Archive for the ‘Body Count’ Category

Minneapolis, the central home of polite people, is burning.

There was an innocent black man, choked to death by a white man he had worked with, by kneeling on his neck, for an alleged fake 20 dollar bell.  Kneeling on his neck for 9 minutes while three other cops looked on, and they ignored the pleas from EMTs to release the man and check his pulse. Now a black man’s life is worth a fake 20 dollar bill, which is actually worth nothing.  This was a straight up execution. Because cops know they are untouchable.

This was mere days after police-associated vigilantes pursued and shot a black man for jogging, in his own neighborhood.

Since then, protests have erupted across the country, which are echoing other protests when black folks have been senselessly slaughtered and murdered by white police, or just random white people with guns deciding they are the law.

When not being strapped, white racists decide to call 911 when black people are just in their presence, being black, knowing that the black person is pretty much going to be arrested if not shot dead.

Henry Louis Gates was arrested on his front porch for being black in his own home. I guarantee he worried for his life.

AND NOW.  A black man has been senselessly and ridiculously executed by a white racist violent militaristic cop, who kneeled on Floyd’s neck.  He fucking knew what he was doing, the three other cops let him do it. It was white racist fucks lynching a black man, because they could.

I have a friend that I worked with here in town, and now is an architect in San Francisco, and is African American.  He posted “Living as a black man in America is fucking exhausting.”  I have no frame of reference for that pain.

And now.

Tonight, my city is experiencing a second night of curfew, and the protests persist.  I’ve got a friend reporting on FB from his bike. There are caravans of armored vehicles, and incessantly circling helicopters.  The common game of ‘gunshots or fireworks?’ seems to be nearly continuous.  Parts of the freeway were shut down yesterday.

Trump is hiding in the Bunker, and tweeting every-more insane incitements to violence.  His white supremacist worshippers are listening, too and showing up at protests to try and turn them violent.  There is some organization to the effort, too; pallets of bricks are showing up before the protests start. The police are reacting as expected: they are waging violent war at the least provocation or no provocation.  The are shooting rubber bullets at the heads of journalists, when they are intended to be target to legs. On more than one occasion, this occupying army has been proudly flashing the ‘white power’ hand sign and giggling like Chucky the murderous psychopath doll.

I change my assessment.  America is burning.

This makes me feel like I need to go listen to Nick Cave’s Murder Ballads album, which led me to Mercy Seat, which led me to Johnny Cash’s cover, which led me to the most perfect cover video of a Nine Inch Nails song (aside-that song is playing on a perpetual loop at the Cash museum in Nashville):

And now – now, the dog needs to go outside to pee, and that’s getting harder for her.  We have started the process to bring in another rescue, because after all these years, the concept of not having a dog is kind of incomprehensible.  So, life goes on.  Somehow.

I am not usually one to echo Imaginary Digital Friend mikey’s glum worldview, but I am having a hard time imagining the way forward out of this.  I can imagine Murder Hornets, tigers roaming the city streets,  and a zombie holocaust, but that’s not one my brain can wrap around.

But life will go on.

Won’t it?

I had forgotten how much I loved that Nick Cave album.  But a word of warning; do NOT listen to it if you are feeling fragile.  It is harrowing.  Over the course of the album, hundreds of people are killed. And after all that bloodshed, they did an all-star cover of “Death Is Not The End” which is normally a song of hope for the afterlife but coming at the end of this travelogue of murder, insanity and depravity, becomes more of a threat:

(title lonk) Because there is no musical link more appropriate than this book.

Wisconsin has a long, dark history.  Joe McCarthy was one of the least appalling episodes.  We have had labor wars, the two sides of the Milwaukee river lobbing bombs at each other, Native slaughters, trappers killing over turf wars, housing riots, cannibals and serial killers, and a Playboy model murderor.  We have a dark bent:

And let’s not get into how we are deep into cardiac cuisine and deep alcohol based lifestyles (guilty!).

But during Turdwaffle’s interregnum, Republicans managed to hardwire the Manders of Gerry in such a way that Democrats are disadvantaged to about 7 points, on average. And somehow, this ends up with partisan elected Supreme Court judges, which means we currently have a 5-2 asshole versus reasonable person ratio.  Our recent Death Election, where this biased court decided we had to proceed with a hazardous election – “don’t vote or die” which was the most straightforward expression of Republican politics ever – one of which was turned out but a resounding 13 percent. but he still got to give us a Fuck You and also give  a Fuck You to Governor Evers (which the Wingnut Legislature is always eager to do) when they canceled his Safer at Home orders.

It is notable that they rushed this misbegotten misshapen horror in such an anti-Democrat frenzy that they fucked up how to integrate, and basic direction as to how it applies to existing orders.  They are incompetent, they got their positions by being right wing lunatics, not because they were competent. All that was required was compliance with wing nut orthodoxy.

most higher density cities and counties have their own SIP rules in place, or they put them in place.  In one of my own stomping grounds, Platteville, a picture of a packed bar was immediately pushed far and wide.

Hilariously, one of the most common photos of Wisconsidiots is of a bar in Platteville.  I went to college there for a few years, and drank in that dive quite a few times (it had a different name). But when I was in town, they had $1.50 pitchers on Wednesdays, so we were usually there. Of course.

I got to know the townies in that land-grant college town, and am entirely not surprised by their behavior. They are mostly stupid, is what I am saying.  To be completely harsh, them deciding to make themselves dead bothers me hardly at all.  The people they will infect, I care more about, because they never asked for it.  But they probably all voted for Trump because they are racists, and will do it again, and I really have very little sympathy.  You shitholes want to make all of us get sick and die, so I may be harsh saying I DGAF when you get sick and die from going to a bar when you shouldn’t have, you complete amoral idiot.

Capture-2

Wisconsin just became  a Posse Comitatus state.  It is now controlled by an evil connection between the Trump Republican party in a state that is completely rigged for them, and the media foghorn of Fox News.   The Republicans in the Lege, let’s name the worst of them:  Robin Vos and Scott Fitzgerald (spit).  Vos is the motherfucker that wore full PPE gear including a gown, while proclaiming that everyone was “incredibly safe” to go and vote after they strongarmed the State SC into not delaying the election.  Subsequently, we are rapidly approaching 100 cases of COVID related to the election.

Green Bay, Madison, and Milwaukee are the centers of sanity.  They are also the centers of commercial activity in the state. Which irritates the racists in the rest of the state to no end, which is why we have a regular racist vote, every time.

So now we have a huge number of Wisconsidiots, who are suffering from hardly any difficulty, who packed bars and spread everything they had with everyone else. And then they went home to spread it to their families, who spread it to their parents.  And some of them will die.

These people are willing to kill their own family because they are so insanely paranoid that they will fill bars.  The impulse to pwn the libs is so firmly entrenched by the Right Wing wurlitzer they see that as some kind of solution.  To what, nobody seems to be able to articulate.

Apparently none of them ever watched the Mythbusters.

It is completely laid bare that the Republican party wants to kill everyone who is not part of their owners.  Fuck that, they just are OK with killing all of us.

Wisconsin shows how Republicana want to make this country into a feudal system\, where you work or die.  They don’t really care which.  And they have convinced 40% of the country that dying in agony with destroyed lungs is preferable to voting for a DEMONCRAT.

This is terrible. My fellow Wisconsinites will die because of this, fellows even if they are morons, racists and benighted ignoramuses,  and I don’t know if I have a way to respond.

Lord Dampnut immediately crowed as if it was a win.  And most populated cities and counties immediately reaffirmed the Safer in Place order they had established locally.  On the first day, it seemed a bit loony round here, but it seems to have calmed down somewhat.  Most people are still being respectful, although when I went to the bodega today, he wasn’t wearing a mask although I was.  People gave wide berths when walking down the sidewalk.

We have a very weird situation in this state.  We have a good governor, elected over the Turdwafle, but we also have a locked-in Republican legislature due to the ridiculous gerrymandering of the state which would embarrass Mussolini.  All that is missing is painting the Trump jut-jaw face on every government building, and does anyone want to say that won’t happen?

I will send out a classic number to this misbegotten Court:

Go Fuck Yourself Also Too

 

 

When I was in high school, I took many college entry courses in English Lit, 4 1/2 years of math, physics… as well as almost every shop and art class offered. I had no control over what I was interested i, and I was not being adequately supervised. My parents worked, and I never got arrested.

At the time, I was working in the drafting department of a tech equipment company (while I was there, they were working on a machine that could scan a sample and return the percentages of minerals within.  There was much amusement when they scanned a fly)  At the time, our CAD machine occupied an entire goddam room, and had to have a separate cooling system), but everything else was hand drawn.

Hilariously, the obviously ill-equipped High School counselor, when performing the rote pre-graduation review, looked at my transcript and could not figure it out.  He looked at me, and said, “what do you think you should be doing?” to which I replied “I am already white collar, motherfucker, and that’s a good coin for this podunk town” (maybe not in those words.  He shrugged and put the file away.  Thanks, asshole!

However, my father, who succumbed to the anti-college sentiment of a suburb adjacent to a college town, had a chance to go to land grant state school and I think regretted not going, insisted that I go to some kind of post-secondary education.  To which I said (already being a punk) well, then fuck this I am going somewhere else to college, and found a UW school in the middle of nowhere (shut up, you with the ‘aren’t they all’ comments) and enrolled in the engineering curriculum.  That turned out to be a bad fit, but we corrected course and got into pre-architecture and subsequently moved to Milwaukee.

But wait.  That’s not what I’m here to talk about.  I’m here to talk about the draft.  (wait while I refresh my drink)

No, wait, I am here to talk about historic windows.  Wait.  I’ll come in again.

I’m here to talk about drafting standards.  Ok, we’ll go with that.

During that checkered high school history, I took every drafting class offered.  I also took every shop class available, and most of the art classes.  And 4 1/2 years of math.  And 3 years of English and Literature.  (The traverse from one end of the school to the other for these wildly divergent classes sometimes challenged an ability to actually cover the distance in the class break time).  The drafting teacher (who also doubled as my freshman basketball coach) was kind of bemused, teaching a class balanced between art and science and shop, and as that kind of class had many students who were aiming for trade school.  But he discovered I had great skill at hand drafting, and while the rest of the class diligently worked on the current assignments, often struggling, I mostly blistered through them and he had to scramble to give me extra work to keep me busy. At several points, he just told me to not come in for several days until we got to something new. “Take a week off”….

I learned how to handle a pencil to create effective line weights, and what those line weights could mean.  Eventually, in college, I bought some (relatively) expensive graduated ink pens to do those time-consuming presentation drawings.

This is something being lost in the CAD environment.  Colored lines on a screen mean nothing, and do not translate to physical prints of drawing – which we still use, because we need hard copy in the field.  A friend who is in the State plan review area, agrees- he says most plans come in with no line hierarchy control at all.  One of the things I have had to really emphasize employees, especially more recent graduates is that construction drawings are a form of communication, and line weights are the inflections that help to make sense.

in an early preliminary collidge class, I was criticized for using what are derisively called “bubble trees” .  In defiance, I checked out several books on how to identify trees in profile from the library, and most importantly found many illustrations in the endpapers that showed all these various trees.  I  used these to illustrate my next project , and the amount of ink I put on the paper was so much that I had to matte the whole thing with a black border just to make it balance.  One person kept wandering back and forth during my presentation, and insisted that he could see shadows moving in those trees.

But in that high school class, at one point the instructor, I think desperate to find more things for me to do, and maybe looking to present a challenge, had me do large-scale (3″) details of windows and doors.  I fucking loved it.  But I suddenly had a crash course in how windows were built and installed.  It was, frankly, one of the most instructive and informative single episodes in my pre-professional life.

Here is what it looks like when I use those skills on a contemporary project.  And unlike those projects in high school and collidge, this is for-real and for construction, and since they are part of applying for historic tax credits, real value in actual Ameros (if you are interested, those details are now approved by the National Park Service):

X8.2-window comparison round top

Because, for the most part, most windows are based upon hundreds of years of figuring out how to make windows that work pretty well.  In recent years, window technology has gotten vastly better, but the basics that were well established when my house was built in 1904 are still valid.

Amusingly, although I went into college as an engineer but left as a baby architect, when my younger brother who was still in high school told my old drafting instructor that I was going into architecture, the guy said “well of course”.

So here I am 4 fucking decades later, working on an historic building and during investigation, we discovered that a fair amount of the original ground floor windows still exist and they weren’t destroyed and are in good shape because they were covered up at some point which protected them, which will allow for restoration.  Of course, those concealments were unnecessarily destructive, as it far too common. Out initial submission to the NPS showed new windows in these locations, but considering the condition of the existing windows, my recommendation is now restoration, with new thermal panes added to the interior for modern energy expectations.

And here I am, preparing a change to our original NPS approval, showing that we will be preserving the original windows and doors where our original application indicated new construction (since it was all concealed and we had no idea what was underneath), and I am doing details of the existing and since I did those old detail assignments in high school, I know how these windows were built.

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Look at what they did to that masonry detailing. fucking vandals, it would not surprise me if it was done by the Trump family. Also love the GE marketing.

Look at the damage, done so they could put really ugly aggregate panels over everything.  I do not forgive.

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Mind you, this is what the masonry looked like when before those savages attacked it with chisels and hammers.

 

But I dearly love reusing buildings and historic buildings. And doing this does  makes me happy.

Happy.

Heard about houston? Heard about detroit?
Heard about pittsburgh, P. A.?
You oughta know not to stand by the window
Somebody might see you up there
I got some groceries, some peanut butter,
To last a couple of days
But I ain’t got no speakers, ain’t got no
Headphones, ain’t got no records to play

I called one of my brothers today.  We don’t talk that often, so he asked what was the occasion, I said, just the standard Pandemic Check In.  He works retail, so he still goes in daily; they have gloves and tend toward no-contact delivery or car window service as much as possible.  My SIL is a hairdresser, and she has had to close her salon by order of the governor; although I am sure she does in-home for anyone who is OK with that.

We have an elderly widow a couple of houses up from us, she makes it a point to walk up to our corner and back every day.  I’ve made it a point to walk out and ask how she’s doing (from 10 feet away).  She has a grandson living downstairs from her, so she’s got someone keeping her stocked.

I got my meds updated to 90 days.  Also got a gift card for our mail carrier (enclosed in a beautiful Chihuly at Biltmore card because I am ARTSY).

Wife Sublime and I are both working full-time from home, and we’re very fortunate to be able to do so.  Had a brief panic episode early on, when the internet service went down for half an hour.  I have had most of my current files in cloud storage, and older stuff on my HD.  We haven’t gotten on each other’s nerves as yet; no more than usual.

That is not the case for a neighbor up the street.  The other day, we had police descend on our corner in force:  at least six cars, 3 vans, two unmarked.  The streets were blocked off, including our driveway.  Cops were lurking around the corners and inside of nearby buildings, hands on their guns and always close to cover.  They dispersed through the backyards and from the other end of the block.  As Imaginary Digital Friend mikey said, it looked like a Hill Street Blues episode, and friends and capybaras, it did at that.

Some of the police did not have hands on their pistols.  Those would be the ones carrying rifles.  

Another friend said the police log simply said “suspect with a gun” because you don’t have that kind of force arrayed when there isn’t.  Later, we learned that he was threatening to shoot his wife although it is not clear whether it was a hostage situation.  My wife said she heard a gunshot, but I missed it. In any case, we weren’t all that surprised; social isolation and a frayed relationship; and someone who might have responded to the pandemic by getting a gun or another one; it was kind of inevitable.  Again, quoting mikey (who sometimes has the soul of a poet): “Nowhere to go, death lurking outside, violence and hatred in your ‘safe’ place.”

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Our last concert was March 5; They Might Be Giants at the Pabst Theater.  the weekend of the 14th, we were scheduled for a trip to Costa Rica for 9 days, and I was nervous but Wife Sublime was so eager for the trip I said I would be OK with it.  However, the tour company canceled all their tours two days before we were due to leave.  Since then, we have been self-isolating and sheltering-in-place like motherfuckers.  My concert buddy and I have tix for Tame Impala on May 30, no word yet.  We also have tickets for Roger Waters in August; no idea.  Summerfest has been postponed and rescheduled for three consecutive weekends in September.  Roll the fucking bones on that one.

Fortunately, our (Democratic) governor was not being an idiot and closed down all non-essential businesses (as noted above, including hairdressers) and being not-a-further-idiot, also declared liquor stores to be essential businesses.  Wisconsin, you know?  But liquor stores are reporting quite a brisk business with the populace staying home with little to do except to self-medicate (and threaten their wife with a gun, of course) and when I am honest, my consumption has gone up.

Wife Sublime is self-comforting by incessantly watching news shows about the pandemic, she even resorts to watching the lying press conferences by Lord Dampnut.  And also reading about other pandemics and epidemics and researching local statistics, then producing analysis charts for Facebook.  She’s an engineer and IT professional and that’s what she does.  She feels uncomfortable when she feels like she has no control, and right now, there is no control to be had.  The best there is is analysis.  FWIW, we’ve been married for a long time, and I understand.  I put in my headphones and watch horror movies.

As I said to friend, “I am watching horror movies to avoid horror reality”.  But man, you bottom out on quality horror movies really fucking fast.  I also burned through Netflix’ comedy specials in like two days.  In the meantime, I am still working on projects, that I had fallen behind on although believe me it’s hard to be productive under wartime conditions.  See:  this blog post.  When I should be working on fire separation details (but at least I got those elevator shop submittals pushed out into the motherfucking mojo wire).

(ahh, you see.  There you go.  wandered off to make a new cocktail and lost my train of thought.)

But of course the difficult thing is the social isolation and the incessant dread and paranoia.  During the day, I hear Wife Sublime on video conferencing with people around the world, and they always talk about how things are where they are.  I usually have to argue with insurance shit weasels about why they won’t give me new CPAP equipment. Oh, sure, sometimes I talk to contractors and such, but since all of them are working at home, that’s almost all email too.  It does all make everything a bit more distancing.

And then, a few days ago, I went to bed and couldn’t sleep and then found myself curling into the tightest ball I could and sobbing uncontrollably.  All the fear, tension, stress and paranoia came spilling out all at once into my arms and belly and sheets.  It came as a bit of a surprise and certainly relief.

Certainly everyone is feeling the same kinds of things, and I hope they don’t respond like my neighbor up the block.  I would also say, if you have guns GET RID OF THEM or at least secure them.  When I was at my bleakest, I often thought about buying a gun and I didn’t but if I had had one available, this might be a very different blog.

Meanwhile, I appreciate all the half-dozen readers I have and all the other readers I have ever had and hope you are all well and things are going well and that  you are coping well.  I have love for you all I send zombie love out to you.

zombie-2

 

I love animals.

I love having pets.  I love sharing my life with small creatures.

 

I have since my father had a great dog, (who loved him but loved us kids more than him, and if he raised his voice to us King would snarl), and my parents allowed me to have (2!) guinea pigs who did what they do (believe me, infant guinea pigs are the most adorable things) and one of the pigs I named Pink Floyd which was weird when he(she) had babbies.  I took one of the pigs to college, and my roommates were insane because that pig would squeak terribly whenever anyone opened the fridge, two rooms away, until someone would bring some produce.  Amazing how loud those little fuckers can be…

but I buried one of them in my parents backyard.

In College, I was living in a basement apartment, and a friendly had to find a new home for her dorm kitteh, so I took him in.  He was named Nermal, and as someone raised in 200 square feet, he was physically inept, and watching him try to climb the cat pole we had was hilarious and we dubbed him “Numb-nuts Nermal”.  Later, I had to re-home him elsewhere, where they had to brace the refrigerator door because he learned he could brace his back against the alcove and use all four legs to open the door and then he could just climb in and graze.  He became a huge, hilariously clumsy cat.

Other than that, in college there was really no place for a good boy, which seem reasonable. I shared good boys from friends. But when we bought our shitty old barn of a historic house, we needed a dog and we got one, one of the most bestest good girls of forever. A mix of Shepherd and Springer Spaniel; everybody loved her, she loved everybody.  She was the Best Girl until something failed and her entire hindquarters became inoperative.  When she could no longer walk, I carried her out for her needs and then I carried her to the car and carried her into the vet’s office and I held her while she passed.  I wept.  We let the vet dispose of the remains.

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After that, we did a rescue with Lucy the Orange, an abandoned puppy mill semi-purebred, which was likely abandoned because the Black Nose that was notable for a Black Nose Cur, was marred by a bit of white.  She was an intense dog that took training, on all of our parts, to accommodate.  but we all made do; she was Wife Sublime’s dog more than mine, but when I had medical issues, we became friends, at least, while walking and walking….

So now things are becoming a bit weak for the orange girl.  Lucy is no longer good at stairs.  she sometimes has tremors in her limbs.  She looks at me, sometimes, with some kind of request.  Lucy has always been my wife’s dog, but that doesn’t mean I don’t like her; fuck, she is the only subject that showed up in two of my portraits.

Lucy is, as are all of them, a Good Dog.

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And somehow it is also the time our kittehs are on the down side. one of them is dropping pounds with no real explanation and the other has continual hot spots.  Merle the White Cat is weirdly attached to Lucy, and I am not sure how that will go if the orange is lost.

so it seems that we are likely to watch all of our House Animals that will likely pass at one time, which never happened.  And also, that we never had fuzzbuckets in our household…..

 

We are going to bless Lucy, in the near future, with The Sleep.  I will miss her.  She has always been a Good Dog.

I sit here and write and think, and I watch Princess Monster Truck walk around just because they all like to look out the patio door, and watching her stroll around, I realize how much I think we always need animules in our lives.  I really think  need to have some fuzzbuckets that do their own thing in and around us. Independent and still cuddly. And we still recognize that their lives are not as long as ours, and we will have to bid them goodbye in ways that are almost always painful.  But that is the price we pay for having them in our lives, you know?

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In the documentary “The Future Is Unwritten”, an (extremely young) Joe Strummer tried to get himself renamed Woody in homage to Guthrie, which thankfully nobody really took him up on, which was good, because the name Joe Strummer is now part of the pantheon of legendary songwriters like Guthrie is.

But Gaslight Anthem once wrote a great response/ tribute song (this is going to make sense, trust me):

So tonight, I went to see a show from a wide range of musicians, but anchored by the Mekons stalwarts Jon Langford and Sally Timms. And the whole show was augmented by the great musician John Szymanski, who also plays with Langford on Four Lost Souls (who recorded their ABSOLUTELY AMAZING album Four Lost Souls at Muscle Shoals).  Also joining in for a few songs from that Four Lost Souls album was Bethany Thomas, who ripped the roof off the place.  Discovered that later this year, we would be seeing her appear on a different Milwaukee stage performing Hedwig and the Angry Inch.

Here’s one of the Four Lost Souls songs they played:

I talked about this with my concert buddy, but how it amazes me that all of these masses of music all come together.  Many of my friends express surprise at how much music I love and want to experience.  But music is not a style, it is not a preference.  Music is how we express ourselves.  Like paintings. or sculpture..

But here’s the thing.  In that Gaslight Anthem song, where he sings about “I heard it like a shot from my skull to my brain
I felt my fingertips tingle and it started to rain
When the walls of my bedroom were tremblin’ around me
This ramshackle voice over attack of a blues beat”

And in a similar way, the first time I saw the Mekons did the same thing to me.

And in the early 90’s I took the strong review in the Rolling Stone for a Mekons album, “Rock ‘n’ Roll” inspired me to go see them, probably paid what, 15 bucks? at a local 300 person music club.  And they fucking killed me.  They were SO FUCKING GOOD.  They were sloppy drunks who also were amazingly on point.  They got drunk on stage and took their clothes off.  And they destroyed my brain.  AND they were immortalized by Too Much Joy in one of their songs. And the next time they visited, I told my wife she had to see them.  So we went, but unknown to us they got tossed from their label, without releasing their followup album, and in the middle of their American tour.  So when we saw them, I think they were basically abandoned in the middle of America, and I figure they had pregamed beyond the best amount, and we saw a shambolic, incoherent loss of control by a band that became repellent and they argued more than they played.  We left, and if you know me, that is rare.  So….the next time they came through, on an independent label, I said to myself I says “self, they were so good that first time, I will give them another chance” but I didn’t bring my wife because of how bad they had been the time before.  AND THEY WERE AGAIN SIMPLY AMAZING. I went the next time, and they were even better.  They got better and better every time, and now they are the most consistently amazing band I know.  I went to see them in the middle of fuck-all Wisconsin and I survived a heart attack to get there.

I used to make tapes and  put London Calling on one side, with Rock ‘n’ Roll on the other.

This was a performance from musicians I love and revere.  And they played some of my favorite songs, including “Memphis,Egypt” and “Drunk by Noon”

Opening the night was Milwaukeean and raging protest folk-rocker Deano Schlabowski, who also joins Jon Langford in the country punk outfit The Waco Brothers.  Deano was funny as hell, and he also debuted a theme song inspired by the newly revealed camouflage uniforms of the SPACE FORCE! But he opened with this:

At the end of the show, we spent much time chatting with the musicians, and sharing some absolutely incredible home made brandy sour gummies.  And I am pretty sure I arranged for Deano to play at a party this summer.  And Langford came over to say HI! before I could walk up to him; remembering my name and the last time we talked.  Got pics with him and with Deano.  Spent a LOT of time talking/flirting with Bethany Thomas.

On the merch table, in addition to the typical vinyl and CDs (all of which I already had), Jon Langford had brought along some of his art-prints, on 7″ square plywood.  They were of various artists – Patti Smith, Woody Guthrie, some more bizarre scenes.   He works with nearly-photorealistic portraits, but overlaid onto fatigued and distressed backgrounds. As the T-shirt says, “my favorite color is patina”.  But the one that caught my eye in particular was a portrait of Joe Strummer.  It was gorgeous.

I got another beer and mulled an unanticipated art purchase, discussing with my buddy the likelihood of using my acquaintance with the artist to obtain a discount.  I have a fair number of Langford/Mekons art prints and concert posters already, but only 4 of the plywood treatment, which I bought at an art gallery in town when they had a show that coincided with a Mekons concert. But when I looked again, apparently someone else jumped before I got my nerve up. So it goes.  I was philosophical.  I had just enjoyed a sublime evening of music and humor and friendship and alcoholic gummy candy; what more could I want?

My friend, who was entirely unfamiliar with almost every song played, was still very much impressed – especially with the singing of Bethany Thomas.

So when my friend dropped me at home, and he thanked me for our first show of 2020, I discovered who had purchased the Strummer portrait.  It was a thank you/holiday gift for me.

Of course I’m going to show it to you, and isn’t that gorgeous:

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number 11 of 25.

 

 

Made very famous by REM’s use of it in one of their great, great,  songs from Monster – an album that I waited in line at midnight to buy as soon as possible-  But also not noted is that one of my other favorite bands, Game Theory, used it in the proper phrasing “Kenneth, What’s the frequency?”

It was a slight amazing bit of sound and intro to one of the best of the albums from the 80s, and one of the best bands I had ever seen.  Saw them in a dive on the south side of Milwaukee, in the middle of winter, which seemed to shock the women in the band, because they wore completely inappropriate skimpy tops.

I saw Dan Rather interview the Two Mikes from REM the other night, and of course the phrase came up.  They had a clip of Dan Rather trying to sing the song during a sound check which was not amusing, it was painful.

So, let’s talk about the frequency of eye lengths.

Do you guys remember being in grade school?  Do you remember being asked to read the text on film strips?

Well, it was Second grade, I was seven, you know?  And when the teacher was going through the class asking for students to read the film strip, and got to me, I was not able to respond.  Not because I couldn’t read, but because I couldn’t SEE. After she spent a little time trying to help me because she thought I couldn’t read, she eventually understood it was an eyeball thing….How would I know?  My eyes were what I had, and what I could see was the way things were.  Had no idea I should be seeing better, because I had no comparison.

So after my teacher stopped embarrassing me, she told my parents that it was time to get an eye test.  And after that, I got some glasses for the first time in my life.  And I saw things I had never seen before.  IN fact, when I had glasses, I was weirded out by the depth perceptions.  It made walking weird, at best for a short tome of acclimatization, until i got used to the way everything seemed a bit….closer.

I have worn glasses since then.  Or contacts. For a few years, as a kid, I needed new glasses pretty much every year, because my eyes kept going south. I much prefer contacts, but it is hard because I have a weird diagonal astigmatism.  I haven’t seen my eye doctor in some time, And I need new contacts and new glasses.

I had my glasses fall apart tonight, one of the lenses fell right the hell out, and I was forced to use a bent paper clip to put them back together.  Believe me, as a guy who has worn glasses for WAY more than half my life, I have worked out any number of ways to do emergency and field repair.

And it was curious, in that I was forced to use my backup last version glasses, and that those glasses seem to serve better than the ones that lost the screw.

See now here.  As a diabetic, I am supposed to expect my eyes to go weird and degrade.  Which, I guess, is not going to be any weirder than any year before; my eyes have degraded all  my life.

Since I have been wearing glasses all my life, and my prescription is weird and changing and I have the diabetic multiplier, I have long been sensitive to the quality of the eye care I seek out, and I have a very clear preference for a for-real Optometrist or an Ophthalmologist versus an optician, and when providing lenses, I have never had a satisfactory experience from the mall shops or places like Mall-Wart.  Fortunately, one of my neighbors is an Optometrist, and a good one; and in a fine example of work going both ways, I designed his new office on the south side:

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What we found is that my right eye has decided to make a run for it, getting much worse over the past couple of years.  So I need new contacts, and we’ll be trying a couple of different treatment options, and my existing frames get new lenses.  There doesn’t seem to be any other degradation of my eyeballs, so other than just getting older and worser,  we seem to be in good shape.