New Favorite Guitar: 1962 Guild M-65 3/4

Guild M-65, M-65 3/4, Freshman, Hoboken, New Jersey, Franz pickup, Fransch, hollow body, jazz, electric guitar

This is a Guild M-65 3/4, made in 1962 in Hoboken, New Jersey. The "3/4" indicates that its 23.0" scale length is shorter than the usual Guild M-65 model, which had a 24.75" scale. At first glance, this hollow body guitar appears to be a normal sized jazz box, but it's actually a very petite little thing. The body is only barely larger than a Gibson Les Paul's, and if it had the longer 24.75" neck, it would look very Les Paulish, only hollow instead of solid wood.

At 23.0", the scale length is an inch shorter than a Fender Mustang or Jaguar's 24.0", and it's a gas to play, really effortless chordal comping, arpeggios, and single note stuff. The original pickup was made by Franz (or Fransch?) in Manhattan, and looks superficially similar to a Gibson P90, but a closer look shows that it's not. It's a perfect tonal match for the beautifully finished laminate body, and plugged in, it's got its own unique sound, sharper and clearer than the usual tone coming out of most F-hole bodied electrics. In the middle of a dense jam situation, this Guild really holds its own, and its well defined tone cuts through the mix very well.

It has what looks like a regular Tune-a-matic bridge. Whether that was stock with this guitar, or is an add on, is unknown, but it was already on it when this M-65 was acquired by its present owner in the mid 1980s. The short string length makes it a bit hard to find a string set with just the right tension. After a few tries, I settled on gauges similar to an acoustic light gauge set, only in a nickel wound rather than bronze/brass, and with an unwound third: .012, .015, .019, .032, .042, .052. I used to have a 22.5" scale Fender Duo-Sonic, and those were the gauges of strings I used on the Duo, but I'd forgotten that, until I was reminded.

I should take more photos of this sweet guitar, but - it's not mine. On loan from a dear close friend, it's currently lending some nice tones to a recording project I'm working on. As much as I like it, I know I'm going to have to give it back eventually; however, the more I play this Guild, the more I think I'll just keep it. Just kidding! But, as the title of this post says, it's my new favorite guitar.


The Peavey Classic 30: Four Issues and a Repair


A lot of players like the Peavey Classic 30 tube amplifier, and for good reasons; it looks cool and vintagey, an amazing amount of sound comes out of a fairly compact package, and its bang for the buck is hard to beat.

Before we start getting into the Classic 30's issues, let's list some of its positives:
• The C-30's clean tones are for the most part very usable, and with the internal overdrive switched off, the amp is very pedal friendly.
• Unlike most other modern amps with built-in variable overdrive capability (usually given the misnomer of "channel switching"), the edge, dirt, and aggression tones on tap in this pint sized portable powerhouse are among the best ever packed into a production amp.
• The EQ section is well engineered and has a wide enough range of tone-shaping to suit most musical styles.
• The spring reverb, although a bit gritty when turned up to max, is still miles better sounding than any digital 'verb emulation.
• The excellent quality stock Peavey-branded Eminence made 12" speaker is toneful and efficient, and makes the most of the available power coming out of the four EL-84 output tubes - in fact, the C-30 is plenty loud enough for most rehearsal and smaller gig situations.

Overall, the Classic 30 is a versatile and affordable audio tone tool for the average budget-minded guitarist. Between its on-board OD/distortion and the very flexible equalization, it's a good fit for almost any guitaristic style or genre - so what's not to like?

Heavy Peavey

The Classic 30 is surprisingly hefty for its size, and one might think that's due to a heavy gauge amp chassis and substantial transformers. But the transformers in this amplifier are fairly petite, and the chassis lightweight. The Eminence speaker, with its large magnet, contributes to the overall weight, but much of the C-30's poundage is due to its cabinet, made of some sort of inexpensive lumber industry by-product material. A particle/osb/whatever cabinet will weigh more than double what a comparable cab made of solid pine or quality plywood will, and the C-30, although small, is a weighty piglet.

On the plus side, the C-30's cabinet does have real chromed steel corners. And although the cab is wrapped in vinyl imitation tweed covering instead of actual woven cloth, it might be more durable than real tweed.


Hot Naked Tubes


As can be seen above, there's no upper panel on the back of the Classic 30 to protect the tubes. Dumb. The tubes are totally at the mercy of whatever stray objects happen to be near the amp, whether a ballistic drum stick or carelessly placed guitar case, or an inquisitive puppy or toddler. Besides no upper back panel, there also isn't a removable lower panel to facilitate taking out the reverb tank during repairs, which makes servicing all the more awkward, since the 'verb pan is connected via an umbilical directly to the circuit board, with no external jacks.

Audible, Not Very Moddable

The Classic 30, and its companion model the Delta Blues, which shares the same amp chassis, are notoriously difficult to service or mod. On any comparable model of Fender semi-pro level amplifier, such as the Blues Junior or Hot Rod Deluxe, simply removing the back panel gains enough access to do most repairs or circuit modifications. This picture from Fender Forum member bluesky636 also shows the Junior's spring loaded output tube holder, and reverb pan situated for easy servicing:


Not so with the Classic 30 and Delta Blues, with their infamous "folded" circuit board, tightly tucked within a cramped compact chassis (photo courtesy of jpfamps.com):


Here's another photo of the folded circuit board in place (from TDPRI member SDS1):


In order to work on the Classic 30, all the control knobs need to be taken off, the pots loosened from the control panel, and the folded PC board assembly completely removed from the chassis.

A Series of Unfortunate Filaments

A potential trouble spot in the C-30 is the series-connected output tube filament heater circuit. Rather than having the traditional and rock stable 6.3VAC parallel heater string, as used on millions of tube amplifiers for almost a century, the Classic 30's series connected heaters have the four EL84 output tube filaments connected in line, with each of the tubes forced to handle the entire current draw on the 24VAC supply. Since an EL84's heater draws a nominal 760mA of current, the four-tube series filament circuit has over 3A of current flowing the string, for a whopping 73 watts of AC power running through each and every output tube filament. This design might have a negative impact on tube life, and may be one cause of tube socket terminals separating from their PC board traces.

The three 12AX7/ECC83 preamp tubes have a similar series-connected heater filament string, on a +36VDC supply. Presumably, this is a cost cutting measure, rather than having a separate 6.3VAC filament tap on the power transformer, like the vast majority of tube amplifiers. In the C-30, one 24VAC tap provides two heater circuits, one AC and another DC, a -14VDC supply for output tube biasing, and -15VDC and -30VDC supplies for the ICs and transistors in the amp, through a power supply sub-circuit of diode rectifiers, dropping resistors, and filter capacitors. The same reliability issues may apply to the preamp heaters, as they do for the output tubes.

Socket Rocket to Russia

It's commonly thought that the thin springy-wire tube clips on the C-30 don't secure the upside-down output tubes very well. However, that's true mostly for the JJ brand EL84, which have smaller than standard diameter socket pins. And since JJs are the most popular replacement EL84, that could be another issue for the Classic. Other 9-pin output tubes, such as vintage US-made 6BQ5, and the stock Russian 6P14P, also known as Sovtek EL84, have standard size pins, and don't have that problem as much. Note: The same issue applies to the Fender Blues Junior. With a pair of Sovtek EL84, the Junior can be run without its stock U-channel tube retainer in place, but with the smaller pinned JJ EL84, neglecting to install the holder can result in noisy operation or a non-working condition, and sometimes arcing occurs within the socket.

While troubleshooting and repairing a nice older Classic 30 that was experiencing problems, I concluded that some of the C-30's tube issues can be avoided by the use of Russian made military spec tubes, which were standard issue on this particular amp when new. Long before state funded online troll factories and cyber attack and hacking facilities became Russia's biggest new growth industry, they used to manufacture military equipment, a lot of it. And the vacuum tubes developed there in the 1950s and '60s for use in the electronics installed in their aircraft, ships, and tanks were, and still are, among the most rugged, dependable, and resistant to abuse tubes ever made.

Luckily for guitar players world wide, those Soviet era mil-spec tubes are still being made, and sound pretty good, too. It is a little freaky, though, to be buying stuff from people who have thousands of nuclear tipped missiles pointing at everyone all over the globe, ready to launch at a moment's notice. Talk about high pressure sales tactics. Uh, sure... I'll buy some tubes from you. Just don't kill me, okay?

