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Fast, fast, fast, slow! Fast, fast, fast, slow! Fast, fast, fast, slow!

Keep Dancing

Sharon pounds on me to get the basic mambo step down before I worry about more elaborate salsa maneuvers.

I get that—well, I get that intellectually; my feet, not so much—but I want to know where my feet go on a cross-body lead, for example, or any of the more advanced turns and spins we're learning. That’s not too much to ask, is it?

Salsa lessons are part of the new me—the new us!

After spending the summer undergoing cancer treatments, I have vowed to do a few things differently now that it appears that I will survive.

I’ve always loved live theatre, though years passed without me attending a single play. No more. Already in the past couple of months, we’ve attended three or four plays—and I’ve reviewed a couple: (Saugerties: Love, or Something Like It, in a Petri Dish, The Chinese Lady: Immigrants as Eternal Outsiders).

And, after writing a few novels as a kid, which never saw the light of day, I’ve written a couple short stories that I hope to build into an interrelated series (Walking Late at Night, The Last Kill Shot).

And then there’s salsa.

Makes My Skin Crawl

First, before we go dancing, let's set work aside.

Since I was a kid, I’ve been an early riser and a hard worker. Now, sailing past 70, I still like to get up early, dress quickly, go downstairs to brew a pot of coffee, and head to my computer.

Sharon is our maven of social media, working tirelessly with Facebook and Twitter and Instagram and a dozen other social media platforms to get our LA Progressive and Hollywood Progressive articles out to as wide an audience as possible, in addition to writing her own articles.

My main job in our little enterprise is to work with authors to edit their articles (as much as we can without, you know, an actual staff) and post them. That, plus money-making advertising chores I handle, consumes my morning, maybe pushing past noon on a busy day, before we take a first long break.

We’ve been doing this pretty much for seven days a week for a dozen years, virtually without stop, virtually without missing a day with our daily newsletter, virtually without coming up for air.

I simply can’t take the endless shade MSNBC hosts and guests throw on Bernie Sanders—and the same goes for the New York Times and the Washington Post. I’m sorry, I can’t take it anymore.

After working the morning shift, our routine has been to take a break and watch the news shows on MSNBC, or occasionally CNN. We understand that LA Progressive is a good deal more progressive than either of these corporate-owned outlets. But the shows there catch us up on what’s going on inside the Beltway without challenging us to do too much thinking, unlike FreeSpeech TV where we go to watch the Thom Hartmann, Laura Flanders, Sonali Kolhatkar, or Amy Goodman shows. And watching MSNBC lets me drift off for a catnap without missing anything critical.

But no more.

I simply can’t take the endless shade MSNBC hosts and guests throw on Bernie Sanders—and the same goes for the New York Times and the Washington Post. I’m sorry, I can’t take it anymore.

Sure, a lot of the hosts—and a fair number of guests and reporters—are reformed Republicans who say they have seen the light. And, I'll grant, some of them are more generally progressive than others—or at least don’t break out the shade machine every time someone mentions Bernie’s name.

But still, MSNBC folks tout themselves as the liberal alternative to the troglodytic Fox News—except when it comes to Sanders, and Marianne Williams, who they also ignore. Sorry, that self-prescribed reputation isn't deserved, at least when it comes to the more progressive Democratic candidates.

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I’m not going to try to convince you that this slanting of the news against Senator Sanders is going on. Others have done that in spades. And if you don’t see it, I swear you’ve already drunk the "only a centrist can beat Trump" Kool-Aid.

But as one example, just now Susan del Percio—another reconstituted former Republican on MSNBC—repeated the blatant canard that “160 American simply will not support any candidate who promises to take away their healthcare.”

That’s a standard bullshit Republican talking point—and it drove me right out of the room just now.

If you’re reading this on LA Progressive, you know that Bernie—and, depending on the day, Elizabeth—have no plans to take away anyone’s healthcare. Rather, they propose to replace already covered people’s healthcare over four years with the magnificently successful Medicare program, while covering the millions and millions of other Americans who currently have little or no coverage at all.

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No gap in coverage. No loss of current doctors or hospitals. No change except we’ll ultimately end up paying much less for healthcare—and won’t lose coverage if we change or lose jobs.

And, since you’re 685 words into this piece, you know that it’s not the insurance companies that people just “love.” It’s their current doctors or their hospital—or really just the basic comfort that they and their family members will have health care coverage when they need it without the family losing the house if one of them gets really sick.

That’s just one example, but a pretty good sample of the way MSNBC’s crew can hardly say Bernie’s name—when they say it at all—without damning him or his programs or his supporters in the next breath. Or even saying how he “makes my skin crawl” or promising to vote for Trump if Bernie is the Democratic nominee—both things I've heard on the cable outlet.

Given that, Trump may have a point with his “FAKE NEWS” mantra, though this isn’t exactly what the #PussyAssBitch means. But slanting the coverage has consequences

So, I’m out on MSNBC.

And I’m in on salsa.

Cuban Style

One problem with our newfound dancing program—and there are several—is that Sharon grew up with salsa in her native Bronx. So, she knows just the sexiest way of doing even the most basic steps: Cuban style, with hips swinging, feet swirling, and the loveliest smile on her face.

Me? I mastered a little two-step slide in junior high school way out in the cornfields in the farthest out Minneapolis suburbs. And it stood me in good stead at the occasional wedding or party I attended over the years—and even for the several years my former wife Irene and I organized a monthly fundraising dance for the halfway house we supported.

I could move to the music—whatever the music was—without hurting myself or stepping on anyone. Sometimes I could even flash a smile. Good enough in my book.

But now? That little slide step is pretty lame and just doesn’t translate to the fast-fast-fast-stop mambo steps I’ve got to learn.

When we hit on this idea of learning salsa, our friends at Google led us to Danella Dutton, who runs a really good dance studio in Hollywood. For a month after my treatments ended, we attended a twice-weekly beginner session and will go back for another session and more after we get past the Left Coast Forum ’19 in mid October.

Of course, most of the other students are a good deal younger than me—and spryer, too. Some of them appear to be actors or wannabe actors who need to add salsa dancing to their resumes. Others, though, struggle with the fast-fast-fast-slow routine as much as me.

Our goal here, of course, isn’t to learn the choreography to be professional dancers, as perhaps several others in the class want. Our goal is more simply to get good enough—well, me to get good enough, as Sharon is already there—to go out to a salsa club from time to time, adding that to our five-mile walks in the hills around our house once the temperature drops a bit.

Wish us luck—or suerte, I guess.

And suerte, or something like it, if MSNBC and their party insider allies manage to get the masses to nominate yet another “No Fundamental Change” centrist as the losing-again Democratic Party presidential nominee.

dick price

Dick Price