Great finds and good-byes

It’s been a while since my last post.  The words might not be coming out regularly, but the parade of vinyl into my den has not stopped. I’ve picked a few records I’d like to share observations about, and then step outside my addiction with a farewell.

Had some luck a few weeks ago at my local Goodwill.  Those come few and far between for me.  No I didn’t find a butcher block Beatles cover, but there were some nice titles in good condition for a buck each.


One record I had on my wantlist was The Voice of Scott McKenzie.  Believe it or not, this is the 50th anniversary of The Summer of Love. We’ve lost a lot of sounds from that magical summer in San Francisco.  Jerry Garcia, long gone, Paul Kantner died last year in the great meatgrinder of 2016. Janis dead. Hendrix gone. But McKenzie is still alive.  Who?  McKenzie was a kind of folkyish singer whose only big hit was the anthemic “San Francisco (Be Sure to Wear Some Flowers in Your Hair.)” He is only credited with two albums.  I actually found Voice to be pretty enjoyable.  He has a pretty good mid-range voice and sings some pretty good songs. Four are penned by John Phillips of Mamas and Papas fame, he does a nice cover of “Reason to Believe” by Tim Hardin, as well as a John Sebastian’s  “It’s Not Time Now.”  His warm voice suits the folk-rock material quite well.  I need to listen to it again.


A second record in my Goodwill pickup was an anthology, The Drifters Golden Hits from 1968.  Normally I stay away from anthologies, but I hadn’t really listened to the Drifters before, and kind of had them pegged as just another doo wop band.  I couldn’t have been more wrong. This record simply oozes great songs: “Under the Boardwalk,” “On Broadway,” “Save the Last Dance For Me,” and “Up on the Roof” to name just a few. Great songs by great songwriters by a band that included Clyde McPhatter and Ben E. King.  Even the peripheral songs were really good.  Their LP’s are from the late 50’s and early 60’s, so not easy gets, but it makes me thinks I should be trying harder with Sam Cooke, The Coasters and The Platters.


Let’s talk Dolly Parton.  I’ve admired her early solo music for some time.  For all her goofy big boobs, wigs and make-up gig, none of that changes the fact that she is a fine songwriter and singer. In the early 70’s, after she escaped the clutches of Porter Wagoner, she did some excellent work.  My favorite Parton song is “Jolene” from the album of the same name from 1974.  I set about to acquire a used copy, but it was just spendy and hard to come by, so I went for the 2015 repressing by Music on Vinyl.  A single listen convinced me I made the right choice. In addition to the title track, it also includes Parton’s fine version (shit, it’s her song) of I Will Always Love You.  Though the rest of the songs didn’t stand out for me-because I’ve only listened to them once-they were all as delightful mix of up-tempo songs and ballads featuring Parton’s voice out in front.  A great record and not limited to country music fans only. “Jolene” was recorded by a plethora of other artists including most recently by Parton herself with the  a capella group Pentatonix.  Good stuff.


Finally, let me close with a sad farewell to Stuart McLean, the host of the Canadian Broadcasting Company’s radio broadcast of The Vinyl Cafe.  I’m a long time listener of National Public Radio, and McLean hosted this engaging hour of storytelling and music Sunday afternoons on the Seattle NPR affiliate, KUOW.  For those who believe The Vinyl Cafe was no more than a north of the border copy of Garrison Keillor’s Prairie Home Companion, that simply was not so.  McLean’s hour was really devoted to telling stories.  From his opening monologue, that was really devoted to the city hosting his radio show from Halifax, to Fredericton, to Vancouver to his own stories of Marley and Dave and the improbable but frequently hilarious situations they’d find themselves in, to stories shared by the show’s listeners, The Vinyl Cafe was about sharing tales.  Nothing too heavy, nothing too intellectual, but smart and literate, something everyone could relate to. Yes, there was music, often very good music from the week’s location on the tour.  But the show was never about that. The tunes were just a moment’s interlude so the stories could continue.  But at the center of it all was McLean, with his knack for great timing, deference to his audience, and bottomless reservoir of good humor.

