Insane

What The Fuck?

Our Country has lost its mind and I have been similarly afflicted with a haunting psychosis. Trump is scarier than anything I have ever encountered in my lifetime and my brain refuses to let me forget it. It’s been one month since 11/8 and every day seems harder than the last as he picks his cabinet of ghouls and picks fights with Hamilton, The Media and China. He makes a private deal with Carrier by giving them corporate tax breaks to send jobs to Mexico (and save a few for us). He chooses Climate Change Deniers to lead the Environmental Protection Agency and Conspiracy Antagonists to head up National Security. Everything he does or says enrages me, which would be fine on a personal level if I wasn’t sure that we are headed for certain war with major death and destruction to ensue.

What The Fuck?

This is the question I keep asking myself, and have many times every day since the election. I simply cannot fathom how anyone would choose this. It makes no sense, is completely illogical, utterly irrational and stunningly stupid; thus insanity. He seems to be deliberately sabotaging our governmental protections in finance, environment and security while threatening free speech and promoting hate speech. The conflict-of-interest issue with his international businesses is essentially irreconcilable and it is very clear that he will serve his own interests and the tycoons of capitalism at the expense of the American taxpayer. Sure, he’ll slash taxes, but he’ll also slash services, dismantle protections for the worker, consumer and citizen, while siphoning off all of our country’s common tools of basic civilization for corporate profit.

What The Fuck?

I don’t know where this will end up, but it is very clear where it’s headed. What will stop him, I wonder, from treating the American Economy as his personal piggy-bank and the American Military as his personal goon squad, creating leverage over everyone for any purpose he desires. He has managed to split our nation into polar factions and he now has the world in his sights, seeking to divide and conquer the military powers of this planet, while inevitably instigating and escalating international conflict.

I wish us all good luck in surviving the Age of Trump.

Miles is one year old tomorrow. I love my children more than absolutely anything and want to give them the best life possible. I will do everything in my power to give them the world they deserve, a healthy planet full of Hope, Peace, Optimism and Love. The present is my life but the future is my purpose. Progress is our existential struggle and eternal beacon of inspiration.

 

President-Elect.

It happened. He won. She lost. We despair.

I was hopeful. The polls and the math and the logic pointed to an historic election of the first female president. Our best political scientists overwhelmingly believed that the country was with her. And we were, with more individual votes than him. But the Electoral College! As Florida became increasingly red throughout the night and North Carolina began to lean, I became nervous. When Michigan and Wisconsin turned into battlegrounds, I went to bed. It was obvious where this was headed and salvaging what I could of sleep took priority over sinking into a county-by-county abyss of sorrow.

I have been through every stage of grief in the past three days and have brokenheartedly accepted it. I am incredibly sad that we as a country would choose this, and angry that millions of individuals wanted this man to lead us. I am scared of the potential wrath of destruction he could pursue in every aspect of policy, and appalled that a mean, lying, racist, sexist, xenophobic con man will make crucial decisions that impact everyone in the world. It just doesn’t even seem possible that this could be reality!

And yet, it is.

So what next? I am doing my best to not imagine potential scenarios that could play out; it’s too overwhelming, terrifying and depressing. I will stick to daily intelligence and take action accordingly. I will do everything I can to oppose anything that infringes on people’s freedom, at home or abroad. I will engage in and encourage a rebound of progressive politics and will defend this country from itself. We have the potential to be so Good! This is a setback, but we will rise again and restore dignity to our incredible nation. Love still trumps hate.

Halloween

Tonight was one of my all-time parenting highlights; watching Ivy spend 2 hours handing out candy on our porch and 1 hour trick-or-treating around our block was absolutely amazing. I have never witnessed such a dense swarm of people, mostly kids, in our neighborhood like that; there were times when the line stretched from our porch 30 kids deep down our steps and walkway to the sidewalk, each waiting for Ivy to drop a piece of candy in their sack. It was a constant flow of candy from bowl to bags and we ran out way before we anticipated, even including a run to the store to replenish supply, due to severe underestimation of the throngs. Ivy handled her duty with a seriousness and focus that I have never seen from her, carefully picking a candy from the assortment and placing it in a waiting receptacle for each child. She was sad when we ran out of candy and had to tell the costumed revelers “Sorry”, but as soon as we started walking down the block, and she understood the concept of receiving the candy from neighbors, she was as joyful as I’ve ever seen her; with every piece of candy she was given, she came bouncing back to us beaming and proudly showing off her loot. She was amazed and enthralled by the lights and decorations (E 4th St. contained some of the best displays I’ve ever seen), and I was able to share with her the phenomenon known as “Ghostbusters” when our neighbor installed a giant Stay Puft Marshmallow Man with video projections of Slimer in the windows — so she is now an expert at singing the call and response theme song! I felt a beautiful and euphoric combination of nostalgia, wonder, excitement and bliss watching her enjoy Halloween as I imagine I once did.

Big Papi

      1. Yom - Supergood

Adios, Papi. As the Red Sox’ season ended in a sweep by the Orioles, it was a meek exit to one of the best careers, but when the pain subsides and we step back and get some perspective, we will see the incredible impact on the team and the city of Boston. Three World Series victories in nine years is a pretty good run and I don’t think they would claim any of those without him. One of my favorite moments in all of sports watching came in game 4 of the 2004 ALCS, with the Sox facing elimination against the Yankees. After Dave Roberts’ steal and Bill Mueller’s single to drive him home to tie the game in the bottom of the 9th, I was grateful we were still alive but also wary of staying up indefinitely. I watched extra innings with one eye open from bed and vividly remember the warm comfort I received watching Ortiz homer in the 12th to win it. Being down 3-1 in the series shouldn’t afford any relief to a longtime suffering fan, but it somehow felt bigger than just one game and indeed, it was! The very next night, Ortiz hit a walk-off single in the 14th as I watched half-asleep again, and a few nights later the Red Sox completed the most incredible series win in the history of sports on their way to reclaiming the World Series trophy after 86 years. If there is any consolation in this year’s early exit, it is that we will not stand in the way of the Chicago Cubs, who finally seem ready to hoist the trophy again after a 108-year drought. Every fan should get to experience what we did in 2004, and I know there are plenty of people who will appreciate a Cubs win. Fly the W!

 

Back On Schedule

      1. Basement - Supergood

School commences! After three months of reduced work commitments and one month of none whatsoever, I was obligated to report to Poly Prep Lower School at 9:00 am on Monday for orientation. Today was the introduction for the new Head of School at the upper campus, and after a few rocky years within the board and administration, it felt like a greatly needed fresh start for the faculty. Audrius Barzdukas delivered a passionate and inspiring speech on the nobility of teaching and moved an audience that has been bracing for this transition with deserved skepticism. Hopefully, as he put it, we can get back “to making the main thing, the main thing”. Teaching truly is a joyful and inspiring occupation, and our institution is filled with amazing faculty who love their work immensely and wonderful students and families who offer everything to the community. I am grateful to be a part of it and look forward to sharing music with kids next week.

But wow, just hanging out with my family is pretty much the greatest time I’ll ever spend. It has been quite a Summer, Miles’ first, and we enjoyed having him along on all our adventures. Ivy is an incredible sister, and we have what I would consider to be the most perfect family in human history!

 

Sweetness

Summer is accelerating quickly! We have been Capeside for our annual 4th of July family weekend, bigger and greater than ever with the two newest Taylors, Miles and Julian. We spent a weekend camping in Vermont, had some friends to The Land, and enjoyed some pool and beach time in Bellport. We are headed up to Lake George on Thursday for a reprise of last year’s raucous weekend with 20 of our closest friends, then a wedding and a week in Maine. And so soon, in a short paragraph, my Summer is complete.

But these few sentences don’t really do it justice. It has been a phenomenally deep and textured few months, and it is the details within these days that make it so incredibly rich. Taking Ivy to watch her first fireworks, assisting in the construction of a tree-house, playing our first multi-day festival with Land Band, and seeing Miles instantly love swimming are just a few of the moments that may have been brief, but will never be forgotten.

I was also excited to perform some Supergood improvisation for an audience for the first time, which was recorded and will live here for interneternity!

      1. Land 07.15.16 - Supergood

Brentrance and Brexit

I woke up this morning in my Brooklyn bed for the first time in 10 days. It was 4:00 am when Ivy rolled in, roaring to start her day before the sun rose (acknowledging it from our bedroom window – Look Dada! So beautiful! – when the sky began its awesome daily hue evolution), experiencing the easy side of jet lag and its 5 hour shift from the previous week and a half in England…

The impetus of the trip was cousin Piera’s wedding, which was an absolutely stunning camping party at a farm in Devon. While we were granted a room as a nod to our toddler/baby situation, the tent city that grew was impressive and the setting was divine. The ceremony involved a picnic with an all-guest grand waltz in a field by a lake and I was incredibly honored to be asked to play guitar and lead the crowd in a singalong of Barry Louis Polisar’s “All I Want Is You“. Everyone contributed to the food preparation as well as the set up and strike of wedding tent and all associated furniture and equipment for late night dance party in the barn. The wedded couple, Piera and Andy are phenomenal people dedicated to sharing their passion for Arts and Sciences and their event was creative, unique, collaborative and beautiful.

We tacked on a week in Sydling St. Nicholas, Dorset, with G and Grand, because they are two of the most supreme beings on this planet. At 93, they have their physical limitations, but they are wise and highly conscious. They love each other in the deepest way and spread it through 4 generations of family. They define divine perfection.

Brexit tension was building when we arrived and on Thursday, G and Grand trudged down to the village hall to cast their ballots. Obviously, they voted to Remain in the European Union, which they witnessed from its nascence, from the despair of bleakest war to the hope that intertwined cultures and economies would eliminate the ceaseless and senseless battles that have scarred the continent for millennia. At 10:00, the polls closed and they began counting the votes of whether to remain in or leave the EU. At about 5:00, Miles woke up and I will never forget the quick intake of breath that Alaina made when she read the New York Times notification that they had voted to leave. I felt sick with fear and loneliness, sadness for all of my family who will be directly affected by this and for the rest of the world, which will suffer as well. It was a loss with incalculable costs and for what? So a few politicians could jockey for power? Cheap fears and closed minds with no compassion for greater humanity led to this result. Many people may be thrilled by this breakup, but none of them could possibly explain what will actually happen to the country, the continent and the world because its implications are infinitely bigger than a binary in/out choice on a piece of paper. We will have to wait and see, but in 3 days the news has had fairly devastating economic impacts all over the world, with trillions of dollars vanishing from markets and portfolios.

Ultimately, it is inconsequential when considered against simple love, which we toasted many times last week, for P&A’s wedding, our 11th anniversary, and G and Grand’s 70th anniversary (Congratulations!). While I do spend a lot of time and energy focused on politics, it actually exists outside the realm of my real life and all that is truly important in my quotidian existence. They play games for power while I play for love.

Doing What I Love To Do

      1. Grownup

 

These Summer weekends are extraordinarily delightful! Friday night was a rare mommy & daddy date night, seeing a musical we have been anticipating for years, Anais Mitchell’s “Hadestown”, which delivered a powerful and haunting score to accompany the myth of Orpheus’ journey to the Underworld to save his love, Eurydice. Amazing performances and universal themes always make great art.

Saturday morning we headed out to Bellport for some high-quality R&R with family and friends. Farm strolling, pool swimming, sailing, beaching, BBQ, and civil discussions about politics and futurism are all excellent ways to while away my weekends and I look forward to more of that over the next three months!

Harmonica

      1. Finals2 - Supergood
      2. Finals - Supergood

 

I got five harmonicas recently and remembered what a fun and easy instrument it is. I learned the basics about 20 years ago with a Klutz book and tape (!), and have just rediscovered why I love it so much. Straight from the lungs and always in key makes it a powerful complement to any piece.

Summer ’16!

      1. Humidity - Supergood

Summer is here! Memorial Day weekend ushered in a period of less work and more play for me. Many of the hours I devoted to teaching from September-May will be spent with my family now and this past weekend was the kickoff, driving North to spend time with Maine Taylors, including my newest nephew, Julian, while taking in a Portland Sea Dogs baseball game, eating at The Honey Paw, playing on swingsets, jungle gyms and running through sprinklers. We stayed one night in Newton with my parents in my always comforting childhood home and one night with my sister in her beautiful new Brookline home. It was too short but deeply meaningful to spend any time at all with these people I love the most.