Archive for October, 2019

NJ Gov. Murphy Adopts Flawed Private Foundation Plan For Reducing Lead In Drinking Water

October 10th, 2019 No comments

Murphy’s Plan and Foundation Report Provide Cover For Failures and Dodge Key Issues

Wall Street Financed $500 Million Bond Program Provides Private Monopoly Profits

Why are infants and kids subject to weaker standards?

[Update: readers have accused me of being “soft”.

think you were soft – this a con – a plan to do plan with no teeth – more children will get lead poisoned – and nj future enj cwa gave cover for Murphy in action and negligence

I take that criticism but think it misrepresent most of my criticism below. I am not on the ground in NJ, I’m on the California coast. Here is the edge of the debate. ~~~ end update]

Just as we predicted at the outset and repeated 5 days ago, a private Foundation funded Panel released a flawed Report on lead in drinking water and Gov. Murphy immediately adopted the recommendations of that Report as his administration’s lead abatement plan.

That was quick!

And just as we predicted, the Report and the Gov. Plan dodge key issues (outlined below)(and the “transactional” frauds applauded right on que and even attended the Gov.’s event.)

But, contrary to our predictions, while the Report did provide cover for regulatory failures, it did not provide a “platform for privatization”.

In fact, the Gov. completely dodged the privatization issue by misleadingly calling private for profit water corporations “utilities”. Orwell lives.

Instead of allowing the private water companies to expand their profit empire by hostile takeovers of public systems, the private water companies were allowed to recover private monopoly profits on billions of dollars of public ratepayer backed investments.

That gravy train includes Wall Street bond finance fees and the lucrative legal fees for the law firms who serve as Bond Counsel.

Translation: what is being sold as a “no – cost to homeowners” program is really a $ billion pot of money to finance and recover a monopoly rate of return via special assessments on water bills. Here it is in the fine print of Gov. Murphy’s self congratulatory press release:


Governor Murphy proposes a $500 million bond to support the replacement of lead service lines and remediation of lead-based paint in homes across New Jersey. The Governor also supports efforts to allow water utilities to mitigate the cost of lead service line replacement for homeowners. 

Translation: “mitigate costs” means recover monopoly profits on investment of your money. There is no free lunch. You will pay higher  water bills. Period

Now to the details of the Foundation Report Gov. Murphy adopted as his plan’s framework.

In my set up post, I listed a bunch of issues I predicted the report would downplay or dodge completely.

1. The Whitewash starts in the first paragraph

Right off the bat, the whitewash begins in the first paragraph of the first page of the report, where they misleading provide a false assurance by stating as a fact (with no supporting evidence) that, aside from minor lead problems, that NJ drinking water is safe:

Most New Jersey residents take for granted that their tap water is healthy and safe. Federal and state regulations require drinking water utilities to test for nearly 100 primary contaminants and report the results annually; violations are unusual.

That misleading claim ignores over 500 “unregulated contaminants” that DEP knows are present in NJ drinking water but are not sampled for or regulated by DEP. It ignores DEP’s 2009 Report recommendation for a “treatment based approach” to regulation. It ignores the backlog of MCL recommendations at the DWQI and DEP. It ignores actual data on violations and notices of violations issued by DEP. It ignores the lack of followup DEP enforcement and corrective action Orders by DEP for violations. In fact, one of DEP’s many “Notices Of Violation” (NOV’s) to Newark for MCL violations actually contributed to the lead corrosion problem, because Newark altered the water chemistry in a failed attempt to comply with the DEP NOV.

2. No Sense of Urgency, no accountability and failed State leadership

I was pleasantly surprised by several of the recommendations on Executive Orders, legislation, regulation and monitoring.

The analysis and recommendations were far more detailed than I expected (they even took a bumbling stab at explaining statistics), but they were presented in such as way as to avoid criticism of the failure by regulators to tell the truth to the public about the various long known flaws and loopholes and failure by those regulators to seek stronger laws or enact stronger regulations.

In fact, instead of telling the truth, regulators have falsely assured the public that their water is safe, for decades.

First, In terms of urgency, the Report fails to note that NJ State agencies – like DEP and the Department of Health – have emergency rule-making powers. Rules become effective upon publication in the NJ Register.

That means that they could have corrected these long known regulatory flaws yesterday.

Second, the Report recommendations that critical public health policy and DEP regulations be addressed by DEP science and the Drinking Water Quality Institute (DWQI). That injects years of delay in implementation:

4.  Research health-based thresholds and expanded blood testing. (research) Study expansion of required blood testing to include pregnant women and infants. Engage DEP’s Drinking Water Quality Institute to review national studies and consider the advisability of adopting: 1) a state standard for lead in water that is lower than the existing federal threshold of 15 parts per billion; 2) a health-based household action level for lead in water; and 3) an appropriate standard for child care facilities.

That recommendation also is a major failure to adopt the longstanding policy that NJ adopt more stringent NJ state standards, compared to federal EPA standards.

Here it is again:

Given the health issues at stake, DWQI should seek to expedite its recommendations, and DEP should decide whether to pursue regulations that are more stringent than the federal LCR.

That is failed leadership and echoes the “federal consistency” policy dictated by the business community and adopted by former Gov. Whitman and Christie via Executive Orders.

Third, the Report’s recommendations completely ignore major policy, science and regulatory controversies, including:

  • a new “precautionary” public health approach to DEP regulation, MCL’s, and “risk assessment”, including cumulative impacts, multiple chemical exposures, and multiple exposure pathways
  • Regulatory mandates to consider environmental justice in DEP policy, rules, and decisions
  • Addressing over 500 “unregulated contaminants” in drinking water via what DEP has recommended as a “treatment based approach” (including new treatment requirements for drinking water plants AND wastewater discharges)
  • Lack of resources and professional expertise & capacity at NJ DEP
  • Inadequate oversight, negligence, and lax enforcement by NJ DEP
  • what really went on in Newark? The NY Times provided more detail in news coverage and the Op-Ed page.

These flaws are what caused the Newark crisis and have blocked effective drinking water protections in NJ.

3. Massive Loophole Guts The Entire Program

The Report recommends a longstanding DEP loophole strategy: “flexibility” via the waiver:

DEP should have flexibility to negotiate alternative deadlines through a Safe Drinking Water Act permit or Administrative Consent Order if a utility demonstrates that the 10-year deadline is not achievable.

You can kiss that alleged mandate and 10 year deadline goodbye – they do not exist.

4. Reliance on Flawed Current Law – Water Quality Accountability Act and School Program

As I suggested, this Foundation funded and corporate influenced group was designed not only to provide cover, but to not make waves or step on any toes.

Accordingly, the Report supports and suggests only cosmetic reforms to 2 current state laws and programs that are fatally flawed: the Water Quality Accountability Act and the school & daycare lead program.

5. False claim that there are “no costs” to homeowners

The Report claims that the lead line removal program will come at “no cost” to homeowners.

That is false (see above quote from Gov. Murphy’s financing plan). That approach is reflected in the Report’s recommendation:

Rate revenues are the source of funds for approximately 95% of water and sewer utility expenses, including capital improvements. Rates are not typically used to improve water infrastructure relating to private property; however, given the public health threat of lead in water, other states (e.g., IN, PA, MI) have authorized rate recovery to remediate such LSLs. Recognizing the unique nature of this situation, legislation would authorize both investor- and publicly-owned drinking water utilities to pursue rate recovery to replace LSLs located under private property during the 10-year plan

Homeowners will be paying for this “rate recovery”.

I’m sure that this rate recovery recommendation was the price of getting the water companies to support the Report.

6. Misleading claims about fairness

The Report creates the appearance that equity is a core policy objective.

But the fine print belies that commitment:

For example, if the rate increase required to fully address the LSL problem in a community with lead exceedances and/or a significant percentage of LSLs exceeds a certain threshold (e.g., 5%), and if that rate increase would make water rates unaffordable for more than a certain percentage of the population, that community would be eligible for the subsidy.

Get that? A “certain percentage” of the community will bear an unjust and unquantified burden.

7. Crocodile tears for Democracy – A Trojan horse?

The Report – mistakenly – recommends and states as fact that any debt issuance would have to be approved by the voters.

Program structure.               

Regardless of the funding source, voters would be asked to approve a constitutional amendment to ensure that the funds are not diverted.

This appears to be a faux appeal to democracy, but it is more likely a Trojan horse, because everyone knows that a lead abatement program, which, given the Newark crisis, will be politically spun as targeting NJ cities, is not going to be approved by the suburban voters.

This sense of faux Trojan Horse is bolstered by three facts:

One, the Report buries the fact that it is not really legally accuratevoter approval is NOT mandated:

If the borrowing were done through the New Jersey Water Bank (New Jersey’s State Revolving Fund), voter approval would not be required.

Second, no Constitutional amendment to prevent diversion of bond funds is necessary if financed by the NJ State Revolving Fund. The Official Statements on the Bonds, federal appropriation laws, and State pledges to bondholders legally would prevent diversion of funds.

Third, these people were nowhere to be found when the Legislature eliminated the prior requirement that any privatization be approved by local voters.

If they all are so committed to democracy and voters, they should have spoken up before our democratic rights were sold down the river by the Democratic Legislature’s privatization law.

8. Anti-regulatory ideology exposed

The Report calls regulation a “blunt instrument”.

This rhetoric could have come from the right wing Koch Brothers funded ALEC or The Federalist Society:

Rather than using regulation as a blunt instrument that treats all facilities the same, the State of Illinois applies regulatory pressure where it is needed most, varying testing requirements based on the compliance record of child care facilities.

9. The Report ignores Air emissions of lead, including from garbage incinerators

The Report identifies sources of lead exposure: lead paint, drinking water and “soil”.

While most of the lead in soil is from historical emissions from leaded gasoline, some of it is a result of contaminated toxic sites and industrial air emissions of lead, some of which is ongoing, like the garbage incinerators in over-burdened communities, Newark, Camden and Union County (se:

Garbage incinerators are major sources of greenhouse gas emissions, lead and other pollutants.

They should be targeted and shut down.

10. Why Do Schools and Day Care Centers Have Weaker Standards Than Water Systems?

I leave the best – or worst – in the Report for last.

The Report properly goes out of its way to stress that infants and children are highly vulnerable to low level exposures to lead.

But, the Report absurdly support the current school and daycare program, which has far weaker standards and requirements that the drinking water systems do, in terms of monitoring and remediation.

Why are infants and kids subject to weaker standards???

First, with respect to monitoring and reporting, schools are on a 3 year schedule. Water systems are required to do far more frequent sampling and reporting. Why should sampling and reporting be weaker at schools and daycares, where even short term low level exposures can seriously or even irreversibly harm an infant or child?

Second, with respect to remediation of lead problems that are discovered, schools are not required to remediate:

Neither state-licensed child care facilities nor schools in New Jersey are presently required to remediate lead in water. Facilities served by a water utility can simply close off access to the water outlets involved and substitute an alternative water source, such as bottled water. (Note: The federal LCR requires facilities that use well water to remediate.).

Instead of closing these egregious loopholes and mandating remediation, the Report recommends a lame “Drinking Water Management Plan” submission process.

Finally, the Report inadvertently reveals why the lead problem should not be imposed on schools. In the recommendations on how to prioritize current $100 million funds available, the Report notes:

Focus funds where they will have the greatest impact on public health. Recognizing that childhood lead poisoning is particularly acute in older municipalities, many of which are fiscally distressed, the funding distribution should prioritize those municipalities to ensure that the greatest number of lead-exposed students are protected.

In addition to “fiscal distress”, most of these communities are urban, racially segregated, over-burdened and disproportionately impacted by pollution (i.e. the environmental justice argument), and lack the resources and expertise to address the complex science and regulation of lead.

Instead of tackling these major issues head on, the Report spews drivel and euphemism. 

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It’s Time For a Publicly Financed Renewable Power Authority

October 9th, 2019 No comments

Wall Street Financing and Corporate Profits Vastly Increase Costs

Democratically Controlled Public Power Reduces Cost & Accelerates Transition To Renewables

More Jobs With Better Pay & Benefits And More Equitable Treatment of Low Income People

Enough of the shakedowns, blackmail and ripoffs

NJ Spotlight is again reporting on an expanding crisis in the solar power sector, as Wall Street and Corporate America flex their political muscles and seek to leverage and continue current windfall profits (no pun) they are making from the current “market based” “incentive” approach to subsidizing renewable energy in NJ, se:

Under the current “market based” approach, NJ homeowners, businesses, and workers are held hostage to the power and investment decisions of Wall Street and solar corporations.

Those private corporations decide when and where  and how much renewable power to invest in, how many jobs to create, how much those workers get paid, what benefits they are provided, who gets solar power, how much they pay for it, and how fast NJ can transition away from fossil fuels.

Most importantly, the need for Wall Street financing returns and corporate profits drives the cost of renewable power. Consumers are not only held hostage, they are paying a significant profit premium for renewable power.

I found this blatant blackmail threat to leave the state no different than the recent threat to shut down nuke plants in the “highway robbery” by PSEG in their nuke bailout: (NJ Spotlight)

If most developers agree with that assessment, it could lead to an exodus of large portions of the [solar] sector to other states, some said. By most accounts, the solar industry employs about 7,000 in New Jersey, more than 40% in the residential sector.

Get that?

If NJ ratepayers don’t provide sufficient profits to Wall Street banks and greedy solar investors, they will walk.

I say good riddance. Enough of the blackmail, shakedowns, and ripoffs.

Wall Street and the corporations have gone too far – their greed and arrogance know no bounds.

It’s time for public renewable power.

Public renewable power would put people of NJ in charge of the transition to renewable energy, democratizing current private market based decisions and significantly lowering the costs of that transition.

Public financing and ownership of solar and wind renewables would be FAR cheaper than relying on Wall Street financing and providing sufficient corporate profits for greedy investors.

Public ownership would allow real energy planning to occur, which would not only lower the costs, but greatly accelerate and rationalize the many technological, regulatory, and practical problems inherent in the massive transition away from a centralized fossil fuel based grid to energy efficiency and local distributed renewable power.

So, why not abandon the current market based approach and form a public NJ Solar Bank and Renewable Power Authority?

[Update – a veery old idea – check this out: (Washington Post, 6/21/79)

From the roof of the West Wing of the White House, President Carter called yesterday for creation of a $100 million solar energy bank to help move the country toward a goal of getting 20 percent of its power from the sun and other renewable sources of energy by the year 2000. ~~~ end update]

Legislation could build on the current NJ Environmental Infrastructure Trust. The NJEIT is able to secure lower cost financing.

The Bernie Sanders Green New Deal plan calls for public power, in the form of redirecting and expanding the missions and jurisdiction of current federal Power Marketing Authorities (e.g. the TVA).

Screen Shot 2019-10-09 at 10.04.34 AM

Screen Shot 2019-10-09 at 9.58.09 AM

That federal approach is not inconsistent with State’s taking the lead in forming public power banks and publicly controlled renewable power authorities.

We are facing an existential crisis as a result of the accelerating climate emergency –

We can not put the fate of human civilization in the hands of Wall Street and greedy corporations.

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Dear Motor Home Neighbor: We Are Hoping To “Get More Information On Your Living Situation”

October 8th, 2019 No comments

Translation: We are watching you, we know where you are, & we want you gone

I’m not sure what’s worse: gross neglect and attacks on the homeless, or paternalistic false care.

Let me explain.

Yesterday, I was forced to stop for new tires in Half Moon Bay, California.

It’s a lovely little coastal town, just south of San Francisco, with lovely (very rich) people.

The State beach charged $10 daily admission fee. No thank you. We parked and walked a mile to the beach.

The local tire shop didn’t have tires in stock that fit my bus and had to order them from their nearby warehouse, forcing me to spend the night.

The tire shop generously offered me their parking space for overnight parking to avoid the local restrictions.

The tires didn’t come until late in the afternoon, so we decided to stay over another night in a “12 hour” parking zone just down the road from the tire place, on the edge of downtown, but near some fairly nice homes.

After the tire job was done, we parked and took a walk at sunset to get dinner. Upon our return, there were two bright yellow notes on the bus. I initially thought they were tickets. But instead, they said (format as in original):

Dear Motor Home Neighbor

We are hoping to survey you and our other neighbors living in motor homes to get more information about your living situation and the kind of services that might be helpful to you.

And we’ll give you a $50 Safeway gift card for your time.

If we missed you today, we plan to be back on Tuesday, 4-7 pm, Thursday 9 am – 12 pm, or Saturdays 12-3 pm until October 12. Two volunteers will knock and hope to speak to you.

Need help now? Please contact your local Core Agency, Coastside Hope at (650) 726-9071.

This is an anonymous survey conducted in partnership with County of San Mateo Human Service Agency.

What to make of this?

I immediately was pissed off by the arrogant presumption that my bus was a “motor home” and – with absolutely no evidence to support their conclusions – that I was in need of their “help” and “services”, and right “now”.

Of course, the Mr. Rogers “neighbor” rhetoric was condescending, at best.

Then the real message sunk in loud and clear: this was not some effort to help people, but a politically correct way to let people know that the authorities are aware of my presence and that they’d really like to see me gone ASAP.

I’ve been told that recent federal court decisions block California police from harassing people who live in vehicles. So, obviously, they can’t just send the cops to roust people out.

Is that now the caring California way to keep the presumed homeless moving down the coast?

I sure feel that way – how would you feel?

I really don’t think I’m being paranoid and cynical – but I’ll call these folks tomorrow to see what’s up.

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On The (Berkeley) Waterfront

October 7th, 2019 No comments

The Homeless Refrain: “Where Do We Go?”

“On The Waterfront” is one of my favorite movies, but they’ll be no pretty pictures today.

Instead, after almost 3 years on the road, I want to relay what unfortunately is another sickening episode of a systematic and unjust war on the poor and homeless. Word.

We went out of our way to stop in historically leftist Berkeley, California, assuming that it would be a city targeted for an Extinction Rebellion climate strike.

We were wrong.

We rolled into town on Sunday afternoon, and drove directly to what we consider the central cultural point in the city, up University Avenue, not to the University, but to People’s Park.

In our prior 3 visits to Berkeley over the last decade, we parked at People’s Park and walked around the Park and the neighborhood – Telegraph Avenue and the Berkeley campus. Last year, we even enjoyed a free meal there.

Not this year.

I don’t know if it’s, me, but I got the strong sense that something significant had changed.

The homeless were far more numerous and desperate.

They had far more crazy gear – tents, chairs, beds, tarps, and other random stuff – in full display. Garbage was everywhere.

The people in the park were not – as in prior visits – friendly and offering me a hit on their joints, but angry, mumbling incoherently, and warning me to stay away from their vicious pit bull dogs.

The vehicles parked along the perimeter of the park – buses, RV’s and cars that they slept in – all had broken windows, were in disarray, and smelled badly like piss.

There were tents on the sidewalks.

Frankly, I was terrified.

I got the hell out of there after walking the perimeter and talking with a handful of the park people.

I drove down to the marina, where I was aware of and had read there was a crackdown on homeless encampments and overnight parking in vehicles, particularly RV’s.

I saw small homeless encampments with logos – “WHERE DO WE GO? – on tents.

I had the same question on my mind.

I parked along the waterfront with a glorious view of the bay, Oakland, the San Francisco skyline, and the Golden Gate Bridge, but being in a brightly painted bus with a political message, I felt like a big neon sign target for the cops.

Shortly after I parked, a guy drove up to warn me to move on – he said that overnight parking was prohibited, strictly enforced, and that cops were  driving people out.

So, to avoid this hassle, I drove to a parking lot closer to the marina, where I had camped before. I  spoke with some folks in RV’s and vans to find out what the hell was going on.

They advised that I could not park overnight there but could stay in a nearby lot overnight, which I did.

Funny, just after dark, 4  Berkeley police cars parked right next to me virtually all night. I did not feel safer, but rather targeted. But the police had no problem with my bus or another bus with 2 young woman parked next to me.

After a policed safe night, as I was making a pot of coffee this morning, a “harbor patrol manager” drove up in golf cart and said I was an oversized vehicle and had to leave. He emphasized that there was no overnight sleeping in vehicles too.

I asked him about using a nearly empty parking lot for the day and he said out was OK.

So, I went there and began cooking breakfast.

Shortly thereafter, I saw this same Harbor Patrol guy in his golf cart drive into the lot and get into a violent argument with a guy who was washing his car with the water and hose made available in lot for boat washing. The man was Hispanic.

After a violent exchange with this man, he then came back to ask me to leave.

I asked what the dispute with the Hispanic man was all about. The Harbor Patrol manager replied that the man had been seen many times previously filling hundreds of jugs and providing water to the homeless. I questioned why that was a problem, and I noted that the water was not potable. No reply. He didn’t care about any of that – were the homeless being poisoned by the water? – Crickets. He was concerned with just the fact that the man was helping the homeless and using water and equipment that was reserved for recreational boaters to wash their boats. THAT WAS THE PROBLEM! 

How is that any different than the cruelty of ICE and US Border Patrol cutting water jugs in the desert and arresting humanitarians who leave water in the desert?

After this exchange, I complained that just 5 minutes prior, he said this spot in the parking lot was OK.

He then changed the subject and stressed the need for respecting the rights of the recreational boaters.

But I told him there were no boaters in the entire lot – I was not taking their space or interfering with air use of the space in any way.