Stuart McLean died a week ago, Wednesday February 15th, after a two year fight against melanoma. He was only 68. It is difficult to see how the show carries on without him, the storyteller-in-chief.  It’s just another reminder that the world turns, things change, and there is terribly little time for sorrow.

Anthologies-good or bad?

When I leaped back into my vinyl-acquiring obsession almost exactly two years ago, I made myself a promise: buy no greatest hits collections.  Some dribbled into my hands as I found ’em dirt cheap at Goodwill or acquired some in big el cheapo collection. However,my belief was and remains that a mature listener does not require an artificially edited version of a performer’s work in order to gain an appreciation of their worth.  At least at this point in my life, I’ve avoided best of  . . . collections like the plague.

My belief is that a full length LP offers context for what an artist was doing at the time. i believe I can spare the 40 minutes it takes to listen to both sides of an album, try to get an idea of what an artist was thinking when it was released without resorting to what the label slapped together, imagining what they thought buyers wanted to hear.


If there was ever an example of a bad anthology, this is it. 

Let’s say, for example you wanted to listen to Elton John.  Would you really buy a copy of 1974’s Elton John’s Greatest Hits, thinking this was a definitive collection of his songs? First, it only has ten songs.  That’s terrible. It takes the listener all the way through Caribou, but has four songs from Good-Bye Yellow Brick Road. No songs from Empty Sky, Tumbleweed Connection, or Madman Across the Water. No “Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters” from Honky Chateau.  No “Harmony,” “Grey Seal,” or “Seen That Movie Too” from Yellow Brick Road. Just a ten song skeleton from five years and nine albums worth of prolific recording.  This case is pretty egregious, but I’m sure you get what I’m saying.

Ordered Gene Pitney.  Am considering the other because the records I want are spendy and/or hard to get.  Temptations record is the only one with the great “Ball of Confusion” on it. 

That said, I’m beginning to soften my view toward anthologies a bit.  There are lots of artists I’d like to have albums for, but are hard to get or really more than I can afford to spend. Sam and Dave, Martha and the Vandellas.  Usually before I commit to adding an artist to my collection, I do some research to determine which are the best LP’s, all someone else’s views, of course, to add, because with few exceptions I can’t have everything. While I continue to look for the records I want from the artists I want, I may resort to anthologies to fill in for the “hard to find.” Sigh. I recently ordered the 1984 Rhino anthology for Gene Pitney.

There are a two more types of anthologies I’ve always been open to.  Record companies often assembled collections by their house musicians to encourage buyers.  One of my favorites is a collection of Northwest bands published by Jerden Records.  I also have a multi-LP anthology by Motown. They provide snapshots to entire genres of music.  I also have a few of the Oldies But Goodies series.  These also fell into my lap during a big cheapie mass buy, but they are also kind of nostalgic.  I remember seeing these in the store when I was a kid.

The last anthology is kind of unique, and these really like, are the live albums promoting a cause.  The most famous might be George Harrison’s Concert for Banladesh. But the three record set also included Ravi Shankar, Leon Russell and Bob Dylan.  During the late 70’s and 80’s these became quite the done thing.  Pete Townsend and the Who were very involved in organizing The Concert for Kampuchea. The No Nukes album from 1979 featured a range of artists from The Doobie Brothers to Bonnie Raitt to Bruce Springsteen. Unfortunately the Live Aid and Farm Aid benefits don’t appear on vinyl.

So anthologies, good or bad?  Let’s just say I’ve moderated a bit, even on the greatest hits packages, but generally to be avoided.  But other forms of anthologies can definitely be worthwhile.

2017 firsts

First New Listen: Grand Funk Railroad Closer to Home


I picked up this album as an inexpensive save the shipping throw-in on a November Discogs order.  I have six Grand Funk Railroad records.  Some I’ve listened to and some I haven’t.  I have varying reactions to their records.

Generally I like the solid rock roots of their music.  Whether it is “We’re an American Band” or “I’m your Captain,” Grand Funk is true to their blues based no-nonsense rock and roll, but more melodic than Black Sabbath or the other heavy sounding bands massing on the fringes of 1970 rock.

Unfortunately, it’s what they say that causes me consternation.  There is a callous indifference to the dignity of women that put their music out of time and place.  Though this is ’70’s music, I felt my breath suck in rapidly as Mark Farner dismissed the role of his “woman” serving him, and compared her to a dog. Really. Maybe it’s just my 21st century sensibilities

Closer to Home is a solid record.  Grand Funk’s third album has the best production values of its early work, including strings and some accoustic songs. The shining moment may be “I’m Your Captain,” an interesting nine minute opus that is eminently listenable and hummable.

This record was a great way to start the year.

First Purchases

I had been able to hold off my symptoms of addiction for a week, but when my wife invited me out to a couple of estate sales this weekend, I couldn’t restrain myself. No I couldn’t find anything worthwhile at the sales, but I did convince her it was okay to stop by High Voltage in Tacoma for a looksee.

I had some albums in mind.  I am completely sold on a couple of albums by Sam and Dave, and a couple of albums by The Guess Who, but sadly I struck out on both.  Knowing I had little time, with my fingers on my phone and my Discogs wantlist, I was able to pick up a copy of English Settlement by XTC, El Dorado by Electric Light Orchestra, and a decent copy of Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy out of the bargain bin.


In November I put out a Facebook request to my friends asking what albums might be integral to their music collection.  English Settlement and Skylarking by XTC were a couple of those records.  I confess to having no knowledge of their music, but I’m anxious to give it a try.


Electric Light Orchestra goes into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2017.  I confess to not being a huge fan, but at my son Patrick’s urging I’m going to give El Dorado a try.  It’s highly rated on, my only reservation being that it is a thematic record.  We’ll see.  It’s supposed to be ELO’s first great record, and is their first effort combining rock and orchestra.


The last album is probably Elton John’s last great hurrah. I used to dismiss anything Elton John after Yellow Brick Road, but I’ve taken a different perspective after multiple listens to Caribou. This record also closes out my Elton John collection-certainly not all his LP’s, but all those I want. I’m excited to give this a listen to see what I get.


This morning I ordered a very nice and reasonably priced copy of a 2012 Stax re-pressing of Sam and Dave’s Hold on I’m Coming from a  Discogs seller. Sam and Dave were such great performers on the Stax label, and I’m super-excited to have it in my collection.  The title track is a wonderful song and the whole album gets great reviews.  This was one of my must-gets for 2017, so obtaining a buyer-friendly copy is good, $12 plus reasonable shipping is great.

Hope you’re finding some great music to listen to in the new year.  My hope is not just that I keep adding to my collection, but that I find new artists and genres to appreciate.  Thanks for following along

A snapshot from my year of vinyl addiction

A few of the adds to my collection-the good stuff.

I didn’t do a 2016 sum up.  Let’s just say, from the standpoint of a music-loving old guy, not a great year.  The losses to the music world, from Bowie and Prince, to Kantner and Signe Anderson, to losing Emerson and Lake was just overwhelming.  And I know I’m leaving out tons of others who should not be forgotten and I apologize.

However, my record collection really did begin to take shape, and my hope is that 2017 will allow me to finish the pillars of my collection while letting me add those interesting impulse buys that keeps things interesting.

Things I did in 2016:

  • Filled out my Beatles collection.  Are the Fab Four the end all be all of rock and roll.  Maybe not, but I certainly think you start there.
  • Added Blue Oyster Cult, Blondie, Cheap Trick, The Who, and Thin Lizzy to my list of completed wants, along with Jefferson Airplane/Starship and Steve Miller.
  • Maximized room for growth to about 1,200 records

Favorite Additions of 2016

  • New York Tendaberry by Laura Nyro-An absolutely wonderful record by the late singer/songwriter.  Mostly just Laua and a piano.
  • Imaginos by Blue Oyster Cult-Last record on Columbia by Long Island based rockers.  Showed they could still get it done.
  • Fighting by Thin Lizzy-1975 album that broke the band on top internationally.  Featured the twin leads with Phil Lynott’s outstanding vocals and songwriting.
  • All Directions by the Temptations-When the rest of the world gave up the Temptations for dead, 1972 saw the release of the monumental “Papa Was a Rolling Stone.” The entire record is just as wonderful.

My Current Collection stands at: 878 LP’s, give or take.

My Coolest Christmas Gift: October 1962 release of “Love Me Do” on Parlophone by The Beatles.. For me, it all began here.  Now if I could just get a Jerden copy of “Louie, Louie” by the Kingsmen, I would never even look at another 45.

On My Wantlist for 2017

  • Sam and Dave-Hold on, I’m Comin’ and Soul Men
  • The Doors-The Doors and Morrison Hotel (Wipe that smirk off your face, no I really don’t have these.)
  • Pink Floyd-Saucerful of Secrets will complete my Pink Floyd collection.  That it was re-pressed in 2016 will keep it affordable.
  • Nirvana-Unplugged in New York. I love this record and would have grabbed it on Thursday at the SubPop store at Sea-Tac if our return flight wasn’t an hour late.  FU Delta Airlines!!
  • Johnny Cash-American Recordings All six of ’em, period the end.
  • The Guess Who-Wheatfield Soul and Canned Wheat
  • The Patti Smith Group-Easter and Wave

And I’m sure there will be more. Tom Petty will likely re-release all his records on vinyl in 2017. I need a copy of Wildflowers.  No, really, I’ll die without one, I’m pretty sure.

My New Years Resolution for 2017

“Listen more, buy less.”

I hope you all have a fabulous new year.  Thanks for checking in.  I’ll try to write a bit more for 2017.


The 2017 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductees and a goal for 2018

Last night the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame announced their 2017 inductees. They are Journey, Joan Baez, Tupac Shakur, Electric Light Orchestra, Yes, Pearl Jam and dance/rock innovator Nile Rodgers. 

Congratulations to all the inductees. The Rock Hall does a superb job of insuring a diverse and eclectic group of performers and supporters of popular music from 1950-present are represented in the Hall.  Far be it from me to judge the taste or the vision of Hall voters and I think the 2017 group is excellent. 

I never kvetch about the new members or what music genre they represent, but sometimes I wonder-what took you so long? How is Joan Baez, now age 75, not in the Hall of Fame. The answer is easy when looking at the 317 inductees-there is very little folk music represented: Dylan, Pete Seeger, Woodie Guthrie, that’s it. Despite the debt early rock and roll musicians owe Phil Ochs, Peter Paul and Mary, Tom Rush, Judy Collins and many others. Can you imagine The Byrds (inducted 1991) or the Mamas and the Papas (inducted 1998) without their folk influences?  Expect some make up picks in the coming years as these artists move closer to mortality. No Judy Collins? Really? 

I’ll say it again, the Rock Hall does lack a representative from the Northwest.  I believe it is a huge failing. Northwest rock and roll from 1955-76 was fairly isolated from the rest of the country, but it was the real deal and highly influential. What’s more, it flat out rocked. No doo-wop, no girl groups, no teen idol wanna be’s. It was the shit. 

Lots of bands to choose from. How can the Kingsmen or Paul Revere and the Raiders, both from Portland,  be overlooked.  They released “Louie, Louie,” the ultimate rock and roll anthem, within a week of one another. The Wailers, from Tacoma, with Buck Ormsby and often sitting in with Rockin’ Robin Roberts is another great nominee for the Hall. 

