Archive for the ‘It’s not the heat, it’s the humanity’ 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:

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.

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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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on the last post, I mentioned that today, I had a building walk-through in review for an RFP that is upcoming.  Keep in mind that I do not often respond to Requests for Proposals, which are often sent out in shotgun fashion to any architect that shows up in the first 20, or 30, or 40 Google search results.  The last couple that came in through the mojo wire I read and passed, and the last one I started considering, I abandoned when the structural engineer I called had already heard (and passed) on two other architects who had already called him.  So really, the only reason I went further on this one is that it’s in my neighborhood and Young Zombie attended a preschool that was in the building previously.  Also, it’s a progressive Episcopalian church, so I figured they wouldn’t set me on fire.

One of the things about my practice is that I get very little work from marketing kind of avenues; most of my projects come from referrals or repeat clients.  In fact, I have one client that I have designed a residence for three times (one small colonial house on the East Side, an extensive and exotic rooftop penthouse condo downtown, and a suburban estate, FWIW).

I once read that Frank Lloyd Wright sometimes said he was never the committee choice, he was usually too risky and committees are notoriously risk-averse.

So I gathered with six other groups in this complex of buildings to review the existing.  In no particular order, and with an approximate employee number:  ZDG (100); UWRS (40); Groth (30); MSI (150); PRA (75); QA (10); and me.  It is a relatively small community in the city, and I had met several of the professionals there and knew all of the companies by reputation (and interviewed at most of them at one time or another!).  And, in a turn that I fully expected, my former partner also turned up.  Am I a bad zombie for having kind of perverse satisfaction in seeing her on crutches due to a fall from her bike?

The big difference between my practice and all of theirs is that they have a marketing plan and spend some amount of money and effort on pursuing these type of cattle-call long shot proposals.  I spend my time and effort into my work and design, and my reputation is based on that, not on glad-handing.  Oh, I am perfectly congenial and can handle a professional gathering with complete equanimity, and I made small talk as appropriate and made other professional small talk during the 3 hours or so we were on site.

And I have made contact with other professionals to team up with on the project:  a structural engineer, HVAC engineer, Plumbing engineer, and Electrical engineer.  Ostensibly, the proposals are due on 9/27, which is no problem at all, at least conceptually.

But the gathering and walk through went pretty much as I expected.  The building is an older worship building, with a couple of additions and remodeling over time.  The staff involved in the building were a bit negative on it, but having been through these rodeos many times, the building’s basic elements are predominantly intact and there is nothing that amounts to a deal breaker that makes any part of the building unusable.  If anything, their biggest problem is that there is far more space than they need, and it should be reduced or sourced out to tenants.  Actually, it’s a very handsome building and I would be gratified to help the parish move into a new era and fresh life for the structure.

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But that’s really neither here nor there.  As I walked home – it was a truly gorgeous fall day in Milwaukee, and like I said I live in the neighborhood, I live 6 blocks away- I thought further about the walk-through and the other people who participated.  And I started to consider Wright’s words; what is the value of the work I will need to do to compile a responsive proposal?  When there are bigger name heavy hitters in the mix?  Does it matter that I am a neighbor?  (probably not).  By the time I got home, I was ready to skip it altogether, but there was a message from the mechanical engineer….

So here’s one where I am not hoping for help from you helpful 3 or 4 faithful readers.  Mind you, I won’t mind feedback or opinions, but you lot are an opinionated bunch of fuckers. 

Because I have decided, for any number of reasons, to follow this one through.  I’ll go against these bigger more corporate firms who have ‘name recognition’ and ‘connections’.  I won’t say ‘more established’, because one of the attendees was my former partner whose firm I was a founding partner of.  Yes, I ended that sentence with a preposition here’s your fucking refund.

But I will go in because this is a step up and forward, and I can use it.  Plus, I need these bigger firms to KNOW WHO I AM.  Last night, my concert going buddy asked me if I wasn’t well known by the quality of my work and I had to give him the knowledge that that is hardly ever considered in consideration for hiring of architects.

So I am in.  I am drafting, in my mind, the rudiments of the proposal and I am working out some ways of throwing shade in a backhanded way at the larger firms (for instance, with my ex-partner in the mix, my resume instantly changed to say I was a Founding Partner in Charge of Design at the firm she took control of).  My references will be stellar, because they are all personal and direct connections with people of high stature in the community.  My track list of similar projects will be impressive, but won’t be the most impressive; however based on the walk through, I can directly relate parts of them to portions of the building they would like to address; and a Marketing Person in one of these firms will not be able to see that.  I did that on site in one instance, asking a question of the rector about the character of window leaks because I had experienced similar problems with a steel lintel that leaked into the windows in a particular way.

I am in.  I would, indeed, like to expand my practice.  I think I have learned some good and bad things in my history, and think I could grow it better and be a much better leader and administrator going forward.  And even if that isn’t in the cards, being a believable competitor among the Big Boys of the local community will be worthwhile in itself; I have proven myself from a practical standpoint as well as having received several design awards.

I second guessed myself on this, and then reconsidered, then shot it down again and then talked myself back into it.  Yes, I have a very active internal life, and AT LEAST a dozen voices that will chime in to argue at a moment’s notice.  But, for now, I AM IN.

SHUT UP VOICE  # 5.

You guys (all 3 of you who still read this pathetic blog) may remember a couple of posts ago, I talked about my brother and his estrangement from his daughter.  I was regrettably unable to go to her wedding in Vegas, but the pictures were lovely.

Talking to her mother, she has managed to put her troubled past behind her and is now married to a guy who seems to be great, and good for her.  And more importantly. they have a GOOD DOG named Quigley!  Which is a great dog name!

Chatting with her mother, we talked about the potential for my brother to lose contact with his grandchildren.  I said that as an uncle, I would be happy too be a stand-in Grandfather.  I think I would like to be called Papaw.

 

And so as a wedding gift, I did this portrait of them with Quigmeister.  Finally, after digging out and unfreezing the doors enough to get out of the house, managed to pick it up and get it sent off.  I am a bad uncle, but it is still done and in their hands as of tomorrow.

Yes, I cut off their faces.  It’s called framing, because the important thing here is DOGGO FACE!  Also, I am not so good at faces, so I stopped before I made them look like one of my italian movies.  But I think the important thing is that my local framing shop is run by FUCKING ARTISTS, and they take a good piece of artwork and make it SPECTACULAR.

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And this is because we are pretty likely to go see Sam Llanas from this band play in a tiny music bar just across the river from our house this weekend, for 10 goddam bucks and 2 sets…..

 

Unlike my brother, I still have love for my niece and wish her all the best and will do what I can if she needs.

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Yeah, so we have Hell Fuck Eternal Cold Vortex bearing down on us.  I may be unclear on the terminology.  That’s what it feels like when you walk outside – and believe me, what Lucifer the Orange thinks when she goes out to try and squeeze out some frozen pee or some poopsicles is probably unprintable, even on this crappy blog.

And this is on top of the 12 inches of snow we got Sunday-Monday.  WHICH IS on top of the cumulative 10-12 inches that we had from the last couple of snowfucks.

So yeah:

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We stayed home on Monday, both of us “inter tube-communicated” or whatever the kids call it, and traded episodes of shoveling. in between thawing our fingers under the dog.  But even then, we resorted to hiring the roving bands of shovelers that arise during this weather to do the heavy lifting, especially where the snowplows had created White Walls at the end of the drive way (but we had to re-do it anyways, because the plows are FUCKING RELENTLESS).

Even at the end of the day on Monday, you could feel the new COLDFUCK starting to move in.  it got here today, but mostly the city had plowed and shoveled out; although I have sympathy for the people living on smaller streets who struggle with parking rules and being plowed in.

Today got all the way up to 2 fucking degrees F.  It will be 16 below tonight.  Tomorrow will get down to 20 below.  I know the TV idiots like to talk about the windchill, but fuck that.  These are the temperatures at which windchill is near-meaningless; either way, it is dangerous.  Fortunately, of course, there is a neighborhood store less than a block away that sells liquor.

I had been kind of keeping my plans open, but at this point, I doubt I will go into my office this week.  Maybe on Sunday to see how much our delivery guys delivered.

Because yeah.  USPS are suspending deliveries for most of the week.  All the schools are closed, including UW-M.  Most City and State offices have told people not to come in.  Most offices are closed, and if I had employees right now, I would tell them to stay the fuck in bed with their spouses and pets.

But, you know, we have lived through this kind of shit before.  That’s why we have brandy.  In fact, most of us save these up to tell our kids and grandkids about the Blizzard of 78 or whatever.  we may be stupid to live here, but we ain’t weak.

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[ANGRY FONT]

But here comes Cheeto Mussolini, the Bone Spur Hero, to misspelling use our Weather Emergency to flog his infantile understanding of weather.  Saying, of course, in the most ridiculously smarmy insulting way that Global Climate Change must be proven wrong by cold weather.  Of course, his tiny thumbs fucked it up and we now must all refer to it as “Global Waming”  all other references will be memory holed immediately.

Deadpool is VERY aggravated at the maligning of Wham!

AS IF he ever has had to endure harsh weather.  As if he has ever shoveled snow.  As if he has ever had the snot freeze in his nose.  As if he even gives a shit other than to ‘own the libs’ and to provide fan service to his moron base.

Of course, no end of mostly intelligent people responded on Twitler and FaceHeil to say why he is wrong, and some went at length to talk about the actual reasons why climate change causes these extreme weather events.  I look at the people who try this with a kind of sad disdain.  I mean, I know what they are trying to do, and I recognize that the spreading of knowledge like this is a good thing, but I really hope they don’t actually expect to reach the rational levels of the Orang’Hai.  Let along the Prime Oran-Orc.  I mean, it’s not as if they read, or as in A Fish Called Wanda “Yes, they do (read) they just don’t understand it”.  Or refuse to understand it, and turn back to their comforting lies from Fox, Breitbart, and Limbaugh.

As the estimable driftglass has said, these are the reprogrammable meatballs that have been bred for the last 40 fucking years to act like flying monkeys attacking whatever targets are identified by the God-fearing Rightwing Leaders and Kings and Rulers and Daddies.

But speaking as a zombie who has to live in this current manifestation of the ravages of global climate change (and shout out especially to the West Coast folk who got burnt up -ostensibly because you don’t fucking rake) this kind of condescending and politically oriented shitlord, can I just say:

 

A while back, I had a bigger office with a few employees, and there was one guy besides me who like Tom Waits.

 

It’s not Friday, but Fuck You, Donny.  When you are put into the cold, cold ground, I will post the perfectly appropriate Elvis Costello song, and yes, I will tramp that fucking dirt down.

People who’ve read this blog, may remember that I am not especially fond of ex-Governor Scott Walker, who I prefer to call Turdwaffle.  In fact, he often featured in my long-running feature, Fuck You Friday (to which we happily welcome guest-effer Congressperson Rashida Tlaib).

We often talked about his scant acquaintanceship with the truth, as well as his long running efforts to fuck over Milwaukee.

Which makes this news all the more inexplicable and enraging.

People on The Milwaukee reddit predict much food being thrown at him, and plentiful servings of Snotchos being served to him (don’t accept an offer to dine out with him).

The current County Executive, Chris Abele, has been living in a luxury condo on the same block as my office (and with a view of the Bucks Arena, which Turd-boy supported) and Abele has just bought a massive mansion on the North Shore (Narrator: Abele is independently wealthy).  Which makes me wonder if I will be seeing Turdwaffle around my neighborhood.  I cannot decide whether this makes me nauseous, blind with rage, or excited to be able to yell and spit at him in person.

It should also be pointed out that he is already starting the next fucking run at elected office.  I will point out that he fucking said, he would only run for two terms (Narrator: he lied) and that he would step down if he didn’t succeed in his promise of 250,000 new jobs in his first term (Narrator: he lied).

Why wouldn’t he take his fucking empty ball sack and enlarging Shiny Bald Spot out to Waukesha (now and forever known as That Fucking Walkersha), where they love him for the way he fucks up the minorities and supposedly makes the Libruls cry (Narrator:  He doesn’t make Liberals cry). It has already been said that the only place in Wisconsin that might provide less Turd-welcome than Milwaukee would be Madison.

I guess it makes little surprise, considering that he is angling for his next Koch-funded and Koch-directed elected position (Narrator:  he’s never held a real job), that he intends to move to the economic engine of the State, where much of the corporate power and the truly wealthy fuckers live.

I am not yet inclined to re-initialize the FYF (it was very draining to channel that much rage every week).  But it seems likely that with new Democrats running the State and House of Representatives, I would like to at least re-animate this crappy old blog.  You know, like a zombie or something.

Meanwhile, this is my farewell (and Welcome to Milwaukee) song for Turdwaffle: