Archive for the ‘Body Count’ Category

I’ve never made a secret of my long experience with these three Canuckistanoids. I first saw them when in high school, at the Madison Coliseum, known derogatorily as The Clamshell, obviously:

This was the Permanent Waves tour, and opening was either Rory Erickson or Max Webster — this was still when they had opening acts. And they were still allowed to use lasers! It was overwhelming, and my Permanent Waves t-shirt was worn to pieces. And this was before I even knew much at all of the band or their music. Well, I caught up, pretty damn quickly…

Then I went away to cowtown land-grant college, and I became known as a Punk, because I was into the Cars and Elvis Costello and the Clash. But I met a girl. And I saw that Rush was playing their new tour, Signals, in Madison, so asked The Girl. Not realizing at that point that she had never seen a for-real big time rock show. It was at that same damn clamshell (incidentally, I also saw ZZTop there). /

As ever with Rush, the show was overwhelming. Outside of the opening act, Rush played for maybe 100 or 120 minutes. As opposed to tonight, where Concert Buddy and I sat in comfortable theater seats for 2 1/2 hours, back then we were young and could stand for the entire show. And after the show, we had an 85 minute drive back to campus, and The Girl was kind of quiet. I worried that I had miscalculated, and she was not into the rock show. I was worried. But I felt a bit better when The Girl was wearing the Signals t-shirt I bought for her the next day. Maybe it was OK….

Not long after, these Iron Rockers released Moving Pictures, which changed their careers in so many ways, and changed rock music too, showing how new wave and punk aesthetic could be integrated into complex prog music without losing the edge OR the melodicism. I was on a dorm floor at the time, and one of my neighbors borrowed the album almost as soon as I bought it, and he didn’t give it back until the end of the semester and it was a wreck when he gave it back.

But it was OK. Because when I approached The Girl, and asked her if she still wanted to go to That Damn Clamshell again to see the Moving Pictures Tour, she said OK. Maybe not as enthusiastically as I would have liked. I took it. We went.

And it was next-level over the top; Rush was escalating their skills and their showmanship to an unparalleled level. And I was coming off seeing Genesis on the abacab tour, but this was next level. This band was rapidly becoming one of my favorites, even while in most other music I was going deep into punk, new wave and avant grade.

During the drive back from the Damn Clamshell, we talked and the Girl admitted that after that first show, she had been simply overwhelmed. The onslaught of massed humanity (she was from a farming community and had never seen that number of people in one place) not to mention the onslaught of sound and lights had kind of tripped all her circuit breakers. She dealt with the Moving Pictures tour better, having a better idea of what to expect.

So after all was done and said, The Girl became my wife. She’s normally very smart, I figure those concerts bent her brain. Incidentally she wore that Signals t-shirt until it was threadbare.

Maybe some of you three people who still read this tripe may not know, but then there was a time when Neil Peart’s daughter and his wife died in rapid succession. So what he did was the only thing he could think to do; he withdrew (I relate) and he climbed on his motorcycle and went on what the Aussies would call a walkabout. He did, at least, promise his bandmates to stay in touch. His travels and how he worked through his emotions are written out in the book Ghost Rider. His bandmates were both agreed: if and when he is ever ready to come back, we will be here. but if not they were willing to say it was a good run, and no one could argue it, And after he drove over all of North and South America, he came back, he found a new life, and they did decide to try again.

And holy shit, did they ever, with the amazing album Vapor Trails. The cover is of a fireball, which is appropriate, because the album is fiery and vital, a band who is exulting in still being together and alive as they can be, and it’s no accident that the mascot on the tour was a fire breathing dragon.

We were close enough that when they blew those flame pots, we felt the heat.  And we also felt the heat of a reinvigorated band, who were completely committed to playing this way again.  The seemed unstoppable, they played for three hours.  It was amazing, especially considering that Neil Perat recovered from such terrible personal loss to come back to the group.  It was everything I ever wanted from this band.

Their next tour, the retrospective R30 tour, we took our son to it,, great seats, but this was when they were doing 2 set show, and son got a bit bored.  I don’t think he knew what he was looking at. We also took him to lots of theater and other stuff.  One just hopes some of it kind of germinated.

One of the things i have to respect of the band is that they will not do the same thing over and over.  Their final album, Clockwork Angels, was a full-on science fiction concept album that Peart co-authored and accompanying book, and the stage show was so over the top it was almost silly.  They also, for the first time, included other musicians on stage, a specially formed string ensemble that played in front of the flamepots.  The only thing missing was an 18 inch tall Stonehenge prop.

I learned later that Peart was suffering from increasing difficulties in his physical abilities. And also, that Alex Lifeson had some forms of arthritis looming over him (brothers, my tribe!). But they were able to afford physical therapy, and Neil had a designated guide and PT that rode along with him on motorcycles as they traveled. So fortunate that they had been so financially successful to tour the way they did, with the shows they did (although thanks to Genesis for paying for development of this swivel spotlights!) and who could fucking begrudge them? The killed themselves and built their fanbase from Cleveland to the world.

So we saw this band, the Rush Tribute Project. Because, Neil Peart has tragically passed, and the others have expressed that they have less than zero interest in revisiting the old days, and are aged in their own right and dammit, do they not deserve to rest on their laurels? I believe they do.

But this band is a heart favorite of mine, like Genesis, and I have spent much time seeing a Genesis tribute band called the Musical box, and like with Rush, the music they are playing will never be played by the creators ever again. We find there are people who are completely devoted to this music as we are, and they played it in an amazing hard heart show, for 150 minutes.

No, they weren’t Rush. And nothing will ever, for me, equal the show when Peart came back on the Vapor Trails tour which was completely explosive. A discussion on BookHell was about the Tribute band will never be as good. But brother, that is not the point.Theatrical groups do not bring Shakespeare back from the dead. The point is the creation that we can again see. And I admit that at least 5 times during the show, I was crying in joy. So yea, maybe Rush would have been better, but they aren’t touring and I could never afford tenth row seats if they did.

But sisters and capybaras, this still felt fucking good.

River Called Disaster

Posted: September 11, 2021 in Body Count, Shovels

I saw Trapper Schoepp the first time without warning, when he was working as Trapper Schoepp and the Shades on an afternoon with absolutely no plans, early in the day and I was just wandering around Summerfest to see what I could see. They fucking blew me away, and I have been a ridiculous fan ever since, and they released ever better albums, including co-writing a sing with FUCKING BOB DYLAN.

OK, I figured it out, and we now have a completely cute and local oriented video from Trapper. Including many cameos from people you might know, and some great locations.

An earlier video is also Very Local, in that it was shot on location in my neighborhood, and a Certain Celebrity is featured, but let’s just say it’s all about Jumping to Conclusions.

Tr

Trapper lived not so far from me, on the East Side of Milwaukee. and the video above was recorded probably a block away from my house.

But I am not here to talk about a band.

What (need to talk about is noise. Noise, and joy, and community, and connections.

We lost our lives back in 2020, after I had seen a great show at a local cafe, with Jon Langford, John Szymanski, Sally Timms and Bethany Newsome, who ripped the head off my concert buddy Rory who has traveled the country seeing blues artists. And then the next weekend we saw They Might Be Giants for like the 6th time.

And then everything went black.

So I will soldier on. As I have for the past 16 months.

Summerfest was canceled. Since we moved to Milwaukee, Summerfest has been an annual target, and since becoming fully employed, we have made it a center of our summer. And suddenly it’s canceled. For many years, I have attended every day, culminating iat one point in 50 consecutive Fest days. But this isn’t happening, obviously….

We broke the seal with a show by the Mountain Goats last week and the band felt the need to get it out as did we and they played for over 2 hours. John Darnielle seemed joyous to be in the Pabst theater.

So, after a couple of health issues, I am approaching Summerfest that is more accommodating and based n the schedule, I am, for the first time in years, am not attending the first day. The legend is fading.

The schedule is kind of legendary. The biggest headliners I looked at was Weezer and Green Day, which I passed on because the tickets were more costly than I paid for Springsteen, so I felt like Maybe, no. But we have tickets for Soul Asylum, Joan Jett and GooGoo Dolls.. But the biggest headliner is, amazingly, Dave Chappelle.

The whole thing also includes Poi Dog Pondering, Drive By Truckers, Berlin, Better than Ezra, Sigmund Snopek, The Whiskeybelles, Toad the Wet Sprocket, Filter the Gufs, Living Colour, Fishbone, Dropkick Murphys, and Thurston Moore. All on a lovely 11 acre state park on the shores of a beautiful inland sea.

It will be noisy, and the Fest has established that attendees need to prove vaccination. — in the face of Delta, it’s not a full protection but at least it makes sure that as attendees, we will not be hospitalized.

But let’s be real. I have been all about music of all kinds since high school, and when I moved to Milwaukee find that there were people just as involved as me and they played in bands – I once had a friend who put in my hand a cassette from someone called Couch Potatoes, and but the time I got to Milwaukee the had to change their name to Couch Flambeau, and they became legendary because the punks hated them and the metalheads hated them and they were ridiculously loud at Gordon Park Pub. It was ugly and loud and glorious. And I then which incorporated one of their songs into my architectural model building classes which made my teacher laugh and give me an A. Not sure whether he knew the band or just like the humor.

Ever since then, I have been a live music insane addict. I have seen almost anyone you can name, most of them more than once. I have seen large names like Rush maybe six times. I have seen Genesis 4 times. I saw Cloud Cult in a crazy small club and they reconfigured my brain.

But here’s the thing.

Music in most forms, hit my brain

And music in live format, makes my brain reformat.. When I see and watch live music – and for that matter live theater– it makes all my brain feel all the feels

I cried more than once during the Mountain Goats show.

we danced and me danced our dance our selves.

And we will dance on the shores of the Mighty Lake Michigan, and then we will be dancing in Turkey, and we will dance and enjoy insane food and coffee.

And if I ever figure out how WordPress works, I will make more entertaining posts.

I promise.

Unless I end up in the hospital again.

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: