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“Rain, rain, go away, come again another day.” That childhood refrain is all I could think of these past few weeks. Enough rain! Of course, we need rain, after years of dry winters, but when we get rain it seems to come with a vengeance! Mud runs off the hillsides, down streets threatening to crash into houses and apartments. Trees are uprooted and fall on cars and houses, cars are washed down streets and some people have to be rescued from the L.A. river.

We have some people who say that the L.A. river should be rid of the cement walls and returned to its natural form, with water flowing, fish swimming around and canoes or boats gliding down the stream. That’s hogwash! The L.A. river, as it is, serves a great purpose, to send water to the ocean, from various tributaries all around the land basin. Our land would be water logged in no time if it wasn’t for the system we have now. California has been building homes all over, up hillsides, next to forests and there seems to be no end to that. All the fires we experienced this past summer doesn’t help either. It takes decades for a forest to revive and thrive.

I used to play in the L.A. river which was bound by Riverside Drive in the Glendale area. Sometimes there was enough water there to splash around in and kids could often find frogs which they would take home. In the summer kids would cross Riverside Drive to get to the banks of the water and cool off. Of course this was all done without parental permission; they would have said no! if we had asked.

Every year some people (and their dogs) have to be rescued from the swiftly moving water when it rains hard. This puts the rescuers at risk of course, but they are always willing to get in here, often by helicopters to rescue people all over the county. I remember many years ago, driving home from downtown L.A. on the 5 freeway, which runs next to the river. I looked to my right and saw the water rushing by at the very top of the concrete. I had never seen the river run so high. I say, leave the river alone. There are other places for recreation. We do lose a lot of water because it goes to the ocean, but that’s an engineering problem that has never been attempted. We know that water is wasted and right now there’s no solution for that. Maybe we should be looking at more practical projects instead of “bullet trains to nowhere.”

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After a deluge of rain, about a week later I was awakened at about 5 a.m. with a racket outside. The wind was so fierce, things were crashing about the yard, the trees were whipping back and forth. In a short period of time we experienced “freak weather.” Let’s hope things calm down soon, I miss being outside and I’m sick of being homebound.

We have a new president and we might as well accept that. He won the electoral vote but not the popular vote. Washington was full of his supporters and the inaugural day went well. It was a long day and I watched most of it on TV since I was pretty much home bound. It was good to see how efficient our government could be, with so many details to oversee. A new president is taking office and another president is leaving for his private life. The details are endless but everything will get done. There were problems away from the festivities with protesters but it wasn’t a major disturbance.

The next day was a big surprise. Looking at the newspapers which showed women gathered all over the world to march and express their opinions and opposition to the new president. I thought about taking the subway to Pershing Square downtown but I’m having a problem with an injury on my leg and I also thought there would be enough women who would show up.

Wow! There were enough women, more than enough all over the USA and around the globe. They wanted to make their voices heard; they opposed the new president. It truly surprised me how many women from across the globe marched in solidarity. Women all over the world have many issues in common: fair wages, access to health care for themselves and their children, access to education and training, clean water and sanitation and much more. We, women here in the U.S. take some things for granted. We have many rights, compared to others but we don’t have true equality. I think a lot of women were just waiting to have a female president. It’s 2017, a woman could handle the job. I felt that Hillary Clinton had a lot of “baggage” but I do think she could have handled the job with a professional attitude.

Most Americans do focus on their own problems, in their own homes, in their own communities. I think that some things do make Americans different. We share borders with two different countries but we do have our own huge land mass. Our land has been productive, giving us a lot opportunities. We can grow our own food, mine for different things we need, fish the oceans, with enough workers to do the work. Our schools were free for all who wanted an education. People can advance as far as their abilities could take them. We made great products that were sent all over the world. The U.S. has never been taken over by another nation in modern times. We have gone across the seas to do battle with enemies in other lands. Now, in modern times, we face dangers from enemies in other countries. Americans, despite our problems, have a faith in our way of life, the institutions that have been set up to protect us.

It’s smart to have a global view of issues around the world but we can’t solve the problems of the world. I strongly believe that we need to take care of ourselves, solve our own problems first. Everyone who needs a job should be able to have one and do it well. People who are passionate about their work, usually do a great job. When a new president arrives on the scene hopes are high. We want that person to be successful and productive. We want a sense of order in our leaders, a belief that they can do a good job. They will be assisted by a huge system of organizations, bureaus, and government employees to keep everything running smoothly. Within a week I understood that Donald Trump was going to be “different,” very different. He had advisors, his cabinet to manage the many facets of our government. After about a week I was wondering what was going on. Why is everything so rushed? Why was there a sense of urgency about each day? What was the President going to announce today? What happened with all the people who were stuck in airports, denied entry into the U.S. Many held green cards, which meant they had already been vetted for entry. They were halted at the airports and chaos ensued. LAX was crazy already with traffic backed up for miles and many protesters showed up to demand that the refugees, men, women and children be allowed to enter the country. All I could think was, what is happening to America? This is all so bizarre!

I don’t have a doctorate in psychology but I did graduate from USC with a BA in Sociology, which is the study of groups. In my opinion our new President is a narcissist, a true narcissist. I remembered a book I had read many years ago about narcissism so I looked for it on my bookshelves. There is was, Narcissism Denial of the True Self by Alexander Lowen, M.D. Copyright 1985. “Narcissists are more concerned with how they appear than what they feel…they deny feelings that contradict the image they seek….they are egotists, focused on their own interests but lacking the true values of the self--namely self expression, self possession, dignity and integrity.” “When wealth occupies a higher position than wisdom, when notoriety is admired more than dignity, when success is more important than self-respect, the culture itself overvalues “image” and must be regarded as narcissistic.” Of course there is much more to be considered in a person’s life but narcissism is apparent all around us. Many of us know and/or work with such a person, some live with such a person. They are all around us but it is disconcerting that many millions voted for such a person to lead us, especially in such chaotic, dangerous times.

I’m going to try to mind my own business. I want to take care of my own problems and hassles. I want to clean up my own house and yard. Get the “have to do” things out of the way. I’m very pleased at what we have achieved with our LA JAZZ SCENE website. We’ve had a great response from jazz fans from all over. We’ll continue to test ideas, try new things and continue to feature musicians and singers from our area. The jazz community is changing; it’s been more robust in the past. We want to continue to promote what’s happening here and acknowledge those who have done so much to keep jazz alive in L.A.

One last thing; the L.A. Jazz Scene Newspaper has been collected and archived at Rutgers University for many years. It pleases me that scholars now and in the future can access our newspaper and get a view of what jazz in L.A. was like “way back when” starting in September 1987. We’ll keep going as long as the interest is there. Check out the website, it’s very, very good!

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Hang in there.

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“Man is born free; and everywhere he is in chains. One thinks himself the master of others, and still remains a greater slave than they.” ---Jean Jacques Rousseau (1712-1778)