans, but adversely harms us all — not to the same degree of course. But my family’s story as Italian-Americans also includes suffering caused by racist aggression and injustice not directly intended for us as Italian-Americans. If one part of the body politic is wounded, the whole body bleeds. Of course our suffering is nothing compared to that of our African-American brothers and sisters. I only mean to say that the interests of black people are my own — and not only for liberal reasons of empathy for others.

Copyright 2021 Richard Thomas

The Rick Blog

babe ruth

6/16/19: Founded in White Supremacy

My father was an outsider

He wasn’t born here

He came to America when he was seventeen

He spoke with an accent

A Franco-Italian concoction

Really a voice all his own

Born in Paris

In an Italian ghetto

a street urchin of the Pigalle

Nightclub row

I took him to see a movie about Edith Piaf a few years before he died

For him it was a home movie

He vividly recalled his life

as a very little boy

begging

in the noisy dirty beautiful Parisian streets.

My own memories of early childhood are few

A blank page gift

bequeathed by my early security and privilege

Provided by

my mother

my father

the New Deal

the Fair Deal

FDR

and Harry S Truman.

Institutionalized

by Dwight David Eisenhower

in the 1950s

and especially on D-Day.

Fear is the great memorizer

and pain too.

Old panic…

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6/11/19: Hello Young Lovers

1/14/21: In June 2019 romance made a rare appearance on The Rick Blog.

The Rick Blog

young lovers painting

6/11/19: Hello Young Lovers

The unleashed poet walked into the old Chinese restaurant

in the old Chicago suburb

The 1950s are not the past

A 21st Century milk maid

Golden hair

Buxom

Apple cheeked

Absorbs the boy seated next to her

Like a beautiful amoeba consuming a morsel of food

that she deems delicious

He seems smaller than she is

at the moment

Although objectively that ‘s not the case.

He is tall and lanky

or was

a minute ago.

He is now just chum

Devoured by desire.

By love?

Sure, why not.

By love.

They have recently had sex.

She saw the moon, the stars and all the galaxies.

He performed a service.

It was his pleasure.

He enjoyed it and forgot about it.

He doesn’t remember what he had for breakfast

or his last trip to the bathroom

or the sweat he sweat at work that day.

He…

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4/29/19: Movie Review — Avengers Endgame, the Demented Truth

1/14/21: After a necessary period of since defeated performing and opining and public journalling, in 2019, some writing actually happened — inspired by a surprising source. Psychedelic writing fueled by my preferred drugs of unlit cigars, movie theater popcorn and rigatoni. I’m off all of those stimulants currently and unfortunately.
Copyright 2021 Richard Thomas

The Rick Blog

avengers poster

4/29/19: Movie Review — Avengers Endgame, the Demented Truth

Avengers Endgame doesn’t end. I don’t mean that it lasts so long that it seems that it doesn’t end. It actually doesn’t end. It doesn’t start either. And there is no middle.

Avengers Endgame transcends linear time, which it reveals to be an illusion. There is no chronology to existence. Chronology was developed to bring order to the chaos of being alive, but it ultimately terrifies us. I DON’T WANT TO DIE — we scream into the void. Or we yell WHEN AM I GOING TO DIE if we don’t like how things are going.

Avengers Endgame is a fabulous escape from our fantasy constructed by the conditioning of a society that we fear and desire that we created individually and in a group out of the fears and desires of the society that doesn’t really exist except in our heads…

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Art Has Its Day in L.A.

From March 2015 — I still like it very much … the first time the blog started to reveal its identity.

The Rick Blog

Nashville PosterTurner painting I

Paula and I had an art filled day in Los Angeles yesterday. We saw the Turner exhibit at the Getty Museum and we saw Robert Altman’s masterpiece movie from the mid-70’s Nashville at the Aero revival house in Santa Monica.

L.A. is a city of grandiose intentions betrayed. It sprawls in unfinished disrepair. If a hoarder’s house became an urban landscape it would be Los Angeles. One seedy building of past or imagined grandeur after another passed by us as we drove the crowded, impatient and  uncivil streets and boulevards. Every edifice screamed I CAN MAKE A BUCK HERE! I CAN MAKE A BUCK HERE! L.A. is a sprawling drunk who believes he is sober. Its attempts at dignity are pathetic and comical. I really like it. Oh, the humanity!

And then there is the Getty. We park our hulking rent-a-car, a mid-size SUV. The fifteen dollars is all that…

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Masterpiece “Rules Don’t Apply” Bombs at Trump Era Box Office; In Other News, Dog Bites Man

A piece from November 2016 which I really love. It predicts all the pain of the Trump era, and all the potential of its aftermath.

The Rick Blog

Update 2/27/17 (The day after the kerfuffle regarding incorrect announcement of the Oscar Best Picture winner)

It wasn’t Warren Beatty’s fault. They gave him the wrong envelope. (Not that it was that big of a deal anyway.) I hate to see a great artist ridiculed. Another mistake in the Best Picture category —the failure of Beatty’s largely unseen masterpiece “Rules Don’t Apply” to be nominated. It was better than “La La Land” (which was good — it wasn’t intended to be a polished musical as its critics seem to think — it was like “The Umbrellas of Cherbourg” or Woody Allen’s “Everyone Says I Love You”) and dealt with similar themes and material. (I haven’t seen “Moonlight” which looks very interesting.)

It’s very hard — and very important — to make truthful art and even the people who are rewarded with fame and money don’t get the respect that…

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7/1/2017: Dateline Kearney Nebraska, In the Land of the Zombies on the Road to Los Angeles, and My Show at the Fanatic Salon, on 7/7/17 at 8 pm

1/14/21: Creation and Destruction
There is something poetic about the human promise of the new administration — vaccines and food for hungry children — standing cheek to jowl with the stench of a conspiracy of demented rubes trying to destroy the American democratic republic and ultimately kill us all with guns and flagpoles and pipe bombs, not to mention your not so friendly neighborhood coronavirus.
I’ve been engaged in personal projects that I am certain are not that uncommon. I couldn’t stand my hair — it was in my way and I couldn’t safely see a barber — so I shaved my head. I resemble a big nosed baby or a skinhead breaking windows in the Capitol riot, take your pick. I’ll choose innocence, thank you very much. I’ve been unfriending people on Facebook because every time I see their name on photo I get a bad memory, and who needs it really.
I used to think that bad times came and you hit bottom, and then you started the climb up. I thought life was cyclical. It isn’t. Everything happens all at once.
So all of my old pieces apply today, and something new is cooking in the oven — Chef’s Surprise — a mystery to everyone including the Chef.
The old piece that I am sharing today answers the current conundrum regarding the misbegotten largely white exurban masses who love Trump, have a fetish for political violence, hate masks and social distancing, and are sure that they are being lied to by “socialists”.
How can we win over the hearts and minds of the poor darings? Kumbaya?
We can’t. They believe the shit that they do and are aggressively coming after us because they like it. They enjoy it. They get off on it. It makes them feel superior and powerful.
We don’t have to make peace with these assholes. We have to defend ourselves against them and keep creating …
which is what we always have to do … existence involves taking out the garbage and making beautiful meals.
The oldie but goodie that I share today was written in the summer of 2017 on a day that I was driving through Nebraska on the way to California.
Copyright 2021 Richard Thomas

The Rick Blog

nebraska post card

The world changes when you drive over the Iowa-Nebraska border. Iowa is like Illinois. Reason and insanity live side-by-side — checks and imbalances. In Nebraska you get the impression that there are very few buildings and lots of people — or I should say, former people. The zombies roam through the farmland searching for human brains to eat. They must be hungry.

Nebraska talk radio has a peculiar charm. The hosts broadcast from places like San Diego following their “How to Lie to Suckers Broadcasting Manual.”

The suckers aren’t that stupid. They want the lie. They call the shows and praise Trump saying that his attack on Mika Brzezinski is “probably true.” Their defense of the demagogue evidences that some small speck of living brain tissue that still receives blood in their skulls recognizes that Trump’s ugly claim, against the millionaire cable news star raised in an elite family of…

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1/10/20: 1917, Schitt’s Creek and Joyce Carol Oates — Craft Services

From one year ago today. I like the writing.

The Rick Blog

1917

1/10/20: 1917, Schitt’s Creek and Joyce Carol Oates — Craft Services

I’ll pass on that old-time religion.

The world dialed up 1917, Schitt’s Creek and Joyce Carol Oates for me in the last twenty-four hours. I emerged with a feeling of not-so-smug superiority.

These people go to a lot of trouble to say what is on their minds.

1917: Sam Mendes directed this museum diorama trying to pass itself off as a movie. I am sure that Sam Mendes has a very neat apartment. I am also sure that he never stepped beyond a proscribed line.

Mendes brings a fastidious eye to the fog of war. He doesn’t do chaos. Each person place and thing in this World War One story is arranged in an aesthetically pleasing manner.

Mendes brings his mastery of scenic composition to a decomposing world.

1917 is a reassuring lie. Carnage doesn’t have to be gross…

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3/9/17: Equality #poetry

1/10/21: Really feeling this poem — owning it — from 2017 today.

The Rick Blog

3/9/17: Equality #poetry
There is no writing without equality.
There is no living without equality.
Condescension expressed and condescension believed is violence.
Feeling insulted is a prerequisite of freedom.
Pride sets the course
I have never been insulted
by any person that I had not transcended.
One’s constantly transforming voice is one’s destiny
Never collaborate with anyone who would repress that voice
Live your peace with integrity
and watch the naysayers disappear
or not matter
I know all of this.
I’m Living Proof.
Copyright 2020 Richard Thomas

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Baby Boomers, Please Tell Young People You Love: Alt-Right Means Nazi. Nazi Means Scum. They Don’t Know.

1/10/21: I am proud to say that the Rick Blog saw the white nationalist threat of Trump-ism and has condemned it often. This post contains pieces from late 2016 and early 2017. People who looked past this evil, minimized it, and thought primarily about their 401Ks, should admit they were wrong. There is a lot of talk about healing right now. The prerequisites of healing are admissions of lies and mistakes, and accountability for immoral, criminal, seditious and treasonous acts. White nationalism must never be tolerated again. Fascists who commit crimes should be tried and punished with a fairness and decency demanded by the values of our democracy. White nationalism is un-American. Punishment of white nationalist criminals is necessary for our individual and collective security. Turning a blind eye to white nationalist crime is immoral. White nationalism has always been an existential threat to our freedom. It must be repelled. As a practical matter, it is also time for immoral white people who are indifferent to the vast suffering that racism has visited upon people of color to now see one thing. White nationalism is a preliminary step. It should now be obvious that the final solution is fascism and it wants to subjugate us all. Thugs like Trump, who have no abilities except the ability to bully their way to power want to control us all. Think of that white people, the next time you see a person of color mistreated. And listen to African-Americans and other people of color. They are experts on White Nationalism. Their knowledge has been earned through bitter experience.
Process note: My writing has changed — I believe it is more graceful now. But here’s the thing about art, you make it out of what is available to you. I think the prose here has an admirable earnestness and directness. It’s personal and fierce and I am proud to re-post it.
Copyright 2021 Richard Thomas​

The Rick Blog

1/10/21: I am proud to say that the Rick Blog saw the white nationalist threat of Trump-ism and has condemned it often. This post contains pieces from late 2016 and early 2017. People who looked past this evil, minimized it, and thought primarily about their 401Ks, should admit they were wrong. There is a lot of talk about healing right now. The prerequisites of healing are admissions of lies and mistakes, and accountability for immoral, criminal, seditious and treasonous acts. White nationalism must never be tolerated again. Fascists who commit crimes should be tried and punished with a fairness and decency demanded by the values of our democracy. White nationalism is un-American. Punishment of white nationalist criminals is necessary for our individual and collective security. Turning a blind eye to white nationalist crime is immoral. White nationalism has always been an existential threat to our freedom. It must be repelled…

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12/30/20: The Temptations of Buddha Rick — Mission Accomplished! #poetry

12/30/20: The Temptations of Buddha Rick — Mission Accomplished! #poetry

This is a poem

It’s not a religious text

I am not a Buddhist

I am not an expert regarding Buddhism

The Buddha rejected a life of asceticism and a life as a prince

Stephen Sondheim was upset after his play “Merrily We Roll Along” got bad reviews

“They will accept you as a commercial success or accept you as a starving artist, but not both.”

Buddha Sondheim

That resonates with me

I’m Buddha Rick

I was penniless and daring once

Some people celebrated me

but they never gave me a job

I had substantial professional jobs

Paid well for my take on things

up to a point

But then obedience was required

Penniless Rick did great work on stage that morphed into mysticism

I travelled through eternity onstage blind to latitude and longitude the audience or time

Undiluted reality is insanity

I extinguished my ego

and merged with the All

but left my shabby unkempt body behind

wild eyed

I was Icarus touching the sun in comedy clubs

Some cheered sincerely

Some egged me on

Some were confused

Some were concerned

Some condemned me

Some beat me physically

Most just left

I’m proud that I took things so far

It was heroic

There is a time for extremes

And this is not a bad memory

But …

It was

Not good

Mysticism is not good

If you get stuck in it

and thankfully I didn’t get stuck in it

I got on the cross but the crucifixion was aborted

All spirit and no nature

Spirit needs to fasten itself to the stuff of the earth

if you want to live

sanely

And I wanted to live

sanely

Penniless Rick needed money and a place

The journey continued

Substantial professional Rick got those things

but an attempt was made to use me as a tool

not long after I got them

Lobby state legislators to oppress poor people

More fines for truancy and poverty

Shame them as lazy!

Defend the death penalty

Cheat widows and orphans out of their insurance money

Punish a mentally ill lawyer at trial

Her illness treated as a crime

Persecute a poor elderly lawyer with a heart condition for missing a deadline

Teach ethics with a racial bias

Teach improvisation in a superficial way

Genuflect to power and money

Honor those things and the people who embody those things

and I’d get my piece of the pie

To my great pride and satisfaction

I did none of those things

I got fired a lot

but I did some good too

and I grew

I didn’t want to be a prince

and my asceticism ended long ago

The Buddha thought that the temptation of social duty

included opinion

an attempt to change the world to one’s vision

I often regretted that I didn’t fight more to change the corrupt institutions who paid me

and that I served honorably

and disappointed when I wouldn’t participate in their dishonor

but I was following my Buddha impulse

Conflict doesn’t change the world

No one successfully forces alterations to the nature of men and things

What changes the world is changing oneself

or more precisely being conscious of the changes of oneself

I am at an interesting point now

I don’t need a job to avoid the asceticism that I rejected years ago

The temptation of social duty disappears from my consciousness

I am not shamed any more by any inadequacy of money or fame or power or social status

Those are the duties of the society that I exist in

When I had to work to avoid asceticism

I did a good job I believe

of being self-sufficient and expressing my spirit

My court appearances, my classes, my blog in that period and my performances

were poems

outward expressions of my soul

not diminished by how out of place they were

inspiring and upsetting others

naturally

not from my intention

But there was always a limitation

in my consciousness, and by extension my opportunity

That past limitation doesn’t bother me

The world works through process

I was not derelict for not having full enlightenment

But since those not-so-long-ago days

I’ve learned that there is a solid and reliable abundance to creation

God supports and cares for artists

That is not something I read on a Hallmark card

I know it from experience

All needs are provided for those who serve God’s will

It has happened to me so many times

God sends me money and chances and helpers and love

He wants me to do my work

and keep body and soul together

I can live apart from the ascetic and the princes

The temptations of the Buddha were fear, desire and social duty

Fear and desire were always just passing states for me

Sensations more than existential difficulties

Social duty was the tough one

Society told me to be a powerful prince or a starving artist

I reject each temptation

In my next act

I will create

apart from the approval and disapproval of audiences

the desire for unnecessary personal suffering

and the bullying of bosses

and competitive peer groups.

There’s a reason that I write in installments

What’s next?

Write what you don’t know.

Copyright 2020 Richard Thomas