I was the only vehicle in the lot.

I explained that I was a retired professional who understood how the wealthy manipulate the system to their advantage and noted that the poor lack the resources to understand or make the arguments to protect their own legitimate rights to public space.  So I would make those arguments for them,

I then took strong exception to the whole idea of reserving such a wonderful public space exclusively for wealthy recreational boaters, who on top of this, did not pay any special user fees for the privilege of this space or the water & boat washing equipment.

And here’s where the evil of the whole system was revealed:

He replied:

I respect you, you are a reasonable guy, with a nice rig.

But, in my experience, as a former manager of the San Francisco marina, it’s not the rich boaters who are the problem, it’s all the people who feel that they have a right to come here and use this place as a public park, when it is limited to recreational boaters.

The problem is not the average boater. The problem is that the ultra-rich and the very poor and homeless BOTH want special treatment.

Imagine that: the homeless guy living in a tent and drinking non-potable water is the same problem as the rich guy in a million dollar yatch or sailboat.

On the road.

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Wolf House In Ruins

October 5th, 2019 No comments
Ruins of Wolf House

Ruins of Wolf House

[Update: 4/19/21 – Good biographical essay from Smithsonian. ~~~ end update]

We spent a glorious day in Jack London State Historic Park –

We visited Jack’s gravesite, his cabin, his ranch, tragic Wolf House ruins, and the monument museum erected to him by his wife, Charmian (note to the wise: don’t ever let your widowed wife define your legacy).

Just a few days prior, I picked up a copy of Naomi Klein’s latest book On Fire: The Burning Case for a Green New Deal  so couldn’t help but think of Wolf House – which burned to the ground – as a metaphor for our times.

London is one of my favorite authors, so visiting his ranch was a must see as we bounced down the California coast. (We’ll soon post photos of the pacific coast, from Puget sound – we’re trying to get to Berkeley for Monday’s Extinction Rebellion’s climate strike),

At the outset, let’s be clear: London was a socialist. Not a Bernie Sanders version, but the real deal (see London’s essay “How I Became a Socialist” (1905) for a discussion of democratic socialism).

We picked up copies of original covers of our favorite London books:

We also picked up a sticker that we immediately put on the bus and is now our favorite – it simply says:


The landscape of London’s ranch is exactly what we imagined in reading his work, especially the secret hiding place for the revolutionaries at the end of the novel “The Iron Heel”.


But with my focus on London’s political writings, I was unaware of London’s commitment to what we would now call “sustainable agriculture” and “animal rights”.


I was pleasantly surprised that London’s ideas about land management on his ranch anticipated the New Deal CCC forestry and agricultural programs and writers like Wendell Berry.

London's cabin - been there, for 17 years!

London’s cabin – been there, for 17 years!

That just builds on my London hero worship! I hope my kids spread my ashes in the Hudson River!

London' ashes were buried under this rock

London’ ashes were buried under this rock

Jack had a dream – one we shared and lived for 17 years in our cabin and farm in Ringoes, home of famous environment writer John McPhee.

But, I must note that the museum erected by London’s wife, Charmian, was a disappointment. Never let a high maintenance wife define your legacy!

Charmian's Museum

Charmian’s Museum

After a truly glorious day, we’re now in the Glen Ellen market parking lot (victim of 2017 wildfire), drinking beers and listening to Tom Waits’ greatest (there is no doubt in my mind that Jack London would have loved Tom Waits). Tom’s lyrics:

I like to sleep until the crack of noon
Midnight howlin’ at the moon
Goin’ out when I wanto, comin’ home when I please
I don’t have to ask permission
If I want to go out fishing
And I never have to ask for the keys

Maybe after Wolf House burned down, London felt these feelings Waits explores in his song “Hold On”

Well, God bless your crooked little heart
St. Louis got the best of me
I miss your broken China voice
How I wish you were still here with me
Oh, you build it up, you wreck it down
Then you burn your mansion to the ground
Oh, there’s nothing left to keep you here
But when you’re falling behind in this big blue world

Waits’ song “Old 55″ tells a story in my life and my “Colossal Illusion”: (but I drove an old ’89 Volvo):

Well, my time went so quickly
I went lickety-splickly
Out to my old ’55
As I pulled away slowly, feeling so holy
God knows, I was feeling alive

(And if you can listen to Waits’ version of Waltzing Matilda” without crying, you have no heart).

We’ll keep you posted.


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