I Slept Late With Chairman Mao

Posted: March 31, 2014 in Fridge Note, It's not the heat, it's the humanity, Music nobody listens to, Shovels, Thread Open; have at it.

I know I should be with the putting up of the new posts and such as, but there’s so little to say, and so much time to say it.

…hold on.  strike that; reverse it.


Title Lonk.  The song in question has never been officially released.  Of course, I have a copy, so here it is.

I have a big project to work on for Tuesday, permit to obtain, and then on Wednesday we trip down to Chicago to see if we can rock a FIRST Regional with Whatnot.

There are some things aggravating me that I would like to rant further about, but time, yanno?  Time is a motherfucker.

Turdwaffle rams through an anti-democratic bill to restrict voting.  Apparently the thought is that fraudulent voting only happens on weekends.  If, of course, you consider voting by poors and blahs and brahs to be fraudulent.  Keep in mind that over the past decade or so, Milwaukee has seen five actual proven fraudulent votes.  WHOAH.

The planet WILL be seeing large-scale famines and water shortages coming up.  There have been many changes in the power balance of regions and cities in the past, for various reasons.  For example, did you know that up until the railroads came through to St. Louis, Milwaukee was actually a bigger city than Chicago?  Because our port was better and shorter from the St. Louis Seaway.  And it will be a significant advantage to be situated adjacent to one of the largest bodies of fresh water on the planet.  You may want to start submitting your applications now.

Although BP is trying to fuck up the Great Lakes as well as the Gulf, so maybe there’s no respite.

Back to Turdwaffle.  He claims a budget surplus, that he will return to taxpayers in Wisconsin in the realm of $75 each.  But then, he plans to borrow millions to build new, unnecessary and counter-productive highways while the deterioration of existing streets due to the crazy winter will be laid on the budgets of municipalities.  AND those taxpayers, it is estimated that the potholes are going to cost most families up to $1000 to repair the damage done to their vehicles.  Yay inconsequential tax rebate!  And let’s just mention that the corrupt process for bidding and constructing those highways will be lacking oversight and built to crappy standards, so they won’t even last three winters before being added to the local burdens for repair.

Turdwaffle-adjacent:  In recognition of the clown car of goat-molesters and slime people that are queuing up for the 2016 Goat Rodeo (h/t Tengrain), the Big Money Sociopaths and Greedheads are trying to set JEB! Bush as the next anointed Republican Presidential Asshole.  Yee-hah.  Yeah, yeah, complain all you want about the “lesser Evil” but are you really willing to inflict another Bush on the world?

In amazingly funny crap:  The Religious Yahoos are up in arms that the Noah movie is — get this –inaccurate.  In a movie about an impossible to construct boat, with a ludicrous amount of cargo, in a mythical and impossible global flooding.  Somehow, it does not conform to the implausible and vague details of a book written by people who based it on nothing more than verbal tradition, which has been translated multiple times into languages that have no relation to the original.  “Shyeah.  What’s a cubit?”

Of some personal interest is an article indicating that big-name starchitects tend to not give a shit about the local and employment implications of their work.  This is intriguing to me on several levels.  You see, my work is focused locally to an intense degree; and as such, I feel it needs to always express and support and improve the lives and living of the people who build it and live in it’s shadow.  Much of my work has been breaking standards for local and minority employment (and not the immigrant employment mentioned in the article – employees are all verified), although my only contribution toward that is working on projects and teams that are willing to make those efforts.


One of the problems with Starchitects like Hadid and Gehry and Calatrava, is that their work tends to go wildly over budget, which puts pressure on the bottom end of the contractor fields.  Someone budgets 40 million for a project and brings in a Name, and the budget suddenly balloons up to 80 million, and during construction inflates to 100 million.  Suddenly, the Construction Manager has to cut costs somewhere and since labor is about 2/3 of a building’s cost these days, where do you think it goes?  And this makes the whole project start to go pear-shaped, as critical assemblies are now being built by inexperienced, non-union personnel.  And then the building failures start….

It’s a stupid, shortsighted attitude on architect’s part, and as the article points out licensed professionals are expected to operate with a higher standard of consideration for the overall social impact of our work.  In the same way we consider life cycle costing of buildings and materials, and their sustainability, it’s not unreasonable for us to also consider the social cost of shitty employment trends.  We may not be able to make tremendous impacts to them, the pressures of financing and construction are immense and entrenched; but every pushback  can be valuable.



I am accustomed to being the voice of doom and bad news during construction.  The costs, and the codes, and the sheer effort to making a building project happen; I have long decided that I will not sugarcoat these issues.  They are all surmountable; but the will not evaporate.  And I always talk about the cost of cheap and inexperienced labor.  As one of my clients once said to me “Gramma once said to me:  you don’t save money by doing it twice.”  Union workers mean you don’t have to do it twice.

I may never be a worldwide architectural sensation, but I am doing what I can in my community and within the parameters of my influence, try to make my projects positive in all those aspects.  I have won awards for my projects (week after next, I have multiple projects nominated for MANDI awards, and the next night one for a Business Journal Award; Mayor’s Design Awards are next and as soon as that crazy angled 4-story addition is finished, we’ll go for more).  I am not going to ever win the Pritzker Prize, but My favorite recognition is always – ALWAYS- hearing from the people who live in and have their lives improved by the work I’ve done.

And for the most part, the roofs don’t leak on them.


Also and by the way, have you heard about these Badgers?  Going to the Final Four, and Frank the Tank is peaking like a mother fucker.  Not only, but another UW team, the Panthers, from the non-sports Milwaukee campus, made it to the Big Show this year also, against all expectations.  Rock on, Wisconsin dudes.

As said above, don’t figure on lots of updates from me, so consider this an Open post, and placeholder, or whatever you wanna call it.  I will be keeping tabs, however, so don’t feel like this is free reign to post squirrels and other offensive turds.  ENJOY!


[EDIT FOR THE HALIBUT]  cover song from one of my favorite bands, courtesy that Bastard of Big, who is Bald and no-one actually thinks is Bad.

  1. Career success – what is this you speak of? We Yang are unfamiliar…

    Go get em V.I.N.CENT, err, Whatnot!!

    As a former union sparky, and always a brother, we love architects like you, except for your ability to put a 3 bend saddle in 4″ rigid with a pencil, makes us jealous.

    Keep Calm and Have A Sonic Screwdriver!

  2. mikey says:

    It is remarkable, when one thinks about (NOT recommended) how short-sighted and unsustainable the entire process of governance, management and community investment has become. Society is committing suicide before everybody’s eyes, right out in plain sight, and all anybody can think of to do is try to scramble for some of the dollars before somebody else gets them.

    Humans seem to be hard-wired to destroy humanity. See the last variable in the Drake Equation – the lifespan of an intelligent species. I’m going to put it at first space launch +250 years. Max…

  3. Jennifer says:

    ZRM- now I know why I’ve been craving a little vinegar with my water.

    Also, any thoughts on the season finale for TWD?

      • OK, now I’ve watched it. But I don’t want to go all spoiler toward any of my five regular readers.

        • I’m actually three or four eps behind – all securely staged on the murder recorder. But I don’t have a thing about spoilers – I always read the recaps on deadspin or vulture or wired, and it doesn’t seem to ruin my enjoyment of the violence and bloodshed, not to mention the wide variety of weapons. Speaking of, teevee has done a whole lot better job lately (since Band o’Brothers, near as I can tell) getting weapons right. They still sound like 105 howitzers rather than small arms (I suspect people would be unhappy with pop pop pop rather than BANG!) but the rates of fire, regular reloads and the general functioning is much better. There’s still way too much of 200 pound people getting blown backwards by a bullet or shotgun load (physics anyone?), but in general they’re doing a much better job…

  4. hmpf. I am not getting anywhere on this silly building model. Perhaps I should just click into Diablo and waste some ghouls.

  5. Big Bad Bald Bastard says:

    You gonna contact Von to let her know to meet you in Chicago?

  6. fish says:

    put a 3 bend saddle in 4″ rigid with a pencil smudgy charcoal.


  7. FWIW and for those interested, here’s a highlight reel from teh Wisconsin FIRST regional:

    No, our team doesn’t appear.

  8. Jeez, I give good meeting.

    • Of course, it helps when you have stellar designs to present.

    • mikey says:

      I give crappy meeting. I’m all about the fix. Tell me what’s making your face hurt or your ass tired and I’ll tell you how to fix it. It’s not pretty, it’s not cuddly, but it’s technology deployed for the betterment of – well – YOU!

      • That’s my kind of meeting. I don’t mean to give the impression that I give corporate stye meeting. My meeting starts with candy and ends with the client being happy and excited, and everything moves forward.

        Today, we expanded a project from six to seven stories and moved a small suburban commercial building forward into further design development.

  9. Whale Chowder says:

    Very cool that you think of that shit when you design your projects. Also very VERY cool to see the final results of the building with the roundy-bit (if you’ll excuse the technical jargon). I reme ber looking at the drawing some time ago and thinking “I don’t get it. Looks like two different buildings stuck together at the corner.” I’m tickled to see how wrong I could be.

    I’ll let mikey handle downer duties, I’ll just be little Pollyana over here.

  10. Hey, be sure to check out Fresh Air on NPR today. Your buddy from the Mekons is on…

  11. mikey says:

    UConn Beat Florida.

    Anything is possible.

    Go Badgers. HONEY Badgers. They don’t give a shit…

Go ahead, tell me how I fucked up this time.

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