Michael Sigman: The only Zen you find in politics is the Zen in ironic headlines to show how little Zen there is there. I mean, they can’t be serious. Can they?
Michael Sigman: Early frontrunner Mitt Romney has spent the last four years approaching the Platonic ideal of the shameless panderer who, when expedient, adopts positions that are diametrically opposed to one another.
Michael Sigman: So, to test the theory that my sense of self needn’t include the political shenanigans of the moment, my New Year’s resolutions are: a) To cut, by at least half, the time I spend following political news, polls, etc; and b) To actually do something — like organizing, phone banking or writing more for websites and newsletters.
Michael Sigman: God knows I’m no radical — never claimed to be — but something radical needs to happen to shake things up and give Americans hope. FDR and Lincoln did it under far more difficult circumstances than these, and triumphed over vicious opposition.
Michael Sigman: Mitch Miller, the musical maven of middle-of-the-road pop who died in Manhattan Saturday at 99, became a household name via his early-’60s TV show Sing Along With Mitch . Long before that, he — along with Frank Sinatra and a guy named Al Cernick — provided my dad, songwriter Carl Sigman, with the flukiest hit of his career.
Michael Sigman: Strong candidates for Part 2 included such stomach-churning charttoppers as Barry Manilow’s I Write the Songs (no, you don’t, not even this one, which was penned by Beach Boy Bruce Johnston), Helen Reddy’s I Am Woman (no, you’re not) and Starship’s We Built This City on Rock and Roll (no, you most definitely did not).
Michael Sigman: If the multiverse theory holds, there’s a land far, far away exactly like ours except that the following cuts — which never made it to American pop charts — would be as much a part of our musical DNA as the songs endlessly repeated in movies, oldies radio and commercials in our neck of the cosmological woods.
Michael Sigman: Roger Nygard’s new documentary The Nature of Existence gives us a good-natured glimpse into the imaginations of brilliant thinkers from science, religion and other disciplines on life’s fundamental questions. If we try to let our imaginations run free and work shoulder to shoulder on real problems instead of fantasizing about self-aggrandizement — my own particular fave being high school basketball greatness — maybe we can become an imagine-nation and begin to turn things around.
Michael Sigman: Joe Donnelly and Laurie Ochoa — the deputy editor and editor, respectively, of LA Weekly until both were forced out by corporate overlords from Phoenix in recent years — have joined forces to produce the debut issue of the quarterly Slake Los Angeles. It’s a gorgeous, 232-page quarterly mix of journalism, fiction, poetry, photography and art.
Michael Sigman: Roughly a third of Al’s votes came from soul and pop music lovers who believed they were voting for sexy Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Al Green, nee Albert Greene. Green, who was a superstar who sold millions of records in the ’70s, also evoked sympathy from voters who remembered he was once doused by his girlfriend in a sea of boiling grits.
Michael Sigman: For an obsessive swimmer who craves the endorphins, the past two years of failed therapies for a bum shoulder have been a bummer. I’ve been acupunctured, acupressured, cracked, Rolfed, electro-stimulated, nutritionized, lasered, therapized, osteopathed, hypnotized, rheumatologized, cortisoned, massaged, medicated, iced, heated, surgerized and more. Much more.
Michael Sigman: The name Tea Party evokes — was no doubt conjured to evoke — deep deep associations with The Boston Tea Party, a stirring public challenge to corporate monopoly and monarchy studied by every American schoolchild. Now, thrown together with carefully-chosen words and phrases like “Take our country back,” “socialism” and “Hitler,” the Tea Party purveys the exact opposite — restoring corporate monopolies and viciously rejecting a popularly-elected president.
Michael Sigman: Californians can do something about time-consuming fundraising, nefarious corporate influence, and obscene personal spending in American politics on Tuesday, June 8. A victory for Proposition 15, the California Fair Elections Act, will mean that the race for the Golden State’s Secretary of State will be a “clean money election” in 2014 and 2018. A small step, but a necessary one.