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Setting the Record, Uh, Straighter, About Watermelon Slim

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There should be an image here, from my garden, but sometimes opednews' technology does not do what I ask of it.

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First of all, I want to express my thanks to Blues Blast Magazine for a new, and evolved, picture of me. I'm sitting here getting rested before, first, a trip to Greeley, Colorado, next week, and then the longest single stay I will ever have made in Europe, unless I find that regulations and my capacity to move allow me some day to live somewhere else besides the USA.

I have done acts of love for this nation most people never even consider-- my work in Dr. Phillips' investigation of the New Mexico land strata in which the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant is located, and now contains nuclear waste, against all scientific sense, is only one. I have spent my entire adult life doing it, starting in 1971 with my time in the Vietnam Veterans Against the War. I am a Life Member.

I have gradually been forced to the analytical conclusion that the American people, to say nothing of those they have elected as their leaders, have learned nothing from the bitter lessons of the Vietnam War.

If anything, its contemplation of war as a phenomenon has morphed from a painful confrontation with reality to an intellectual exercise. It's out of sight, and therefore somehow sanitized because you can't see or hear it, unlike the dawn of live network television broadcasts, where people were not forbidden, as they were by the GW Bush Administration, from seeing the combat and seeing the bodies return.

Thus, if I found a reason to emigrate, and active help doing it-- which all probably means a husband; without that one good man, I'm probably best off being a Mississippi farmer and fisherman-- I would leave the United States, a land, so far as I can see it, totally out of control, in which all the vectors I read about 50 years ago next year-- pollution, resource depletion, population increase-- have followed the paths projected in 1970 (a time before computerized vector modeling) by the Club of Rome Report: The Limits to Growth.

I would go someplace where the behavioral modification that has resulted in the whole nine yards of people accepting a man who has constantly, CONSTANTLY lied and obfuscated and said "so what!?" at them, who has denigrated combat veterans, even those who die on his watch, who never read an entire book in his life-- I mean, WTF struggles to explain it-- has not taken hold so completely. It's all in my songs, on Church of the Blues. Post-Modern Blues. Charlottesville (I Got the Blues for My Nation).

In one of our recent conversations, my brother-in-law, Dr. Jeff McKenna, a very wise and compassionate fellow, told me something I suppose I have always known.

Now, I have continued to fight the battles, whether or not I thought I could win them, according to the investigational and philosophical training I received from Dr. Richard Hayes Phillips: we must do it for the record. And I am mindful of what Jean-Paul Sartre said after World War Two: the only rational response to imminent defeat is resistance.

But my brother-in-law gently confirmed for me the truth: that I have a snowball's chance of ever achieving justice in this world, and that my time-- at 70, my borrowed time, as Ronnie Lereaux Meadors wrote in St. Peter's Ledger, the lead-off song on Church of the Blues-- might be better spent giving people the limited joy I know (as well as I know anything, and I am a Socratic about, uh, knowing anything at all) I give people when I am out doing my shows, being the Southern bluesman I have learned to be over 65 of those years, since I first heard Beulah Huggins sing something that a decade later I recognized as a key line from one of John Lee Hooker's first hits, Boogie Chillen.

Thanks, Jeff. You McKennas (sister Liz McKenna, nephews Will and Kiefer) are my family now. I'm looking forward to sharing world citizenship this summer-- for as I have said many times, the blues is a culture without borders avec tous mes amis/todos mis amigos/tutti li miei amici/all my friends. I thank God I have been allowed to carry on this far and meet as many of you as I have.

In my comments, once I post this, I will make a few journalistic corrections. The author was good enough to definitively make the correction about the Zippo I used as my very first guitar slide in Vietnam. I will, by his leave, make a few more -- dates, chronology mostly-- absolutely none of which detract from the comprehensive presentation he has made of the Watermelon Slim of 2019.

 

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My name is William Perkins Homans the third, but probably more people know me as the bluesman (and artist) Watermelon Slim.

I've been in the fight against war, fascism, injustice and inhumanity for 47 years. I was at MayDay, 1971, and at the moratorium March the week before. I was one of the leaders of the Great New Jersey (more...)
 

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