Monday, October 20, 2008

The Impeachment That Never Was

The Impeachment That Never Was…
Story & painted pumpkin illustration by Kathy Luttkus

If Bush Had Been Impeached

I ‘impeached’ George Bush in my backyard, fueled by the belief that only elbows – and not impeachments – should be kept off the table. The process wasn’t hard. I purchased a can of peach halves (in heavy syrup), picked out a pumpkin at the farmer’s market, painted on a dumb facial expression, bought a gray wool suit from a thrift store, found a red, white and blue polyester tie on the dance floor of a Libertyville chili cook-off, and scored some Mickey Mouse cufflinks on eBay.

I accomplished in two hours tops what our representatives couldn’t do in five years. All 34 vertebrae of a good and sturdy spine aided the creation of the impeached pumpkin. But in the end, it was a little testicular fortitude that accomplished the task, even though I am a woman.

A scary precedent is being set by not impeaching a guy like George Bush. A majority of Americans agreed that Congress should impeach Bush if Americans were wiretapped without the approval of a judge. The 2006 Democratic takeover of the House and Senate meant – according to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi – that people were calling for a "new direction." But the Democrats didn’t keep their pledge for a change of course in Iraq, just as George Bush didn’t make good on his promise that the economy would grow. By 2007, the Democrats preferred the beatitude about inheriting the earth to being called peacemakers, whose only reward is to be deemed children of God. For them, regaining power mattered above all else.

If Bush Had Been Impeached
John McCain said in June that he didn’t agree with Dennis Kucinich’s Articles of Impeachment, yet in 1999 he voted for President Clinton’s impeachment because a president must be “held strictly accountable to the rule of the law.” (Behaviors of mavericks often defy logic.) So, manufacturing wars, lying about weapons of mass destruction, authorizing illegal wiretapping, and condoning torture of prisoners doesn’t even warrant a slap on the wrist, neither does killing and wounding more than 34,000 Americans and hundreds of thousands Iraqis. Presidents just can’t do something really heinous, like hang out in boardrooms with bereted interns who make nasty handbags. In 1998, Republicans put politics ahead of country when they impeached Bill Clinton. In 2008, Democrats put politics ahead of country by not impeaching George Bush.

Was there any satisfaction for me in carrying out a symbolic impeaching of my president? Perhaps a little bit, but not much. I would have preferred seeing a chapter in future history books detailing how President Bush endured the House passing articles of impeachment, probing questions by a responsible Congress, subpoenas, and sworn testimonies. Vermont Congressman Peter Welch said history would impeach George Bush. That may be true, but hopefully we’ll also see a few paragraphs about how Congress failed the American people.

Story and picture © Kathy Luttkus 2008

Monday, October 13, 2008

Who will get us to the clean energy finish line?

The Clean Machine takes the lead, but the Mean dirty carbon-chugging machine is still too close for comfort.

Even though the economy is in the forefront of everyone's mind right now, ultimately the environment stands to gain or lose the most over the long term. If we can point our economic engine in the direction of clean sustainable energy it will help the economy by directing job growth in new and exciting directions.

Backyard windmill anyone?

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The Boys of Illinois

The Boys of Illinois

I'm sure I'm not the first to consider two men in comparison. The civil rights issue brought to a head by the first Illinoisan President, Abraham Lincoln, who had lost his senatorial election bid and yet because of that, went on to become president. Lincoln had less legislative experience than Barack Obama ... yet went on to be one of the most memorable presidents in US history.

On a side note, showing how some issues never change ... during the Lincoln Douglas debates, Lincoln defends his votes when in the House of Representatives for voting against the war with Mexico (as illegal) and yet supporting the troups by voting for the allotment of moneys to provide them with adequate supplies and equipment.

On a completely different side note ... it's curious that the "conservative" administration is responding to the current financial crisis with its sudden support of a very socialist mindset when trying to head off disaster with its bailout of major financial institutions. This pumpkin headed punster will refrain, at the moment, from deciding whether this is a good move or a bad move, but we sure do find it curious. We guess that socialism is really not so bad if it means helping your wealthy buddies stay wealthy.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Polly The P.O.ed Pumpkin Wakes Up to another Prez Election Year

Oh Yeah! It's Political Pumpkin time again. Since TagYerit's pumpkin pages receive hundreds of thousands of visits during these months ... the world's YOUR stage ... We're putting a call out to all you interested parties, be you pundits, pumpkin carvers, pumpkin painters, or just someone with a promising idea. Send us your pumpkin pics and ideas.

Pumpkins (and TagYerit) are avid environmentalists and are still pissed off and reeling from 8 dismal years of Bush's Reblican REGIME. Now, since McCain has aligned himself with Bush's failed policies 95% of the time, you can just guess where the pumpkin patch votes will go ...

So we're looking for:
pumpkins with strong pro-Obama visuals and statements
pumpkins portraying McCain's record (like his support on issues such as torture; oil drilling; Iraq, etc.)

Even if you're not a pumpkin carver - send us your best ideas and we'll attempt to carve as many as we can

Help us and the pumpkins make this the year of "No more Business As Usual with Greedy good ol' boys in the White House/"

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Life is NOT a contest ...

This is not a test
Reality is not tv
Most of the world will never know about you
Fewer will (or should) even care.

When we're visiting friends or relatives who happen to like to watch American Idol we get a chance to see what the fuss is about. Sure some of these folks are talented. For me, if I'm forced to watch, then the judges are the show ... you can learn something from a few of the things they say, but it struck me that the draw for audiences is that the producers figured out how to make it a sporting event. I guess that's great if you like to watch sports.

Imagine if Rapheal, Reuben, Picasso, Dali and all the others had to compete for best painter. Now there's a sport I'd watch ... before long they might be slinging paint at each other. Well, before I get too distracted, my point is that in spite what your publicist might tell you, they didn't create because they wanted to appeal to the masses. They looked inside their souls and beautiful (and / or) thought provoking enduring art
came out. That they may have become popular is only because what they found in their souls just happened to match what many of the rest of us have sensed in our own souls.

Now I confess, on occasion that I've entered TagYerit's songs into contests, but never for a moment deluding myself that we'll ever win this week's flavor of the month contest. Just hoping to get a few more folks to hear our songs. That's all.

So what's my own flavor or reality this week? Ah, it's spring. Watching the brown of pre-spring transform to a wide palette of greens. If that just happens to be your flavor, or if you're even remotely curious about how that flavor translates in song ... Here's a clip of TagYerit's song
Amelia And All That Is (aka The Great Unfolding)

available at ITunes

along with other of your favorite digital outlets ...

AMELIA, and All That IS (The Great Unfolding)
©1995 Rich & Flo Newman (BMI)
Around the quiet islands of snow
Could it be I see the green start to show
I surprised a secret slender sprout
Hiding under an iced-in brick that I pulled out
Seems like everyone's breath is holding
Waiting, waiting for the Great Unfolding
Its freezing but as I look around
Red clover is pushing up through the ground
Tiny new leaves in packages done so precise
Unfolding origami when it's time to capture light
Seems like...
Tiny spirals to huge feather fans
Fiddleheads to ferns
Shades of brown to 'Emerald City'
I just blinked, the scene had turned
How many years have passed that I failed to see
The early stages of this meadow mystery
Like purple cigars that are rolled up really tight
Turn to blooming violets almost overnight
Each bud is a whole pollen package store
Sitting right there hoping
Some thirsty bee is first in line
when it comes the time to open
Seems like...

Thought I heard Tweet minor for half a sec
Are the blueprints being drawn
Those brilliant flying architects
Just labor on and on
So you'll see me on the ground with my head bent real low
Not 'cause I'm feeling down or got no place to go
I'm just moving in close for the bestest best of shows
Taking my seat in the very front row
Waiting waiting for the Great Unfolding

Seems like everyone's breath is holding

Monday, April 14, 2008

Shopping Spree Game

I had a roommate once who got his MBA in business. Poor guy couldn't balance his checkbook. Turns out Presidents and congressmen can't either. Some people think all you need is a bigger credit card or else just print more money.

So here's the deal - How would you spend $3 trillion

$3 trillion. That is what Nobel prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz estimates the war in Iraq will cost our country. It's crippling our economy and causing our Iraq recession.

To put this colossal amount of cash into perspective, we've partnered with Robert Greenwald and our friends at Brave New Films to bring you a game to help people really understand what $3 trillion dollars can buy. Get ready to go on a 3 Trillion Dollar Shopping Spree!

And guess what? With that kind of money you can be selfish and still do good!
Check it out!

Winter's Officially over in our yard

3 pictures showing the demise of our winter snowpile

This last picture was taken just before noon on Saturday April 13th ... the snow pile in its final gasp!

We take great pride in our snow pile. Unlike the mall parking lots, this is a handbuilt snow pile from the furthest reaches of our driveway. It's a sign we had a good snowfall when the pile lasts to April 13th in Amherst.

Monday, March 24, 2008

The Car Graveyard at Easter

Here's a few pictures from our favorite car graveyard. The mannequin head was a new discovery. Our easter egg. You can see the whole set HERE.

You can see the whole set HERE.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

A Few Photos Early March

Here's a few pics from Amethyst Brook, Amherst after a recent rain storm.

The Rock (Amethyst Rock)
The Bridge
The Brook

(prints of these and more are available at Dot Photo)

I held a jewel...
I held a jewel in my fingers
And went to sleep
The day was warm, and winds were prosy;
I said: " 'T will keep."

I woke and chid my honest fingers, --
The gem was gone;
And now an amethyst remembrance
Is all I own.

~Emily Dickinson

Monday, March 03, 2008

Music Promo 101

Just like most people online who are out to get your money, I know of no secrets for you achieving success. Unlike them, I'm not interested in your money except if you want to buy our music. But I have been studying these things for a while and I'm posting as much for my own benefit (to remind myself) as for anyone who might accidentally discover this blog. Trust me, I do plenty of things wrong, but that's okay.

I'll try to skip most of the jargonese you typically find like "It's not who you know but who knows you." I guess that stuff's fine for selling books. This is just a start. I want to keep these in short bursts.

Best book for networking - actually for getting along in life - is probably still one of the originals, "How to Win Friends and Influence People", Dale Carnegies 1937 book.

Become a "renaissance man" (or lady). i.e. learn to do things yourself. Even if you end up hiring someone else, try it first yourself. And I mean everything..

After we finished recording our first CD and while we were waiting for the pressing, I went to our local library and read every book I could find on marketing and publicity. While you're doing this, make sure to learn how to write a press release.

Volunteer. Yep best way to learn. I volunteered at a local radio station once a week for about a year. I wanted to know how CDs arrived, how they went through them sorted them etc. not a pretty picture, but you want to know these things. Funny thing, they couldn't figure out why I was doing it. But they appreciated my work and they actually offered me a job making sure the Sunday morning polka show was broadcast. I passed on the offer, but you see how this can work for you.

Volunteer. Music Conferences - you bet. I've covered this on our website and I'll get back to it another time here on the blog, but here are a few links
Loud Music Festival 1996 & 1997

Music Musings - this includes concert reviews as well as the Sonalysts MixxMag music festival (see I practiced a bit of e-journalism - also published Indiegrrl Fan Ezine for a few years)
1998 Nemo Music Festival in Boston

1997 Philadelphia Music Festival - be sure to check out Patt Smith's keynote speech

1998 CMJ - College Music Journal

We did Music Conferences and Festivals for a number of years. Not sure why I stopped posting summaries, but I'll sum up some of our other experiences in a future post.

To be continued ...

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Crazy Dancing - ALSO the bunny pin!

We put one of our bunny-guitar pewter pins up on Ebay this week.

Bunny Guitar Pin on Ebay - proceeds for Best Friends Animal Society

 For the story of the bunny guitar visit

Now onto the dancing ...
As long as I can remember, I've always been a wild freestyle dancer. Not sure if that term "freestyle" really applies to me, since I don't know what its semantic uses signify, BUT I just know how to get up on a dance floor and my feet vamp the beat. But terminology aside, anyone who's seen me will attest that I'm a fun dancer to watch.

When I really get worked up into it, it feels very magical. So how did it really start. According to my older sister, when we were kids I asked her to help me to learn to dance and she just told me I should go off and do my own thing. So I did. She meant it as one sibling to another - to get me to embarrass myself. Instead it worked.

Maybe, that's why she later became a movement therapist, cause she saw how well it worked on her first victim (to which I'll be forever grateful). The truth is that over the years she has been working her movement therapy magic. A few years ago she designed a great fun tool for her movement practice - I could tell you more about it, but I'll just let her website and blog do that.

Of course I've had other influences, and I would be remiss if I didn't mention how important our mom was in getting me to love music and dance. I keep threatening that someday I'll videotape myself dancing to some of our tunes, then you'll see what I'm talking about.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

The Middle of Nowhere

I've often wondered, how not to tell a story by going back to its chronological beginning. The biggest problem for me is figuring out how much back story is necessary before that "beginning" makes some kind of sense. So I always feel like I'm really telling the story from the middle. Well discovering a blog for the first time is always coming in on the middle and wondering how much you might have missed.

Would it make sense for me to periodically repeat stuff or just leave it to your imagination to wonder where in the world I could possibly be coming from?

So here then is the capsule as of today ... Flo & Rich Newman are the creative centers of TagYerit the band and TagYerit the website and all these offshoots such as this blog. But as in any division of labor, the web labor is principally Rich (that's me the guy who typed this out).

Speaking of labor, so this Rich guy, that's me has many skills with varying degrees of success in each skill. But, I like to think the primary skill is problem solving. So feel free to comment me and maybe I'll have a suggestion. I like making stuff from cast-offs. ... Recently built a U-shaped shower curtain hanger from the remnants of an old brass bed. If I could have found something like this in the right size it would have cost over $500 and not been as good. In the past I've done a fair degree of carpentry remodeling as well as antique restoration and a limited amount of wood carvings. ... but there's always pumpkin carving .... But I'm going to leave off this in the middle even as it seems I'm just getting started.

Just this one more thing. See Flo loves to build snow mounds and the Snow Ziggurat pictured above is her mound, with a little design assistance from our friend and housemate Matt.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Thursday, February 14, 2008

The Fairy Flush Toilet Paper Wedding Dress (Revised)

© (p) FloraLee Newman 2008
The following was the invitation that we handed to friends at L&F's wonderful annual Mardi Gras party (The theme was 'Love & Marriage):

"Dear friends & family,

The Fairy Flush and Peter Tapilo would like to
make you "privy" to their little secret. ...
They've decided to take the plunge!

Mr. & Mrs. Claug D'Raynz and
Mr. & Mrs. Scott Brown-Tapilo
announce the union of their daughter
The Fairy Flush to Peter Tapilo

The wedding will take place at the
Lovely Septic Meadows Pavilion

The flushing bride requests your presence
At a ceremonial soldering and the
traditional tossing of the waxed ring."

The Fairy Flush also included the following poem on the invitation:
"Surprise - it's me. The Fairy Flush
No one thinks about me all that much
I reside and work inside your tank
Yet, you never utter a word of thanks
But it's true - If I was not around
There'd be a whole lotta SH**
NOT going down!

When the handle's pulled
I get in the zone
Each swish, valve, pipe's
The perfect tone
I know how to make it swirl the best
As of your deposits I help you divest!"
Those of you already in the know will connect The Fairy Flush & Peter Tapilo to their other personas as curators of the Whole World Toilet Paper Museum
The inspiration for the tp wedding dress came from

The Fairy flush created her dress in her spare time (when the toilets were not in need of flushing) over the course of a week. The approximately 3 1/2 unused rolls were not missed by the flushers. The dress was held together with various tapes, including double sided tape, regular scotch tape & packing tape. The chords & straps for the dress were also made from tp. The dress held up pretty well over the course of the party, though the "lace" did take a beating and The Fairy Flush wishes she had had a bit more time to style it prior to the party.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Birds & 2nd Dinosaur Age


I'm not a "bird watcher" but I love to watch them. Sometimes I wonder if they're an omen or portent as some of our ancestors used to believe.

Friday night I turned onto Jackson St. in Northampton, and there's a car stopped in the middle of my right lane. As I started to pass and curse the driver under my breath, I realized that about 3 feet in front of the car is an owl sitting there on the road watching us all. From my quick glance I'd say it may have been a barred owl. Instead of cursing, I ended up being grateful to the attentive driver. I'd guess if the owl was there as a warning, it was a private message for the driver and not for me.

However, Saturday was different. I was standing in our yard half watching our 2 bunnies playing near the fence when out of the corner of my eye I realized a large bird was flying down not 4 feet from me about eye level. It happened too fast for me to identify it, either an owl or more probably a small hawk - wingspan of approx. 3 feet. It did not seem to be on an attack dive, there was no swooshing or anything. Then it immediately headed up on a pine tree across the driveway. I tried to get closer for a better look but it took off. What was that all about?

Fortunately it never saw our buns nor did they see it. So I guess it was there for me to piece together. At the moment, I figure it was our friend Teddy saying hello from the other side.

While I'm at it, these don't seem to have any cosmic significance on the forecasting horizon, but last week there was a pileated woodpecker on the tree right outside the house. Of course it was gone by the time I got the camera. It was quite striking looking though with its red head contrasted against the snowy field just behind it. AND in other bird news I saw 4 wild turkey over on Harkness Rd.


Interested in a relic from the 2nd Dinosaur Age?

Currently offering the following on Ebay ...
Vintage Texaco Motor Oil 5 gallon can

How much am I bid on this piece of history? Evolved from dinosaurs and soon to be relegated to a museum. One day you'll be taking your grandkids to a museum and you'll see an oil can artifact such as this and say, "I remember when cars were run on fuels made from old dinosaur fossils." And your grandkids will respond, "How quaint grandpa!"
More info at: