Archive for the ‘Body Count’ Category

Watching the Tom Hanks movie about Mr. Rogers, but it’s not really about Mr. Rogers. There is a scene in a restaurant, where Mr. Rogers asks the reporter to sit for a full minute, and think about the people who made him what he is and got him where he is. It’s an astonishingly effective combination of remembrance, thankfulness, and meditation.

My hair is nearly long enough to require daily hair control. Wife Sublime has maintained shorter hair, so I can’t even borrow hair discipline devices.

Of course, the top ones are my mother and father. I am more like them than I want to admit, and less like them than they had hoped.

A second grade teacher, who recognized my near sightedness and got me to an eye doctor.

A first grade teacher who showed me the joy of creating art and building stuff.

My fifth grade teacher who taught us about creating characters, and inadvertently teaching about ridiculousness, when she wanted to punish one of my friends by making him stand with with his nose against the an X marked on the board, which was a full foot above his head.

My high school art teacher, who let me leave class to go buy tickets to a Styx concert only if I could correctly identify the Styx reference. I did.

My high school basketball coach, who doubled as the drafting teacher, who saw my skills and pushed me as far as his classes allowed, and when that ran out, let me bail on the class until the rest caught up. And then encouraged me to go to engineering college, and when my younger brother informed him I was changing to become an architect, he simply said “well of course”

My first college architecture professor, Jerry (later tapped to be my thesis chair) who drove me to up my game in drawing, to the point the trees I draw look to have real shadows.

My taekwondo teachers, who made my son and I both into multiple black belts, increasing our skills and coordination far beyond what is typical in our family.

More difficult, I do also have to acknowledge the man who hired me out of college. He was a virulent racist, a rampant homophobe, a ridiculous misogynist who cheated on his wife openly. And when he hired me, he expected something very different from what I though he wanted, because he was also a terrible administrator of people; to the point where after two weeks I told my wife “I think I’m going to be fired” But we got beyond that, and after a bit of workout, I became lead designer. And let me tell you, that is not something that happens to someone a month out of college. and then I designed almost everything that came out of that office, millions of dollars in construction across the country. I took advantage of his vacation to re-design the streetscaping of 11 acres of the Third Ward. We ended our association by him offering me a partnership but when I asked a former partner of his, she said, “it’s not worth it” so I bailed to start a firm with some others. But as you might see, it was a huge part of my development and I need to acknowledge that.

Is it not a given that another is Wife Sublime. One of the most intelligent and no-bullshit people I have ever known. Sometimes I reflect on that I managed her respect.

This is by no means a complete list.

There is a light in the black. Doctor Who spent several episodes working on this, and it was never properly closed.

And Monday night, the light started to break. And we started to close that crack.

I started writing this on Monday night, but frankly, the drinks won out. The sheer relief at having made it through, and watching that THING be hobble by his lack of Twitter was more than a bit schadenfreudelicious.

But not before this bit of wonderful writing came in over the transom from FB friend Peter, about…well you know:

As I think back, a few moments stand out to me. I remember in late november of 16, still shocked and depressed by the outcome, walking around the lantern festival in westchester county, trying not to be so morose as to ruin it for the kids, and mostly managing by keeping my distance. It was a crisply cold night, with clear skies, and that familiar chill coming off the Hudson. It reminded me so much of my youth in NY, and yet the feeling of catastrophe very much the opposite of the feeling of safety I associate with childhood.And in February 2017, coming back to the US from a trip to Iceland (shitty place, btw, skip it and go elsewhere) to an America already changed. Detention at the airport of muslims and trump critics. Lawyers lined up outside offering probono help to those targeted for discrimination and intimidation.Nazis in the streets murdering people – evidently such murderers are “very fine people.”Children ripped from their parents and caged like animals.People dying in federal custody simply because of neglect by those officers charged with their care.Lies innumerable. And remarkably with no accountability for broken promises. We’ve blown the two-week timeframe for the GOP health plan by many years now.A rush to execute federal prisoners lest the incoming administration not murder them.400,000 Americans dead – and counting – for no reason other than a narcissist’s inability to consider anything important that does not feed one of his appetites.And so much more.I am grateful, relieved, and exhausted that in less than 24 hours Trump will be out of office. But the damage to our country will take much more than a change of administration to repair. And I doubt I will ever feel about this country what I used to. That’s probably not a bad thing, but it is heartbreaking to realize how shallow the veneer of goodness really is when 10s of millions look at the last 4 years and say, ‘more of that, please.’

As I responded to him, my memories of that night was watching the returns become bleaker as the night went on, and I became drunker. Wife Sublime popped out of her office to go to bed, saying “how does it look” and I said glumly “it looks bad.”

And it was. And it actually became worse than we ever imagined. No one ever thought it was going to end with an attempted insurrection. By internet-fueled cosplayers. Incited by Trump, and supported by Republicans at several levels.

Tuesday morning broke, and DC was completely calm. the Inauguration came off without a hitch, and it was fucking beautiful. All the real presidents were there (except for Jimmy, and I think at this point he deserves a fucking pass) And the Prominent Women were in coordinated jewel tone coats and suits that were plain lovely.. AnThe poem by Amanda Gorman was fucking gorgeous and brilliant and fuck me she’s FUCKING ONLY 22!?!?!? and let alone the fact that we are making up for lost time with TWO white house dogs, but also a WH cat, but having fucking top shelf ART be part of it again? I plotz.

The pomp was mostly passed by (although after the fact, I saw FLOTUS gown, and it was lovely and inclusive and understated Absolutely knocked out of the park) , because our new POTUS and VPOTUS took the “Day One” normal boilerplate seriously; Biden signed 17 Executive orders (and never bothered with the conspiracy idea of the 3-fold-video display, like a first grader showing off his finger paintings.

Well, look, I am a bit giddy. Trump left in ignominy and bitterness, and facing a life of lawsuits and (more) bankruptcies. We have a new Administration, and an entire country (well, a lot of us) who are now dedicated to repairing the damage and rooting out the rot — meaning destroying the fucking Republican Party.

And. That shit ton of fucking damage It and his servile fascist party has done for four years.

as I said to a friend, it is refreshing to not wake up every morning, yelling like Dorothy Parker “What Fresh Hell is this!!!”

Also, White House Press conferences now seems a pleasure, not an exercise in terrible mendaciousness. Although I am sad we won’t have more opportunities to see Melissa McCarthy drive that motorized podium around. Maybe the new Press Sec can borrow it for a quick run.

Anyways, so as I said I am a bit giddy, and here we are Friday, and Here it is tomorrow.

The New OK

Posted: October 29, 2020 in Body Count, Fuck You Friday, Uncategorized

It is incomprehensible that Fucker is even within the last 2 minute magic of winning this shit. American white supremacism is resounding in a way nobody expected.

Well, the polls in Wisco show Biden up either by 7 or by 17 (i read a commentary by public functionaries on the red west side of the state, who had a compelling on-the-ground response of the underground rebellion against Trump and the Wisco Republicans, and how the results of hardcore Republican nuttiness is damaging their lives) . count em and deal em. Frankly, I think the polls are pushing the numbers down because they get paid by the media who live for the horse race, and also that they have adjusted their models to compensate for their perceived failures in 2016.

Meanwhile, Fucker is killing his supporters in Omaha by abandoning them on a frozen highway, in lieu of killing them by making them sick. (this is where I would post a song from Eleventh Dream Day, “Frozen Mile” but can’t find an internet version.)

Marquette, a notably reasonable polling operation with slight rightwing bias, puts Biden up by 7 in Wisconsin. Trump’s campaign, who have no more money, abandoned Wisco.

2018 was a wave middle election. This one looks like a fucking tsunami.

I know, don’t count the eggs. But at this point, Clinton only had a cumulative 2 point advantage, which did not include the suppression efforts in the rust belt. Now, we see an advantage of 7 points, and the states that were fucked with last time have gone to great lengths to avoid the bullshit suppression.

But it seems the militias and police are completely fucking ready to roll violence (augmented by completely ridiculous military ordnance they are now armed with) and the paranoid rightwing militias who are armed to kill minorities and liberals.

Trump is already whining about invalidating mail and absentee ballots. And his rigged Court is already threatening changing vote counts if they need to. Considering how competent the Biden/Harris campaign has been to now, and the access to legal brilliance in the Clinton orbit, I have to believe they expect all of it and more, and have war rooms preparing rapid response, if not preventative.

I am normally an Optimistic Zombie. for the last election, I spent a night drinking beers with a good friend and trying to talk him down. later, I apologized for being wrong. I am still optimistic zombie. I have to think this may go the way of breathers. I don’t want to have to shamble you all down and eat you.

But there does seem violence on the horizon. Many paranoid idiots with terrible impulse control, little experience, and WAY too many terribly fatal machines that they view as toys. fortunately, this seems to be the level of competence:

Well, there you go. the perfect Trump voter, One can only hope that he his his testicles. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TRE9vMBBe10

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TRE9vMBBe10

But there is this

Goodnight, Lucy. You were a Good Gurl.

When I was living in a cow-town land-grant college, there was two or three places to get connected to new music. we could drive down to Dubuque, which was questionable, or make a trip to Madison. And there was a grocery store that had a rack of albums. And one week, REM’s debut album showed up – 2 copies. I bought one. And it became an instant fixture on our house’s turntable. Dunno where the other one went. They probably sent it back as unsellable.

When I moved to Milwaukee, their second album was also instantly a given on our stereo. And was this one. REM changed the paradigm of how music was produced and distributed and who it was being distributed to. And the band didn’t care about any of that, which was part of the attraction; they made music they wanted to, and they hoped you liked it, but they didn’t care if you didn’t.

And you might be able to tell, but that is a singular common thread with the bands I love. The Mekons have NEVER cared about being popular, or doing what labels wanted. Of course, that resulted in a reaction. And they didn’t give a shit, and 40 years on, record labels have died and the Mekons continue making some of the most vital music out there.

But the problem, these days, of course, is that it is nearly impossible for bands to find avenues for getting their music out. Normally, lesser bands would rely on touring and selling merchandise at shows. But there are no shows.

There are many efforts to support venues and bands on the internet going on. But hardly enough to keep everyone alive.

Many musicians are working their asses off to make some kind of revenue stream. The Mekons are weirdly able to make this work, because they have long ago managed to cobble together a life within their varied and diverse lives scattered around the world.

But that is hardly a way of living for musicians on a typical basis. And as you might know, I am fervently in favor of supporting musicians and the venues that they typically frequent. (I supported Ramblin Deano when he had a virtual tour, which was helped by a friend of mine)

This afternoon, a couple of those socialist bastards the Mekons, Jon Langford and Sally Timms (and fellow traveler John Szymanski) did a few songs on Langford’s deck (with cameos by his kid, his wife, and their dog) and asked for money to benefit a meal distribution group, for which we raised overer $5000. The musicians just had a total party. It was awesome.,

After that, I clicked over to a live stream from Wussy playing from one of their side rooms. They were awesome, too.

Yeah, I’ve seen them.

What is completely apparent is that most musicians want, beyond anything is to contact their audience. the connection and the exchange of energy. it’s gone. yeah, let’s blame that on Trump too..

The loss of live music is killing me.

I love that many musicians are finding ways of connecting with us. It helps me keep upright and working. But I really need to get live music back before I can only see it from a chair, like Lois (from the Dennis and Lois movie)

Thank you Bob, your fire and spit and anger helps.

\

Of course, this post is not about any of those things.  It is, however, heavily involved with Robyn Hitchcock, who once used that as a title of one of his albums.  And I felt that a title that directly telegraphed the actual subject was just such a terrible giveaway.

A few years back, Uncle Robyn paid tribute to one of his musical inspirations with Robyn Sings, a cover album where he played the entire Dylan show where he went electric with the Hawks.  For the longest time, that album was the only Dylan album I had (which has since disappeared, so I am trying to figure out which blackout that was.)

Hitchcock (who is one of my favorite artists, and one of my favorite to see live – I have seen him with a band and color many many times, he likes Milwaukee and always plays his Cheese Song.

But the album Robyn Sings made me re-evaluate Bob Dylan, which then led me to the band.  And just recently, I watched the new doc “Once Were Brothers” which made me realize how intertwined The Band and Dylan were.  So then I watched The Last Waltz.  All well devoted time.

So, here’s Robyn Hitchcock, an Englishman raised on Beatles and English pop, who found himself in Dylan’s songs, and then converted them into twisted, punk-influenced neo-psychedelic classics.  And now Uncle Robyn moved to Nashville…

And meanwhile… a young musician from Oz decided that moving to Nashville was the thing that needed to be done.  while she knew almost nothing about Nashville music scene, or indeed American music in any way.  And somehow, Emma Swift met Robyn  Hitchcock and they are now a Nashville Music Couple.   And, while I have seen them play together, they got all about Bob Dylan together and in these times Emma released an 8 song homage to Dylan.  And.  Well.

This is a recent song, and if that old bastard can still write like this, I guess the argument is pretty much over.  But for me, I have pretty much listened to this song AT LEAST twice a day for the last week.

 

And if you want older crap,

 

Go to band camp and download this shit.  I order you.  Or I will eat your fucking brains.

(the guy in front is Alan Doughty, from Jesus Jones)

A recent comment thread at Lawyers, Guns and Money, reminded me of a minor episode from the past. the moment that brought this up was:

In their mind, once you’ve taken away their impunity (which they are often very happy to use against white people that piss them off too – just that white people don’t piss them off as much because they are racists),

This goes back a few years, and I may ramble.  Fair warning!

Back in the old days, I shot darts in a league (steel tip, none of this fake plastic tip bullshit) and our team was know as the one that would pay our way at the bar-sometimes the bartender would say, ‘yeah, these guys take one drink all night.  You guys, you make it work!’  and after one Dart Night, we went up to a bar near Marquette University, where we bought beers and paid for music.  However, since this was a bar that sometimes had underage drinkers, the police descended, unplugged the juke, and demanded we all get in line to exit.

Since we were all of age, we didn’t care and elected to finish our beers.  However, that did not show the proper obedience.  Some of our group managed to get out the door, but me and another friend did not, and the cop said “you didn’t get in line, so you can’t leave.”  Some of our friends were the last ones to be ‘authorized’ to leave, and one of them turned to see what was going on, and he asked the officers to be able to talk to us about where we could meet after.  The cops told him “THEY AREN’T GOING ANYWHERE, JUST GO ON” and my friend said “no, I just want to talk to them” to which the cops said “HANDCUFFS”

Here’s the hilarious part.  My friend who was cuffed is an attorney.  My missed opportunity would have been to ask the cops if I could call my attorney, and then responded by saying “Hey Pete!  I need a lawyer!” to the guy sitting 10 feet away from me.  Pete spent the episode fuming.

So, I sat there, being obnoxious white guy.  I asked the bartender for another drink.  He told me to shut up.  At this point, I had not ever done anything wrong.  Let’s emphasize that.  We were drunk, but that is still not a crime by itself.  We were drinking in a bar that sometimes had underage drinking but that is still not a crime.

So I was beg horrible and my buddy was trying to be conciliatory, and eventually took our IDs and gave them to another officer, saying, just run these, we’re OK and she snatched them and they were fucking gone.  Meanwhile, I was being obnoxious, getting snacks from the machine.  There were a few underage drinkers sitting there, watching in astonishment while I was completely refusing to acquiesce.  But we still had not broken a single law.

At this point, I watched one of the cops with a terrible toupee arguing with the cop that took our IDs, saying “What the fuck is his record!” and she responded “nothing” and then he said “DON’T GIVE A SHIT, I WANT TO BUST HIM!” and two other cops said ‘he hasn’t actually done anything” to which toupee cop said “I DON’T CARE!!”  I was not being properly subservient.  Yeah, I managed to be a white guy pissing off a white cop.  He was frothing.

Meanwhile, all the time this is happening, my friend Pete who is the attorney has been sitting on a stool on the other side of the room, furious.

Oh, this is where I will mention that Pete is Hispanic.

I was being ridiculous, but this was obviously white privilege.  I would not have been allowed even this level of insolence if I wasn’t white.

Pete was not even out of order, and in the entire episode, he was the only one in cuffs.  I was obnoxious and ridiculous and confrontational, and yet I walked.  It was obviously racist. It was, in a word, Milwaukee.

After an extended time where they were obviously deciding if we had ever done anything wrong (let’s keep in mind that at this point, all we had done is come to a bar), the one police officer came over with our IDs, and an obsequious grin, saying, you guys can go.

This is hardly comparable to the experiences of black Americans, I know.  But after seeing what we have over the past couple of weeks, this memory came back, and the obvious difference in treatment based on race became obvious.  I was a drunk, obnoxious white guy who faced no backlash; my friend, a hispanic who just wanted to double check on our status, respectfully and without being confrontational, was handcuffed.

The most hilarious thing?  We were all pretty drunk, and all they had to do was follow us to our cars for a righteous bust.  Not only imperious, but kind of stupid.

Yeah, we need a revolution in what we consider to be law enforcement in this country.

I’ll bet the Mythbusters can figure out a way to melt the tanks and war pieces in our police ‘forces’

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):

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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.