Q is for Quartet

monkey quartet3
Tiny Monkey Quartet


Today the tiny monkeys caused a bit of a RUCKUS. They held an outdoor concert in my backyard. All kinds of people walking by on their way to the local coffee shop wandered over and asked if it wasn’t a little late for SXSW. Haha so funny. It is a good thing Austin is the Live Music Capital of the World AND that my neighbors have a sense of humor. Otherwise someone probably would have called 311 and I am just too busy today to deal with a SWAT team.

tiny monkeys in performance
live performance



Gordon and Beauregard are the vocalists. Mouse and Exupery play the ukulele. It takes two: one to do the strumming; the other does the chords.

They are gearing up for the folk music festival circuit. They play old school stuff: Woody Guthrie, Pete Seeger and the like. They are worried that too many people seem to be unaware of labor history in North America so they want to use the music of the time to help us appreciate where we’ve come from. Goofy kids.

Click here for a report on how the labor movement is presented in American textbooks.
Click here to see a 2 minute video with Howard Zinn about how he got interested in studying labor history.

Of course the monkeys may have a point. Unions are nearly extinct. As of 2012, only 6.6 percent of Americans belonged to unions in the private sector.  (Compare to 28% in Canada, 20% in Britain & 20% in Germany)

Take a look at Robert Reich’s ski slope graph:

union middle class r reich

One way to illustrate how far Americans are being left behind is to compare median household income.

Average household income is rising in Canada. In 2011, it was just over $72,000.
In the U.S. it is shrinking. In 2011, it was just over $51,000.


Governments protect their own power. They are inherently conservative because they thrive on stability. Corporations have only one goal: profit. The purpose of unions is to push back against the greed of corporations and Government’s near lack of interest. This triangular system works as long as a balance exists between opposing forces. I think this graph shows how out of balance that system is now. By removing worker power, the triangle has fallen into a line: a continuum of government/corporate power.

The slippery part of the slope begins in the Reagan era. Government policies of deregulation and anti-union legislation along with globalization and out of control CEO earnings have resulted in a pattern of tougher and tougher times for ordinary people.

Kind of gives a new meaning to trickling down.


8 thoughts on “Q is for Quartet

  1. Adorable monkeys! Oy, government, corruption, power – always sounds like an endless cycle. My sis has a book that has to do with some guy who was a hired financial killer of some sort. Can’t remember it’s title, but she keeps bothering me to read it and about how V. Pres Cheney was also behind the folks who hired people like him to kill off the big wigs who weren’t playing the money cards right and along with their terms (sorry, sumthin’ like that, I think). Anyhow, your post reminds me about her book. I didn’t wanna read it cuz I know it’s just gonna make me an angry(er) person if I do. I totally agree about how the middle class is going downwards with lesser income. And it becomes an additional problem because less income can lead to less nutrition (buying cheaper and unhealthier foods leading to an even greater obese society). Oy. I love how you combine creative humor and informative info into your posts!


    1. Thanks for the monkey love. =)
      Less income means less spent on everything which makes it harder for businesses to expand to pay for more workers. It hurts everyone.


    1. There are still a few unions here and there. The teachers’ unions have been busted in a number of states with a few strong hold outs here and there.When I first moved to Austin I was surprised to see there were 2 unions for teachers in the same city. Well, when your membership is split you don’t have a union anymore. And sure enough neither union had a lot of bargaining power.


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