Die Another Day

This Peavey Classic 30 exhibited some of the same symptoms mentioned above: it was noisy, didn't sound very good, sometimes stopped working entirely, and at times arcing could be heard, in the form of a sharp snapping noise coming from two of the output tube sockets. As well as having output tube problems, this amp also seemed to go through preamp tubes. It arrived with only two out of three 12AX7, and within a few days one of those went south, as well as one of the two that I'd put in as replacements.

The output quad in this used amp was a mixed bag: a pair of the original 6P14P, and two unmatched JJ El84, the newer one of which tested out on my Precision Instruments tube tester as being almost dead. Not coincidentally, the two tube sockets where arcing occurred were those in which the JJ EL84 were installed. The last time arcing occurred, the amp started smoking, a lot. How much was it smoking? Like a tourist from Idaho doing the Eugene legal weed dispensary tour, that's how much.

Usually, when there's smoke coming out of a tube amp, that's a sign of serious trouble, but maybe, if we're lucky, we won't have to call a Death Cab for Peavey just yet.

A quick Google search turned up a few Classic 30 enthusiasts with home brew or commercial after market tube retainers installed in their amps, and some say those holders cured their output tube problems. Here's one, from cortmgm at audiofanzine.com:


Especially impressive was Jeff McLowry's well thought out Tube Tamer project:


After reading Jeff's detailed blog post, and knowing from experience how well the Fender Blues Junior's tube retainer worked, I decided to give it a try in the Classic 30.

I had some aluminum channel stock on hand, and after a quick trip to the hardware store for rubber pass-through grommets and a couple springs, I fabricated this:


New tube holder in action:


Pretty slick! Looks great, but unfortunately it didn't help fix this amp's problems. After putting the chassis back in the cabinet, plugging into power and firing it up, it had the same symptoms as before. Okay, time to take a deep breath, have a beer, meditate a bit, then grab another brewski and dive back into the amp.

Removing a just-installed amp chassis is bad enough, and going through the extra steps to get the Peavey folded circuit board out of the chassis is just no fun at all. Okay, here it is:


Very surreal piece of abstract art. What holds the three sections of the circuit board together are the actual naked, uninsulated jumpers transmitting signal and voltage between the PC boards. Being mid-tensile steel, those jumpers can only be bent a very few times before they crack and fail. We'll need to carefully bend the boards apart enough to service the circuit, and then re-bend them again into their previous box shape, so that's two bends. After that, there's probably not too much more bending left before the jumpers begin to break.

Here's the board opened enough to get at the solder joint side of the tube sockets:


A close inspection reveals the root cause of this C-30's problems:


Let's zoom in:


These aren't just dry or cold solder joints - they're separated, and a few of the terminals show signs of overheated and remelted solder, due no doubt to the arcing we'd heard. I dubbed the solder joint on the right "Vesuvius" - you can see that it had spewed molten solder in a wide area around it, very volcano-like.

With a brand new tip on a 25 watt iron, and some old-school rosin core solder, I re-flowed all of the tube socket terminal solder joints, and also inspected every component lead and trace on each of the boards. Saw no other visible issues on the PC boards, and after scrubbing away the exploded solder blobs left over from the output tube sockets arcing, I put it all back together and hoped for the best.

A complete set of new tubes similar to what came with the C-30 when new, Sovtek EL84 outputs and 12AX7WA preamps, were popped in, the stock wire bales clipped over each (I didn't put the home brew tube holder back on), then plugged into AC power and flipped the switch. This time, the amplifier gods were smiling, and the Classic 30 came to life and played and sounded as good, presumably, as new.

If the repair hadn't worked, I would have titled this blog post "Four Issues and a Funeral". In case the C-30 was un-fixable, I thought of gutting the chassis and repurpose the amp with a hard-wired circuit such as a '50s Deluxe, but its heavy particle board cab put me off that idea. The only fitting alternative would have been a decent burial.

* Update: Since the repair, this Classic 30 has withstood over 10 hours of jams and rehearsals, plus a few hours at home too - and I don't treat guitars and amps gently. So, okay!

*               *               *

Well, enough about issues, problems, and repairs. Although the Peavey Classic 30 isn't really suitable for on the road gigging or pro studio use, it's still a decent sounding stay-at-home guitar amp with very good built-in distortion tones. And as long as you don't throw it around too much, or take it on your next world tour (unless you hire your own amp tech), it'll probably keep making toneful music, in a home studio, or with the band in your garage, for a long time to come. Just make sure to use the same sort of rugged Russian-made military spec tubes that the C-30 came with, and save those high-dollar old Mullard and Amperex tubes for your hard wired hand-made boutique beauty or vintage Twin Reverb.

Here's a great looking, nicely beat up older Classic 30 (photo courtesy of rodmillerguitars.com):




Eugene Sign Haiku Pt 3: Lust Drags You Down To Hell

Eat nutritious meals, Exercise, get lots of rest, Lust drags you to Hell

Eat nutritious meals,
Exercise, get lots of rest...
Lust drags you to Hell

Eugene Sign Haiku Pt 2: Jesus Saved A Spot For You


Have fun while we can, Headin' for that lonesome ground, Let the good times roll!

Have fun while we can,
Headin' for that lonesome ground...
Let the good times roll!

Eugene Sign Haiku Pt 1: I Love Rocks

I Love Rocks, Feldspar,, quartz, fossils, Granite, metamorphic, gneiss  Feldspar, quartz, fossils,
Granite, metamorphic gneiss...
It's true - I love rocks!


Home Brew Music Stuff


All home brew stuff: my '90s JapaMexiParts-O-Caster, a rewired 1960s McGohan industrial paging tube amp, classic furniture style '60s Hammond M3 organ cabinet w/ an early '70s Altec 417-8C 12" speaker, and an outrageously good sounding overdrive pedal, based on the Pearl OD-05, built recently by my friend David in Mass.

Something olds, something news, something funky, something blues...


1990s Stratocaster MIJ + MIM Parts-O-Caster, Pt 3.5


It's been over a year since Pt 3 in the series of posts about the Strat-O-Franken-Caster project, mostly because for the most part it's done. Good enough for rock and roll - it stays in tune, plays well, and really screams when you lay into it. And the combination of the flat top Duo Sonic pickups, mounted on a gold anodized aluminum pickguard instead of plastic, give it a unique tone that's unlike most Strats - the bridge pickup sounds very Tele like, and none of the switch positions have that thin hollow "quack" sound usually associated with a Stratocaster.

So there's been a couple changes, but nothing major:

First, I sent away for another Duo-Sonic pickup to put in the bridge position. This new one is a bit hotter than the one I had in there, always good to have a bit louder pickup near the bridge. In the photo at the top of the page, it's already been installed, and the pickup that was in the bridge slot was moved up to the neck position to replace a no-name ceramic, so now it's all Duo-Sonics, all the time. And since it's lowered for equal volume with the other two, there was enough space under the strings to put a Duo/Mustang cover on it. Why? Because it looks interesting, no other reason. I kept the middle pickup where it was  - it's on more than the others, and this particular pickup is really great sounding, so I got superstitious and didn't want to anger the tone gods.

Next, David in Massachusetts sent a Japanese made Gotoh nickel plated jack boat:


It looks much like the chrome plated Fender jack cup that was on there, except... more nickel-y. In the picture you can see the ancient ("vintage") Switchcraft jack from who knows when. Rather gnarly, dude.

I bought a really cool looking switch tip from David's eBay store:


It's a 1950s Daka Ware barrel knob in a dark red color. Actually way, way cool and uniquely different, and that's a good thing - who else has a maroon barrel knob on their Strat? Nobody.

Also changed the headstock string guide from the original bent sheet metal tree that came with the neck, to a round machined nickel one:


It's a brand new Fender brand guide, nothing special, except for the story that came with it. I went to that big box chain Walmart-of-music-stores place (won't say the name but it rhymes with Guitar Center) and asked the guy in the accessories department if they had one of the vintage style round guides. He said yeah sure, and took it down from the wall, but before handing it to me, he asked, "So what kind of Telecaster are you puttin' it on?" Uh, actually I'm going to install it on a Stratocaster. "Bad idea! I wouldn't recommend that!" Whoa. Any reason why not? "It's gonna really screw up your tuning, man!" Really. I thought all the mid '50s Strats had these same round string guides.

He looked at me, shaking his head and smiling with the pitying look that only the truly sanctimonious have. "I don't think so. Who told you that?" Well, actually, I've played a couple old Strats. "They were probably fakes! Anyway, it's the wrong part for a Strat, you don't wanna do that." Oh, okay. Well, in that case, I'll just get this anyway, and put it on my Tele.

After I paid for the guide, he finally handed it to me and said, rather smugly, "You'll be glad you didn't put that on a Strat, you'da been sorry!"

The world is full of experts lately. No matter, I got the round string guide, and I should have gotten it for free, after all that. And have I had any tuning problems since installing it on my FrankenStrat? No, and I never thought I would.

I've been thinking about getting a Strat-sized lipstick pickup for awhile, mostly because its chromeness would look great against the background of a gold anodized pickguard. Found one on eBay, and it turned out to be kind of a difficult install. The good news is that it fit in the slot, barely:


The bad news was the mounting screw arrangement. The pickup mounting tabs were drilled and threaded for the smaller size that's used for humbuckers, and that's what kind of screws were included. Not only were they too long to fit in the body's pickup cavities, but the heads were so small they slid right through the larger holes in the Strat pickguard, which is a regular spec Fender-brand part. I had to re-tap the pickup to accept Fender sized screws, and luckily the local hardware store had some flat heads in the correct gauge and length, although in unplated steel. I would have preferred slotted nickel oval heads, but can't have everything, at least locally, that same day.

This lipstick pickup sounded good enough, although not as good as the ones in my old Danelectros. However, it was way underpowered, and no way was there going to be any balanced multi-pickup combo positions.


Oh well, kept it in there for a couple weeks, trying to get used to it, and justifying it staying with the fact that it looked great. But one day I swapped the lipstick back out for the other Duo-Sonic pickup, and sold it on craigslist in a couple hours, for $10. Guy who bought it was ecstatic, going to put it into an old Roy Rogers small acoustic that someone else had already messed up with a few holes in the top. Overall, the lipstick was an interesting experiment, too bad it didn't work out.

Probably, there's just one more mod, and that's putting in a brand new Japanese Gotoh vintage-style trem bridge, and then that's it, I'm done. Until I think of something else.

*               *               *

If you want, check out the other posts on the build of this Parts-O-Caster: Pt 1, Pt 2, and Pt 3, and maybe also some of my other guitars. And if you have some extra time, head over to the Topics field in the right sidebar, where there's more guitar related stuff.




What Does The President Do?



Getting back to one of the points raised in yesterday's post, maybe I should have been clearer about why so many people are scared shitless right now. It's kind of like a political version of the old fable about the five blind men and the elephant - we tend to perceive the nature of a wider existential threat through the prism of what matters most to each of us.

Set aside for the moment that the cause of such a high level of fear right now is because we elected someone who promised us fear, who ran a campaign based on fear. Instead let's look into some of the concerns that many are having, and what the implications and near term causal effects of a Trump presidency may be. 

Just for starters, and all based on the actual campaign rhetoric and behavior of our new President-elect (and there's lots more - it's almost overwhelming to think about the mass chaos that this elephant has brought with it):

- Immigrant families are worried that they will have their lives uprooted if they get rounded up and deported.
- Muslims are worried that they will be required to register for and be placed on a national watch list.
- Gay and lesbian couples, and their families, are worried that their marriages will be declared void, and their rights as citizens taken away.
- People of color, especially Latinos and Blacks (and I fall under this category also), are worried that they will have to live under the threat of a nationwide "Profile, Stop, and Frisk" policing policy.
- Women are worried that they will have their reproductive rights and the ability to make their own health care decisions taken away from them.
- Many women are worried about living in a society where half the population feels that sexism, misogyny and sexually predatory behavior is normal and tolerable, as exemplified by the president-elect's behavior.
- Older people are worried that their hard earned over a lifetime senior benefits, such as Medicare and Social Security, will be taken away and replaced by new systems that provide much less economic security.
- People in general are worried that a bellicose international posture will result in new wars.
- Young men of draft age are worried that those new wars will be of a magnitude that for the first time since the 1970s, the national military conscription draft will be called up.
- Those who believe the scientific truth of the threat of global climate change are worried that nothing will be done to prevent catastrophic weather events, rising sea levels, and world wide average temperature shifts in the near future.
- Everyone who recognized the very real probability that the President-elect has severe mental and personality disorders, as well as autocratic tendencies, are worried that his equally sociopathic cronies will work to erode the rule of law and enable the rise of an authoritarian state.
- Those in most socio-economic categories are worried that new tax codes will drastically reduce taxes on the very wealthy, and shift the burden onto everyone else.
- Anyone dependent on the social safety net for basic needs, such as mobility services for the disabled, special needs education and school lunch programs, the very poor on food stamps, mental health and crisis prevention services - the list goes on and on - are all worried that funding for those programs will be cut off or drastically rolled back, due to tax cuts.
- All of us who value, and visit, public spaces, parks, national parks and forests and wilderness areas, are worried about the possibility of mass privatization of public land.
- And there's more, lots more...

You Did Vote, Didn't You?

To all of you who are genuinely worried about any or all of this, I'd like to say: Thank you for voting, and at least trying to make sure that the worst wouldn't happen. To any of you who happened to vote for the candidate who promised to disrupt all of our lives, including your own, congratulations, and may you enjoy it. And to those who either didn't vote, for whatever reason, or voted for a third party candidate as a form of protest, or to "follow your conscience", I don't know what to say. Except that everyone who was paying attention, and who worked hard to make you aware of what was going on and what the stakes were, are now feeling - what? Disgust, dismay, disappointment, and next we'll just skip the "E" words and go straight to "F". Not that most of you would ever admit it now, anyway.

Well, time to lighten up. Except for the fact that most of us are soon going to be noticeably poorer, I fearlessly predict that there won't be too very much chaos and there won't be a total downfall of democracy. At least, it won't be total. Maybe dented a bit, but maybe we can get that fixed, after this dark interlude is over, if and when we make it to the other side. Hey, there's going to be a whole lot of hurt, and a whole lot of pain for many of us, but basically we're going to be okay. We're America, we've been though bad shit before, and we always survive.

The Out To Lunch Presidency

This guy who we elected President isn't some kind of evil genius, as many people think. In reality, he's something like an idiot savant, who's incredibly good at one or two things, like self promotion and competition, but basically finds it hard to put one thought in front of the other. Good thing he's rich enough to hire a staff to do his thinking (and dressing, and scheduling) for him. No way he's the New Hitler. More like the New Reagan, who was well known during his time as President for being totally out of the loop on everything going on around him, and slept through national security briefings. Reagan was a borderline Alzheimer's case who still had the ability to turn on the lights inside his head long enough to give a speech or do a photo op, up until the last days of his presidency, when he kind of drifted away.

Trump has given every indication that he doesn't really want to handle the very tough job that being President of the United States is. Back before the Republican Convention, when the hunt for  someone to run as his vice presidential candidate was on, he reached out to Gov John Kasich of Ohio, and gave him the offer of the century, the possibility of being "the most powerful vice president in history". In the Trump campaign's scenario, the "vice president would be in charge of domestic and foreign policy", essentially being the president, and Trump would "be in charge of making America great again”.

The Trump campaign didn't seriously believe he was going to win the election, and did no planning for the eventuality of a win, and are only now putting together a transition team. A few days after the election, his team was still clueless enough to think that all they had to do was show up at the White House, and it would be totally staffed, ready for them to move in. Recently, Trump has announced that he would be living at the White House only part time, and requested national security clearances for his children, who many expect will actually run the show.  He still goes on late night Twitter rants, and expresses the wish to keep having rallies, presumably to continue getting his accustomed psychic recharge. This doesn't sound like someone who was actively planning on being the new Dictator of America.

What Does The Future Hold?

So what does the future hold, and What Does The President Do? Good question, and at this point, my crystal ball is as dependable as anyone else's. No one really knows, so here goes:

A wall will be built. There's already something of a wall, between California and Baja, kind of like a solid steel fence that runs along the border. Remember, the Trump presidency, like his candidacy, will just be a media shit show, with the prime focus on optics, and not actual policy or results. So there will be a great 7 to 9 day media sensation surrounding a big concrete wall being built along a few miles of the border with Mexico, it won't be completed and will accomplish nothing, and all the reporters will go home and all of the Trumpistas will be happy.

There will be a few deportations of immigrant families, all well documented by the media, and that will be that. Nothing like the mass deportations that were promised to a drooling white nationalist Trump voter base, but enough to keep them, once again, complacent and happy. The truth is, and the Republican business elite knows this well, that our economy has come to depend upon a large workforce who are willing to work for sub-minimum wage, who demand no health care and retirement benefits, and don't dare to speak back to their bosses. The illegals will stay, as a permanent sub class, as they always have been.

The Muslim watch list isn't going to happen, but there will be a ton of talk and an active push for it; even for right wing America, absolute curtailment of liberty is going too far. The down side is that all of the media attention is only going to further incite the crazies on the right; expect some isolated violent acts and some mosque vandalizing, but that's it. That's even too much, really, but now that we know, post election, the true extent of racism in this country, it's the best we can hope for.

Nationwide profile, stop and frisk? As any one of us of color already knows, that's the way it rolls, right now, it is the way it is, national policy or no policy. As with other things, expect a lot of bullshit talk, and media demonization, but things won't change, for better or for worse. It's bad enough as it is.

For the main part, same sex marriage won't be threatened, too much. The rabid right wing Christian fundamentalists (how it pains me, who used to be a Sunday school teacher, to write those words) will always need to have something to react and push back against, and may even convince some of the more backward Southern state legislatures to enact local restrictions. There has to be some issue where the Trump presidency wants to at least appear conciliatory, and this will be it. However, if, as some are speculating, Trump resigns or gets impeached within a year, and Pence, a well known homophobe, becomes President, that's another story.

War. There will be war. With who, or why, who cares? It must have been very dull this past decade for everyone who thrives on the excitement that a run up to a war brings. So what if we wake up a few mornings later and wonder what we've done, and who is this stranger in bed with us? This country loves war, or at least the promise of one, and the whole Iraq experience will have taught us nothing. A broader point is that war is immensely profitable; for some people, nobody you or I know. Hopefully it will be a limited war, and not too expensive, without too many casualties.

On the national security front in general, wiser heads will prevail - remember, Trump will be an essentially absentee president, and in any case, he probably knows he doesn't have a clue what's going on, no matter his bluster. Expect a few well written speeches, and visits to the White House by Russian President For Life Putin, but NATO stands, and China is still at least a decade away from building the military required for their planned Pan-Asia takeover. By then, hopefully, we'll have someone in charge that does have a clue.

President Obama made the point that Trump wasn't stable enough to be in charge of the nuclear codes, and that's an unsettling thought. Hold that thought.

Reproductive rights: same as marriage equality - the radical Christian right wing needs an on-going but illusory threat to their existence in order to sustain the vitriol that keeps them funded. So look for another media shit show, a lot of hue and cry on the news shows, a couple congressional committees wasting a ton of money, and besides Planned Parenthood being completely defunded, not a whole lot of change will actually happen.

Climate change, the EPA, wilderness and public spaces, clean water and air guidelines? Republicans always want to roll it all back, and give it all way. They're going to start doing it again, and we have to be vigilant and do what we can to minimize the total harm. Donate to the Sierra Club and other natural conservation groups, so they can keep funding the ongoing legal fight.

Social Security and Medicare. It's a real hoot to think about all those dumb ass Baby Boomers who are totally in bed with a political party who openly says they're going to eliminate senior benefits. Not even waiting until after the inauguration, House speaker Ryan, with the assurance of a presidential signing, announced his planned elimination of Medicare. The fight is on, and may Grandma, and all the stupid Boomers, not starve or die of cancer until it's resolved.

As for the upcoming tax realignment, as well as privatizing Social Security and Medicare, in case you haven't noticed, the Republican mode of governance is as a kleptocracy: "Kleptocracy (from Greek: κλεπτοκρατία, klépto- thieves + -kratos rule, literally "rule by thieves") is a government with corrupt rulers (kleptocrats) that use their power to exploit the people and natural resources of their own territory in order to extend their personal wealth and political power." And they now have total power, complete control of all branches of government. And they have as their leader, one of the greediest men ever to go into politics, probably the most money hungry ever in our nation's history, who also admires the head of the world's premier openly kleptocratic government, Russia. And he, along with his cronies and his family, are going to bleed us dry. Considering that one of the members of Trump's transition team is interested in the life-extending properties of blood transfusions from younger people, that's a fitting analogy.

Keep Calm and Carry On

So relax, things won't get too very bad; what these people are really interested in is money. We're only going to get a whole lot poorer, and we'll survive that.




Autumn Days

Big Leaf Maple in Full Fall Color

Here are some fall photos, from the back yard, and around the neighborhood.

Back Yard Fence, with Autumn Blaze Maple Leaves, and a Clay New Mexico Moon
Finch Munching an Echinacea Seed Cluster
Squirrel Food




One Week Later


Usually, I approach doing a blog post sort of like writing or arranging a song - lay down a riff, and then let imagination and inspiration take over, and build the rest up from there. It's been an uninspiring week, and even now, it's tough to get started, hard to find a riff. And it's not just me; all around my town, and all over the country as well, there are a lot of otherwise happy and energetic people who find it hard to get up in the morning, difficult to eat with any real appetite, hard to sleep through the night without waking up worrying about the uncertain future. Even though I've had way more than my share of really crappy behavior thrown at me through the years due to my heritage, I can't imagine what it must feel like to be part of an immigrant or refugee family at this very moment.

For many millions of us, this is the closest that we've ever come to feeling as if we live in a time of existential crisis. And it's not that we all share just one issue or concern - almost everyone you talk to has their own point of view on how the results of the election threaten to upend any sense of security in their lives. Racial and cultural minorities, members of non-Christian religions, those with alternative sexual orientations, anyone concerned with women's reproductive rights or climate change or awareness of the fragility of the network of multi-national non-aggression treaties, all those and more - all are facing a very clouded and unknowable future.

If history is any judge, at least in recent American history, hopefully nothing too disturbing will happen. All of the socially charged and violence inciting rhetoric that came out of the President-elect's oddly shaped mouth may prove to have been merely campaign bluster, and that he really doesn't have authoritarian or dictatorial urges, and possibly, no deeply rooted convictions of any sort, besides his own desire for self-enrichment. If that's true, in the long run we'll be okay, although somewhat poorer. But in the meantime, those of his supporters who were lathered up into a fine froth of bigotry and hate are having their own brand of fun.

The Orange County, New York, Beth Shalom Cemetery was defaced a few days ago:


So far, the only connection between this incident and the Trump campaign is that it happened in "Orange" County.

The 100+ year old African-American Hopewell Baptist Church in Greenville, Mississippi was spray painted with an election campaign message, and then set ablaze:


Local authorities are investigating the incident, although it is being assumed that this was the work of "just some teenagers letting off steam". Sources in the area say that if it had been adults who committed the crime, they would have used explosives.

Ayman Mohyeldin passes on an email received by journalist Hannah Allam from a Senate staffer:


And in the hills of West Virginia, two local dignitaries in Clay County are happy to give fashion advice to the First Lady, and the First Lady elect:


The original Facebook post was deleted, and a hilarious "apology" post went up instead:


My local correspondent, an expert in Southern culture, assures me that these are just a couple of high spirited Virginia belles, and we shouldn't take too much offense, since "that's just the way they talk down there."

Here are the two First Ladies:


Over the past eight years, Michelle Obama has become a familiar face to everyone in America. On the other hand, so far no one knows what Mrs Trump actually looks like.

*               *               *

As of this writing, no one has yet lost their lives in any of the various practical jokes, hi-jinks, church fires, and mob beatings done by America's new winners; hopefully, there won't be any. It's kind of depressing to think that the fate and future of our (already) great country has been decided by the kinds of people that leave really nasty comments on YouTube and Twitter.

In the 227 years of the history of the Presidency of the United States of America, every one of the prior holders of the office have been, no matter how you may feel about their politics and policies, all of them gentlemen. This year, a man who is the epitome of ostentatious vulgarity, nothing like a gentleman, has been elevated into power with the help of his minion Vulgarian hordes. I don't think those hordes are going to let us, or him, forget that fact any time soon.