However, if I had to select a winner, it would be Tacoma’s own Sonics. Though their life was not super long, I would guess their influence on rock and roll was immense. With their raw, basic sound and straight up rocking style it’s hard to imagine Rock Hall inductees The Stooges and Nirvana hadn’t heard the Sonics as their essence was forming. “The Witch,” “Strychnine,” “Psycho” and their marvelous cover of Richard Berry’s “Have Love Will Travel” are just a few of their gems of garage rock. They out-Stooged the Stooges when Iggy was just a kid. The Sonics for the Rock Hall in 2018. The Sonics were rediscovered in the ’90’s have recorded an 

On My Turntable


In speaking of Northwest Rock, I was at Georgetown Records and snagged a cop of The Best of Louie, Louie, vol 1. I had cleverly added this to my Discogs wantlist a short time before and voila, I found it. 

I’m not a huge Louie, Louie fan with it’s unintelligible lyrics and three chord arrangement, but so many artists have covered it, I thought it was at least worth a try.  I was not disappointed. 

Side one begins with the Rice University Marching Band-nice.  But it’s followed by Richard Berry’s original recording. And you can even hear the words. Without listing everyone else that appears, one is also treated to the original Kingsmen recording, and Henry Rollins and Black Flag angrily screaming something seems to have something to do with Louie. But the piece de resistance is the next to last track on side two by Les Dantz and His Orchestra playing an arrangement that sounds a lot like Bowie’s “Let’s Dance.”  I was laughing out loud at this point. 

Not terrifically expensive (I paid nine bucks) and worth every penny in entertainment value. There is also a vol. 2 of the Best of Louie, Louie.  Clearly a must have. 

Changing obsessions in the middle of an . . . obsession

Before I began my vinyl journey a couple of years ago, it wasn’t as though my house was free of stuff.  It was simply different stuff. I have a preoccupation with stuff.  I’ve tried collecting a variety of things including, but not limited to, baseball cards, political items, you name it.  But one of my stand-by’s is books. I used to use to compile my books in an organized fashion, back when that service was free.  I had room for a thousand books. And I had a thousand books.

I have books on countless topics. Lots are military topics that mirror my interest in wargame projects-The Hundred Years War, The American Revolution, The War of 1812. I love writers-J.R.R. Tolkien and Raymond Chandler, Richard Rhodes and Kai Bird, John Keegan and David McCullough.

Times change. I’ve made several big cuts to my book collection in order to make way for-you guessed it-more records. I traded in a hundred books, maybe a few more, in June at Half-Price Books for next to nothing in credit, which I reinvested in-you got it-records.  On Saturday I parted with another hundredish books at H-P Books, and you guessed it, put all $38.85 plus a few more bucks into five records. Sigh.

Don’t fear for my soul.  It’s not like I’ve adopted illiteracy as a new means of operating. I read every night, and sometimes more often than that. I still have hundreds, lots of hundreds of books. Some of them I’ve never read, and some I’d like to re-read.  It also doesn’t mean I’ll never buy more books. It just means there will be fewer of them in the paper manifestation.  I don’t do this  without trepidation.  Parting with books is a little like giving away my children.  I’ve been known to buy them back, though I believe I’m safe with that lot.

But lets face it, times have changed.  In many cases it’s just as easy to buy an e-book for my Kindle as it is to find a place to stash them. This doesn’t mean I’ll never buy another book, not so, but I may limit my book purchases to the Hundred Years War or Mark Lewinsohn’s biography of the Beatles.  What is clear is I have little space left to house them, and I have lots of books left to read, re-read and enjoy.

So what’s the deal? I’ve made the decision that I cannot live without an expanding record collection.  Call it Smyth’s Law of Vinyldynamics, the slowly expanding, entropic condition afflicting all vinyl addicts.

It’s funny.  I’ve attended two record conventions in my life, both in Tacoma, and at the last one in June I listened to two much more experienced (and aged) collectors than me. They were both sharing the stories of the various parts of their collections that were wharehoused in different storage units in different Puget Sound communities. THIS CANNOT BE ME! If I can’t reach it in my house, I can’t play it. If I can’t play it, I can’t listen to it. If I can’t play a record there’s no point in having it, because that’s the purpose of my collection. I just want more records to listen to (sniff.)

The bottom line, in this very long defense of my tendency to obsess over my stuff, is that I cannibalized a bookshelf in my den, full of wargame-related books.  I found various places to scatter them to after my delivery to Half Price Books.  Osprey books, Hundred Years War and World War I in my big bookcases in the reading area. Aircraft books to the garage where many others are living. In their place, I should be able to add an additional three shelves 30″ wide to house records.  Probably 250-300 records, which would put my collection at some 1,200 if I fill the space. I currently weigh in at about 860. That leaves some room for my frequently accessed gaming necessaries, as well as space in the bottom shelf for board games. Life is good.

What’s on the turntable?


One of my Half Price Books purchases was Encore by Tangerine Dream.  I really wanted to try some TD.  As you may recall, I had a bad experience with Kraftwerk’s Autobahn, and I wanted to try something different with the same techno, ambient sound.  The only Tangerine Dream I’d heard is from the 80’s Tom Cruise movie, Risky Business.  Remember “Love on a Real Train?”  Yep, I thought you would.

Encore, is a two record live album from 1977.  The record is built around four suites, each encompassing an entire album side. I’ve only listened to the record once, but really enjoyed it.  A great combination of ambient sound as well as some remarkably intrusive traditional instruments.  It bears repeated listening, but is also great as wallpaper if reading, chatting with the missus, or painting tiny little soldiers (raises hand-guilty!)

What’s in the mail? 


One of the artists I’m really intrigued by is Richard Berry.  For those not in the know, Berry was not Chuck Berry’s cousin, though they were recording at about the same time. Richard Berry was responsible for writing two of the most important songs in Northwest rock history: “Louie, Louie” and “Have Love Will Travel.” Berry wrote the former as a calypso song.  But bands like The Kingsmen, Paul Revere and the Raiders, and a thousand more acts from garage bands to the greats recorded it and bent it into an infectious, almost unintelligible youth anthem. To my knowledge, “Louie, Louie” is the only song that has it’s own anthology. “Have Love . . .” likewise was a staple of Northwest bands, notably the incendiary version by Tacoma’s The Sonics, but also covered by those same Paul Revere and Raiders, Sky Saxon (of The Seeds fame,) and Ian Gillian.

Richard Berry visited Seattle and played in the segregated R and B clubs on Jackson St. in the bad old 50’s. It’s just as clear he was playing for more than just black audiences. Unfortunately accessing a vintage LP of his work is challenging.  In fact there is no non-anthology of his stuff that includes the two big important songs. So I’ve opted for a 2014 pressing of a U.K. import, Louie, Louie from a Discogs seller in Brooklyn. Nice price. New. Can’t wait to hear it.


An open letter to the president-elect

Dear President-elect Trump,

I am writing this to congratulate you on your election.  I did not vote for you, was never remotely interested in anything you have to offer, and was deeply offended and repulsed by your remarks on the campaign trail.  Your policy offerings did little to reassure me America would be a fairer more just country. Your vision of America as a dark hellhole on the verge of economic, political and moral collapse is not one I share. In short, your candidacy showed me nothing that I could support, and I made that clear with my vote for Hillary Clinton on Tuesday.

Though they have my empathy, I did not choose to march with thousands of citizens in my home town of Seattle.  Their  loudest chant was “Not my President.” While I am sorry you won, I cannot go there with them. I believe the American people have spoken, and though the electoral college is quirky, you were legitimately elected president. That makes you my president, and that makes you president for every American. I believe, as President Obama and Secretary Clinton both said, that citizens should have an open mind, and you deserve the opportunity to succeed, because if your presidency is successful the country will be successful.

But that does not mean I endorse values or public statements that promote division and hatred toward groups of Americans or smack of vindictive behavior toward those who didn’t support you. Let me give you some examples

  1. Appointing a special prosecutor to investigate Secretary Clinton’s e-mails or the Clinton Foundation. The election is over.  The United States does not behave like a banana republic that seeks vengeance against political rivals or former office holders. Though there were ample grounds, President Obama did not investigate the behavior of the Bush team pushing the country to war in Iraq, use of torture or committing war crimes. The country needs to move on. Please allow it to do so. Choose not to, and you lose me.
  2. Taking a state’s rights approach to abortion rights or LGNTQ rights. These are not state’s rights matters.  These are settled law. Roe v. Wade enshrined abortion in the right to privacy 45 years ago. If anti-abortion men and women wish to abstain from abortion that is their choice, but it is not okay to tell women and families they may not exercise their constitutional rights to an abortion whether it is Alabama or California. The Supreme Court upheld the right of Americans to marry the person they love, protected under the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment. Not just in Washington or Massachusetts, but in Mississippi and Kansas too. Either citizens have rights or they don’t. Further dividing the country into pockets of states with rights and states without isn’t the vision of unity you identified in your victory speech.
  3. No deportation of Mexican and Central American immigrants. Like your family, mine was one of immigrants.  My grandparents came from the U.K. in 1920.   My great grandparents came from Austria in 1900. They spoke no English and met on the ship during their crossing. Times were different then. The Golden Door was wide open, though it would not remain so long. I am a high school teacher.  I work with Latino students, most of them hard-working, from hard-working families struggling to achieve the American Dream. Many of them live in fear of a Trump presidency, what it may mean to them, their parents, or other family members. I implore you to do the right thing and think in more than slogans to resolve this issue without resorting to drastic measures that will rip families apart, deprive the country of a valuable work force and further divide the nation. A Donald Trump who can provide a tough but fair path to citizenship will win the votes of the Hispanic community for the GOP for generations.
  4. Your campaign slogan was to repeal and replace Obamacare. I understand that elections have consequences, and that there will be plenty of avenues open to ending the ACA.  But do not cut it without a plan. You promised a much better plan and I will be waiting to see that it is a plan that is affordable and accessible to all. I have a son on Obamacare.  He is hard working, receives no subsidy, and has seen his rates go up this year.  But if the cost of replacing this program is to price him out of the market with promise of a tax deduction then you do not live in the real world, and I suspect many of your supporters will feel the same.
  5. My mother used to threaten to wash out my mouth with soap, yet I’ve heard you say things to crowds and in televised debate, that would make my high school locker room buddies blush. You no longer are Donald J. Trump citizen, or regular billionaire dude who happened to run for president. You represent this country for every one of us, from Bill Gates to the poor homeless guy on the D.C. streets. That includes me. You are my face to my Canadian friends and my Dutch relatives. What you say in public will not be neatly filed away in Howard Stern’s archives.  No divisive language-no anti-Muslim, misogynistic, racist thoughtless Twitter rants.  This country needs leaders to put its broken pieces back together again. Your campaign pronouncements cannot simply be wished away, and there is no getting around that many Americans do not and never will trust you. The damage is done.
  6. You ran on “drain the swamp,” as one of your campaign slogans-chanted by crowds at you rallies.  You even offered a strict set of proposed ethics reforms that were remarkable and well received by critics right and left. If you can stick to them and fight to get them through Congress in a highly public debate, the country will be indebted to you.  These first few days of the transition, however, don’t look promising as wealthy donors are solicited for transition costs and your transition team is flooded with corporate interests and K-street lobbyists. You called for change in the Revolving Door; stick to it or those folks who came out to rallies will see the new boss is simply the same as the old boss. You are uniquely positioned as a businessman and a president to festoon yourself with ethical mousetraps at every turn. How you confront them-with opacity and secrecy, or transparency and openness-will quickly garner the trust or just as quickly repel citizens.  You could begin by releasing your tax returns, and putting your financial affairs in a blind trust.  Just a suggestion.  It might keep the press from digging so fervently in your trash.

These are lines in the sand for me. I don’t know that you will ever earn my vote.  Just on policies you’ve advanced in the campaign, we are vastly different. But that’s just politics. I can respect a man and a president who is actively working for the good of the country and each of its inhabitants. I had this experience with President Reagan, a man whose candidacy I could not support, but have come to admire. But you will lose that respect quickly if you do not respect the value of every American and what they contribute to this country.