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

That quote, of course, is from the estimable Big Bad Bald Bastard, Fellow hardcore libtard and martial artist, in the long-ago time when we all bloggered.

Wife Sublime likes to travel, and coordinates with the basic school schedule; before, because of Young Zombie and now because she is working on here second Master’s degree.  YZ has shambled off on his own,  which frees us up to go places with better food and wider range of experiences.  but this fall, we went to…of all places… Nashville.  I KNOW!  And we did a day trip to Huntsville.  I KNOW!

So what I learned about Nashville is that this is, essentially, where the music industry discovered how to be an industry, based on the radio broadcasts of country music and what became the Grand Ole Opry.  This is where the pattern of sucking talent in, churning it in, making them play the songs selected by the labels, and doing it over and over again, became the pattern.  Sun Records; Sam Phillips took in people like Elvis, Cash, Roy Orbison and figured out where there talents were best focused;  This became what is known as A&R.  Then these folk went to Nashville and cranked out hits on an assembly line at RCA Studio B.

IMG_2450

Yeah, that’s me at Elvis’ favorite Steinway in the studio.  I used to be able to play a ninth interval cuz HUGE hands, but I broke my little finger shoveling snow and now I suck.

 

But here’s the thing.  There have been so many people for so long, coming to Nashville, and not just for country music, that this is a place that revolves around music, that exists for and because of music.  Jimi Hendrix said that he learned how to really play guitar in Nashville, and the Musician’s Hall of Fame had video of him playing in a standard R&B band, but you could see him starting to play.

We spent over two hours in the Cash Museum, which is small, but man how many times can you watch him sing Hurt?  Well, for me, I can always watch Johnny sing Hurt.  Trent Reznor admits that that is no longer his song.  I got a t-shirt which I will likely wear to bed until it falls apart, and a magnetic “Million Dollar Quartet” bottle opener on our fridge.

We have visited many places, and even New Orleans and Ireland did not have the high music content that we did in Nashville.  One of my sisters-in-law said she was surprised to hear country music at the party, and the thing is; much of  the music I love is at least country-adjacent, if not proper country.  Listen to Robbie Fulks and tell me that’s not country, and we have tickets for him later in fall.

We went to the country Music Hall Of Fame, of course.  Also the Musicians Hall of Fame, which is WAY less country oriented.  And a fair number of the service people we met, they were in punk or noise or other kind of bands. Everyone we met, they were musicians….

Based on recommendations of our friends, we went to a place called the Station Inn.  It is noted as the local musicians’ place to see other musicians, and once was a hangout for Bob Monroe.  We saw Jon Byrd, and he admitted that he learned everything he knew about playing guitar and writing songs in Nashville;  because there is no choice and the competition is fierce and stupendous.  And, of course, he was one of the best shows I have ever paid 12 bucks for.

Because we know history is history, we knew we needed to see a show at the Ryman Auditorium, the original location of the Grand Ole Opry (you go see a show at the overdone theme park version, there is a circle of contrast wood that was stolen from the Ryman when they figured it was going to be torn down).  Our choice was fish, as Rollins once said, so we went to see Lucero with Langhorne Slim opening up.  It was good and for my part, I felt the resonance of the structure with the spirits of the past.  They rocked kind of hard, and I felt the ghosts resonate with us….

 

But look at this; we had bunches of music in various forms, and while most were country, not all of them were.  And being a music fed zombie, I took them all; in the museums, I saw guitars that were worn and played and part of the continuum.  They all still vibrated with the energy of their players, fuck me if they didn’t.  walking through the Musicians Hall of Fame was thick with remembrance….

And so there you have it it, we spent no end of time in country music bullshit one thing or another.  Including  RCA Studio B, which was instrumental in making artists…. but even with that , the musicians in the city still work their asses off to get to one or the other levels.  Everyone in this goddam city plays or sings, and they all are working to be better or get another opening or chance….

And that, fellows and guinea pigs, is what I always say and shout out to you on an unrelenting basis.  There is an unrelenting amount of music being produced by amazing bands at any different directions you ever have seen.

At the end of the day, and tomorrow too.  There is a place for music.

But I bleed music.  And I discovered that there is a City that, while they may not bleed music when cut, they certainly ooze  music when squeezed.

And damnitall, and against all odds, I felt at home there……..

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Before I even start to talk about my Further Adventures In Modern Medicine, I think I need to be forthcoming about a more important thing.

We went to Italy.  Kind of a thing for architects.  They got a few buildings, you know.

We did go on a tour, but based on our trip to Ireland, this group does a helluva job, and we spent WAY less time in lines to see things like David and the Coliseum than if we had wandered in on our own.  Downside?  the bus environment allowed me to get a chest cold, but it didn’t take hold until we were home.

We started in Venice ,and we did not, perhaps, experience it to it’s full as it was snowing.  Fuck.  We did at least see the Doge’s Palace and Piazza San Marco, which were as spectacular as I had been led to believe.  Also, got to have a chilly gondola ride, with musicians.  Best time, was we went to a random nearby restaurant, met a fellow American on an adjacent table, and spent like 3 hours talking to her about all the things we had in common.

We moved on, and hit Florence, or as they say Firenze.  I very nearly bought a 700 euro leather jacket that looked great, even on me, and settled on gloves and a belt.  I saw several cathedrals that I studied in college, and much of the medieval architecture started to come back to me, even as I tried to ignore it back then.

Most importantly, however, was that our guide at one point said that they had an ongoing cleaning program on the cathedrals that consisted of sandblasting the marble.  When I pointed out that sandblasting was destructive, he admitted that they just replaced the marble.  I was seriously appalled.  As a professional that works diligently to preserve buildings, especially exterior materials, to have such a cavalier approach presented so casually was kind of a punch in the gut, and these were not even the buildings that I cared about all that much. Here’s what it looks like when you sandblast marble:

Yeah, that’s what it looks like when you sandblast ANYTHING. Sandblasting buildings is something that responsible people just don’t do anymore, and finding that people do it to significant monuments just…kind of hurt.

Rome is amazing.  A contemporary city, fetid and squirming around the history of epochs.  My first thing to say, is that walking into the Colosseum, is that it is completely recognizable as an arena  that are being built right now.  Also, if you want a building to last for centuries, then overbuild it by a factor of like 12.

We also went to Pompeii.  They liked fucking, apparently.  Not like us.

I had many great servings of carbonara.

The colors got to me.  It is obvious that there is a Color Police, they are inside of my head, but they are great colors. They, and a couple of other things, helped me to resolve a couple of design issues on a project I am currently working on.  In particular, this:

these are called rafter tails, and my own house has them all the way around.  I like to use a simplified version on my projects and DAMN but carpenters whine about doing it.  Photos like this will be my excuse for saying “these hard-asses did this with hand tools.  How good are you?”

We spent much time doing great stuff.  We went through the Vatican as they were preparing for Holy Week, which involved armed guards.  I internally laughed, as I thought even Holy Poppa does not trust in Gawd’s protections….

but but but , I still absorbed a lot, a a country (and one that is younger than the building my office is in) and liked everything, everything, everything….because experience makes my thing wiggle, as they say.

And at the end of they day, it still comes back to the fact that while nobody in Pompeii ever though to name streets, they still resorted to street signs:

it points to porn district.  Humanity never changes.

 

ETA.  Nobody asked, but here is the design model for the rooftop deck that I resolved using inspiration from the trip:

Went to see some bands tonight, Something to Do and The english Beat.  S2D had a new single to play, dedicated it quit appropriately to the ladies;

We’ve been huge fans of these guys for years, and they are criminally un-appreciated.  But opening for the Beat must have been a thrill.

With regards to the show, I am gonna resurrect a post from the old blooger bloggo from the time I saw them – at a very lowish time  for me.

Searching For A Former Clarity
Mirror in the bathroom
Recompense
For all my crimes
of self defense.
Cures you whisper
make no sense
trajectory into
mental illness.

Sometimes you can recognize meaningful change through small details.
My office is downtown, located shouting distance from several entertainment venues including the huge Bradley Center and more intimate places like the PAC and Turner Hall. So it’s not unusual to see touring buses and trucks driving around or parking.
Sunday was a work day, as was Saturday. By midafternoon, while taking a short break to just gaze out the window, I watched a pair of generic touring buses pull into designated spaces alongside the street. In ones and twos, the occupants stepped off, stretching and looking around, and then each one of them did the same thing: pulled out their cell phone to take advantage of the signal and call – friends, family, some kind of home base. Modern technology has helped to soften the disorientation of touring, letting the crew and artists maintain connections and some level of sanity.
In this case, it was
The English Beat and their techs, here to play Turner and we were going to see them later that night. I turned back to the desk; I had to finish what I had in front of me in order to make the show on time.
buy a beach before next summer?
how do you feel in the morning?
if the light’s an awful bother
i could always close the curtains.
just close your eyes and count to ten
see if you still remember when
your life seemed easy, you had friends
but that was different than that was then
you’re drowning, you’re drowning

In 1980 I made my first presidential vote against a candidate, and then watched dumbfounded as America elected a suit that went on to stumble and lie his way through 8 years of deceit and corporate malfeasance. Against this backdrop, punk music was going through a mainstreaming into New Wave, wrapping the energy into a more commercial package; but the music industry had nearly dozed into irrelevance, and the DIY aesthetic released a restless generation of kids, seemingly thousands of new bands exploding into clubs and bars every month.
The English Beat rode this wave, but had a bit different agenda. Wrapping a positivist and multi racial message in propulsive danceable songs built on Jamaican ska and accelerated into a new decade, they were lumped in with the ‘Two-Tone” movement. Their first album was a relentless ska dance party, and many of my friends played it incessantly; but my real introduction was Special Beat Service, their third album, a much more pop-oriented album that Also served as their swan song. They disintegrated into
Fine Young Cannibals and General Public.
No it’s not a joke it’s cards on the table time
Yes I could have phoned
I could have spoke
But how to break the news without beaking your heart
Being dead don’t hurt,
No only dieing
Cards on the table time,
Sometimes it’s right to say goodnight.

But the band wore their hearts on their sleeve, and the combination of Ranking Roger and Dave Wakeling on vocals, as well as the multiracial makeup of the band and their fans demonstrated that tolerance and unity not only worked, but you could dance to it.
The warmongering of the Right was decried in their actions and lyrics, one of the few New Wave bands that maintained the political outspokenness of the punk bands, without apology.
you tell me how can it work in this all white law
want a short sharp lesson,
want a third world war
i sometimes wonder if i’ll ever get the chance
just to sit with my children in a holiday jam
our lives seem petty in your gold grey hands
would you give a second thought
would you ever give a damn, i doubt it
stand down Margaret

we played that 3rd album nearly nonstop. During the early days of MTV, “Save It For Later” was a (short-lived) staple and we danced to the TV like kids in earlier days had danced to American Bandstand. Inevitably on Mondays, as we cleaned up the debris from the weekend, shelving one or two Beat albums was part of the process.
They never made it to Milwaukee, although Wisconsin appeared in their lyrics. Local bands covered Beat songs, and we made do.
And, as inevitably happens, we all got older….and lives shifted, as they will.
buy a beach before next summer?
how do you feel in the morning?
if the light’s an awful bother
i could always close the curtains.
just close your eyes and count to ten
see if you still remember when
your life seemed easy, you had friends
but that was different than that was then
you’re drowning, you’re drowning

I guess a few people noticed that I’ve been kind of AWOL of late, closing the old bloggo and generally making myself scarce. [Incidentally, I’d like to extend thanks to the folks who chased me down anyways. It’s weird, and a bit moving, to have someone you’ve never met express concern.]
One morning I looked at the New Post button, and realized I just didn’t have the energy, inclination, or temperament to throw anything out there; moreover, I dreaded the commenting if I just left a post without anything for some time. Commenting anywhere, in fact, seemed like more than a chore; with the prevailing mood, the likelihood of saying something appalling seemed like a near-certainty. In the end, I had no tolerance or patience, and the Internet is not kind to those without tolerance or patience.

So I pulled the plug and tried to concentrate on MeatSpace.

Strength is not the same as anger
Put the taste back into hunger
Searching the box?,
looking for what?
Pushing the gear back into top?
Put the first back into class
Lose your bottle break the glass
You’ll wind up high and dry with just this slow cold comfort.
For several weeks now, the Real World has been coming down like rain; like shit from an incontinent Moose (doncha love my Way with Words?). Professional life has rubbed me raw; old clients have refused to pay, new clients have refused to agree to reasonable fees and existing clients have been demanding full time attention far in excess of contractual and reasonable standards.
Rotating head, keeps on the right side
Colied up and tense remains on the lookout
Expects to be shot or get given the bullet.
Rotating head tries to look on the bright side of things.
For a normal business owner, or even at normal times, a bit of extra work doesn’t come as a surprise and can even be energizing. But the demands in construction season are critical and time intensive; construction schedules hinge upon the work and millions of dollars hang in the balance. Simple mistakes cost tens of thousands of dollars and Owners demand that culpability be assessed and compensated; one particular recent project is costing me a minimum of five figures, and that’s just my liability deductible. Larger firms carry errors and Omissions insurance in hundreds of million-dollar amounts, and one of the bigger firms in town may have $1,000,000 in claims in a given year.
Against this backdrop, we try to run a business, make a living, and maybe – just once in a while- achieve …. well, maybe not Art, but aesthetic satisfaction? Too much to ask?


Sugar ‘n’ stress,
Do everything at least twice
Catch your fingers in your private vices
Sugar ‘n’ stress
With a heart like ice
Hope heaven comes in a number of sizes.
In the middle of this, a Construction Inspector decides that I’m incompetent, and immediately sets out to disrupt my projects to the greatest extent possible to prove that I’ve screwed something up. Clients have no way of discerning whether his allegations have any validity, and meanwhile construction schedules are disrupted by Mr. Bureaucracy; everyone’s looking at me to resolve this and get things back on schedule, without affecting the budget, while my new friend smirks.
When two swords slashing at each other
Only sharpen one another
And in the long run even he’s your brudda’
Even though that kid’s a nazi

Of course, the internal flow of my office is further disrupted by the demands on my time. As we try to complete projects on time and keep the cash flow alive, I have little or no time to direct my younger associates or check their work. Inferior or inaccurate work is released into the real world, with predictable results; further confusion and errors in construction, needing more and more effort on my part ot keep things righted. It’s all supremely frustrating, and of course it bleeds over into the personal life; I had no time for family, friends, or exercising.
And perhaps inevitably, it seemed like I was losing my ability to cope.
one in thirty five is saying sorry through a bottle
say it’s your job to scrape a living up, that’s all it does
well think it back over it, hurts twice as much as living
itchy finger, finger, trigger, trigger
faster faster faster faster

I couldn’t even bring myself to care much about politics, during one of the most intriguing elections I’ve ever seen, and one of the most crucial. Not to mention one of the few that it seemed the Democrats couldn’t screw up.
Just like in the 80’s, we have been living through a greedy, self-centered Administration that is hostile to anybody without a lobbyist or a trust fund. The only foreign policy we seem to have is one of submission to American Empire, and the tragedy of September 11th distressingly gave the political powers the strength and support to force many of their priorities into reality. Wealthy Americans and corporations reaped profits and tax breaks unseen since the advent of the twentieth century, while the economy was starved and wages stagnated.


These thought are so unfair
“If somethings there then it’s worth taking.”
We know where our hearts are-right behind our wallets,
Yes and that’s where they’re staying
Grow up together but we grow apart
Always climbing up is our downfall.
A change of blood or a change of heart?
Another change of address will do no good.
Neo-conservative idealogues destabilized the Middle East through fear-mongering and deceit. Ronald Reagan was deified, and the new Presidnet lied to an extent that was inconceivable twenty years previously. Dissent was demonized as treason, as were liberals. Political dialogue narrowed and veered sharply rightward; torture became codified and sanctioned as offical American policy, while widespread surveillance of Americans got authorized at the highest levels in admitted violation of American laws in place since Watergate.
Hatred and bigotry are enshrined permanently into Republican policy, more explicit than anytime during my life.  The Southern Strategy writ large and driving nearly everything they do.  Fear of others – different races, gays, Muslims-  is the wedge they use to divide America into segments that they can dominate, while religious intolerance becomes the norm.  Civil rights are becoming eroded, while autocratic powermongers dice and degrade the Bill of Rights and the Constitution.
our correspondent made to wait in the lobby
torn to pieces by three have a go bobbies
young swimmers in these sun dialling times
sweeping the nation with a dance called the breadline
it’s in our water, and our education
we are oppressed into association
cheated cheated
it’s a joke, but it’s not that funny
cheated cheated
change the truth until it’s worth
money
All of it has seemed like it didn’t even matter to me anymore. The abandonment of my practice appeared a reasonable response, even as the construction industry lurched into one of the worst years in decades and subseqent employment seemed like a long shot, attractive as it would be to just cash a paycheck again.
there’s a training camp when
you come from from saving nations
get a new job and a new leg
social rehabilitation
every time you thing of leaving
you get caught between the lines
it’s the training for the funfair
you get taken for a ride
you!
just get-a-job, get-a-job

Finally though, we made it to Turner Hall that Sunday night. Several friends were due to show up to, and I confess that I was pretty eager to see some friendly faces.

Naturally, most of them didn’t show.
Sooner or later your legs give way, you hit the ground
Save it for later, don’t run away and let me down.
Sooner or later you’ll hit the deck you’ll get found out
Save it for later don’t runaway and let me down, you let me down.

The Beat opened with a measured version of Whine and Grine/Stand Down Margaret, one of the classics from their debut. Dave Wakeling is the Sole Surviving member of the band and it was quickly apparent that the new (still multi-racial, of course) band was smoother and more skilled than the Beat was during their active years, adding a layer of American soul to the ska underpinnings. I sipped my beer, and looked forward to hearing some new twists on some old songs.
Until, that is, they played their second song.
So cross your fingers say you’re on high
Pretend you’re in den and see what life brings.
But always taking things as they come
Tends to make you forget to put anything in.
The longer you dwell the more it’s like hell
You sit by the well just making a wish.
To make it plain I’ll say it again
We’re all the same
It’s only a game.
With no interval between songs, they launched into “I Confess” the opening song from that album we loved so much. No new twists on this one, the piano charged directly into a straight-up version.
And much to my surprise, I discovered myself tearing up. Okay, hell, not tearing up; call it weeping.
the little you can expect to get
to get from anyone else
makes you look after number one
the only helping hand
you’ll ever be offered
is the one at the end of your own arm
draw in like a breath
it goes tight like a wire
you’re trying to shout
but your lungs are on fire
The memories of the feelings from all those years ago kept running through my mind. Every next song brought back the feelings of youth; idealism, energy. I remembered those years of dawning political awareness and maturing emotional outlook; I recalled the vibrancy of everyday life when another new day was a gift and nothing stopped us from reaching out to each other.
What then?
Do it right, do it now!
Here there, everywhere
Shouting out “I’m mad as hell”
He pushes his legs against the bed
And feels the triumph flooding through his head
He could conquer,
He could win,
Now that dying only means you’re not in next week’s programme
Stop being a baby
I would have expected a much noisier show to be responsible for….well, readjusting some internal relief valves, I guess. By the end of the night, we were dancing to the English Beat again, and the band was as good as anyone could have asked. Going to sleep that night, tired and sweaty and a mild ringing in the ears as “Save It For Later” played me to sleep on the iPod, I felt…. like I had some measure of control, again.
The next morning promised to be just as difficult as any preceding. But it seemed at least manageable, somehow.

And…. the past still keeps bumping into my consciousness. The potential of young years, and thinking there may have been something I missed.
I know I’m being overly dramatic here, and it can probably be dismissed as the onset of mid-life crisis; but when it’s quiet, I wonder if, all those years ago, I made the best decision when I sold my guitar to make my tuition payment.
Someone just smiled for no special reason,
It looks liken the smile’s come back into season
It’s so easy.
It doesn’t have to be a nice day,
Just the only one you’ve got
And it’s coming ready or not!

It’s very affecting to read those words from nearly a decade ago.  Although I can be grateful that things have changed since then, this post makes it so, so easy to re-live those feelings, that desperation.  And in some ways, the hands have just gone around again:  like the 80s, we watched a debacle of an election install a goon, a child, supported by idiots, fascists and staffed with greed heads and warmongers; while the meager economic improvements managed by That Black Man are being rolled back and a new massive recession is engineered; we watch actual Nazis marching in our country and being supported by political actors; while the rightwing insists that pedophiles and criminals should be elevated to high office, and immigrants of good will and good hearts are criminalized and sent back to war zones.

And against the horror and tragedy of that backdrop, these bands blew the shit out of Turner Hall, again Commanding us To Dance, and that the new dance, the Tolerance, can be our Soul Salvation.  And regardless of the foregoing, we see a continuing expansion of acceptance of gender and orientation diversity, a remarkable surge in women Not Taking This Shit From Anyone, anymore, and running for office.  Against this, the retrograde right wing and fascist whites are kicking, but like a chicken fresh from the chopping block, they are merely not recognizing that their time is done.  Yes, they are able to spray blood around before they lie quietly, and we have to be on our guard for fuckery at any level.  But they know; they know.  Even after managing to use every last ounce of influence to take over the government, they can’t get anything done, and they realize, it deep down.  It’s why they keep buying guns, shooting up schools, listening to Alex Jones and shooting themselves in rockets to prove that the Earth  is flat.

Yes, BBBB, I am bleeding music yet again.  Still.  Yet.  I am still not dead, and I’v been as close as dammit.  But this is the music I like, and it still speaks to me, even if it qualifies for oldies status.  And so:

Saw X last night, with original Guitarist Billy Zoom.  I think this was a kind gesture from the rest of the band, since he is recovering from cancer.  Yes, he spent most of it on a stool, but he spent the time playing Punkabilly riffs with never looking at the fretboard, like Buck Dharma.

X  is like the punk Black Sabbath.  The first four albums are FLAWLESS.  I didn’t get into them until Under The Big Black Sun, but holy hell did that burn holes into my psyche, and the songs that dealt with the death of Exene’s sister managed a way of being sad and screaming into the void that I have always loved about my all my favorite music.

But that’s not what I’m here to talk about .  Here to talk about the draft.  Wait a minute.  Let me back up.  Get a new drink.

I’m here to talk about Republicans.  Conservatives.  Bigots.  Tea Party.

Mikey and I had much of this discussion on a prior post.  But I want to kind of go on to enumerate things that I see on the Uncle Liberty and Wingnut Facebook network.

  • Hillary is a liar.
  • Hillary is a criminal
  • Hillary is a murderer.
  • The Democrats will ALWAYS steal an election
  • Al Gore is fat
  • Hillary has brain damage.
  • Hillary has bad personal style.

At this point, I will not bother with the Benghazi benghazi BENGHAZI! bullshit or the email fucking beating of a fucking dead horse.

Seriously, I have to laugh at the conservatives I see.  The only thing they have is to be able to use photo memes that solely reinforce the above list with no actual links or references.  In fact, on FB I recently saw one of them hijack a quote from Andy fucking Borowitz, swapping out “Trump” for “Hillary” like that somehow proved something….

Which is the funny thing I find about the Republicans respond when you respond with actual facts and links; without fail they do one or both of these: tell you that mainstream media links are not worth considering, and then going into a Gish Gallop.

Here is the reality:

Hilary Clinton has spent her entire life trying to help other people.

She spent much of her early life going into poor and minority neighborhoods, finding out what the worst things were, and directly attacking those problems. With much success.  Doing it in a very direct, face-to-face way that made many black people lover her and her work

And she did that as the wife of a Governor.  Continuing to go out and doing the fucking hard work of hitting the bricks and finding out what the problems are, and meeting the people who had those problems. And making helping those people one of the most important things ever.

As a daughter of privilege, she bought into the hippie idea that we have to help the lowest FIRST, and she did that with everything she did ever after.  She started her life by declining a law career in favor of helping the poor and children who needed health care and education.  A white girl going into poor African American communities.  And the Republicans say she doesn’t care about black people….

She tried to help America with doing something better with health care (HOW EVILE)  and when that crashed, she pivoted and started working directly to create SCHIP, which put millions of kids under health care.  Of course, the Republicans have opposed that….

hmpf.  I once thought I would go through all the stupid bullshit.  But you know, it is all more than obvious, so fuck that.

Here’s the summary:

  • Hillary is not the antichrist
  • Hillary is not the devil
  • Hillary is not a lesbian
  • Hillary never murdered, or ordered the murder, of anyone.
  • Hillary, at 68, has no more health concerns than 70 year old man. Maybe fewer; most women are better at managing their health than men….
  • If you think Hillary having problems in heels, going up stairs, then let’s see Trump doing the same thing….
  • Election Fraud is non-existent.
  • Election Fraud is a fake reason to allow for voter restriction.
  • Hair and personal style is only allowed as a criticism against women, never men.
  • I kinda love the idea that they have resurrected the Clinton Kill list.
  • The Clinton Foundation is as scrutinized and high profile a charitable foundation as ever created.  They return 88 cents on the dollar to actually helping people around the world, Bill and Hillary take no salaries, and both of them are revered around the planet for the good they have done.

I remember back eight years, when SO MANY people told us how voting for a Democrat, was going to be horrible terrible and so horrible and this was horrible. It ws going to result in wars, death and devastation, the destruction of the economy and the takeover of America with sharia law or some damn thing like that.  No, it never made any sense but then paranoid racist fantasies never do.

None of that happened.  Not a single thing.

Obama managed the most significant progressive legislation in many years.  He salvaged the economy. Record advancements in LGBT rights.  the Iran Deal.  making Republicans shit-eating crazy….

As OBS says, this election is going to set some very bad precedents; it already has.  Releasing tax returns is now a thing of the past.  Treating opponents with respect is now abandoned in favor of infantile insults and grade school nicknames (which do, I admit, seem to be effective at least on one side of the spectrum). Dick sizes have been measured in a televised Presidential debate.  I am sure we will see many more accepted norms be blown up in a spray of orange cheeto dust and flash of flammable hairspray.

But you know what?  After watching Clinton in the 2008 primary, and her ability to put it behind her to become SoS, and watching her deftly handle a serious challenge from Sanders…not to mention the decades of scurrilous, sexist, rightwing whack job hit pieces on her and her family – and she is still perfectly poised and never actually losing her shit at any point of the way.  The wing nuts are mocking her for her delight in the Democratic balloon drop, but I have to say, after the past few decades, a few minutes of delight at a momentous occasion?  She fucking deserves it.

She is a long-lived politician who, despite constant attacks from opponents, is still standing.  And that drives them absolutely fucking crazy.  And she mocks them for that. I think, after all these years, she is kind of looking forward to giving them the back of her fucking hand.

And yes, THAT is kind of exactly the person I want to be leading our country.

 

 

 

That title was kind of a gimme, am I right?

But Sinead O’Connor’s cover of that song revealed what a stellar songwriter Prince Rogers Nelson was.

Look, I am a white suburban kid; my music inputs ranged from hard rock to basic rock to classic rock.  However, once my brain had been opened up by the punk and the new wave, and then my circle of friends was expanded by going to college, I was open to new sounds and ideas…

And the idea of this Prince guy was probably sent into my brain by some stupid rock music article.  But when I had a few extra Ameros, visiting the local Over-sized Supermarket in a poor cow-town college town, they had 2 (TWO!) copies of “1999” and I bought one.  I really wonder who bought the other (although I know the store may have sent it back).  It was a white boy, barf ‘n’ boogie environment, and new wave funk really did not fit in….but in one house, it did. It fit in between REM and the Thompson Twins and Elvis Costello and the B-52s and Boomtown Rats and Wall of Voodoo and U2 and so many others….my musical mind had been blown wide open….

I have been able to see two different shows at First Avenue.  One was an epochal show from Soul Asylum with one of my personal favorites the Figgs opening, and I got ROARING drunk; the other was a tribute to Big Star’s Third album, which featured many Milwaukee musicians and where I got paleo as drunk as I was the previous time,  Both times, I simply reveled in being in a legendary dive….

I moved to Milwaukee. The music scene was blowing up.  Femmes,  R&B Cadets, Jim Liban, EIEIO, Snopek ….and I was going to college.  But I had some connection to a dick that was booking for the college, and he needed to provide some big dudes to hump cases.  We did.  Art of Noise, Bruce Cockburn, Iggy Pop….

But none of that matters.  I spent much time in and around music, local and touring.  Even though I sold my Les Paul to stay in college, I stayed involved, and still go see bands often (the Big Gig is upcoming!) Music has  been a huge part of my life, stretching all the way back to when I bought my first record player.

Prince was great from the first time I ever heard him, playing that copy of “1999” for bemused room-mates.

Prince has created genius-level music.

Prince demolished the ideas of gender.  He performed while wearing feminine clothes, and had lesbians in his band.

Prince demolished the idea of genre.  I defy good friend Zelmo to tell me what pigeonhole Prince belongs in.

Prince did “Starfish and Coffee” on the muppet show.

Prince told a corporate music shitheads to fuck off, by changing his name.  Then he continued to flip them off by performing under a different name….

Prince once offered a song to the Violent Femmes, which they declined as too sexual…

Prince was kind to Paul Westerberg.  Prince intimidated Bob Mould to the point he never worked up the nerve to talk to him.

Prince did  whatever the fuck he wanted, when he wanted to.  He was the most talented person I have seen in my lifetime, and the had, as far as I can tell, the most integrity.

Prince continued to support the local music scene, at every level. in a notable reference, Field Report says he came out to see them play….

I have a FaceHell friend who posted wondering why we spend so much time and effort when famous people die.  But it’s not like a Kardashian, or Reagan;  Prince accomplished much, and hardly ever compromised, and opened up spaces for people to be weird in their own way, to define themselves in their own way.  It isn’t unrelated that at those times, I pierced my ears (3 times), and cut my hair short, and grew it long, and colored it blond and red and wore stupid clothes with red Converse high-tops.  The answer to your question, Peter, is not that we idolize these people (although we might!) but that the things they did moved us and were important to us and they seemed like friends, because like friends, their work supported us and kept us going when times were hard.  Losing them is hard, because now we have to face life without their help, and use our own meager talents to keep up their legacy and their work, and we fear we are not worthy.  And we will miss, painfully miss, all the work they could have done in the future.

I will miss that I never took advantage of the opportunity to see him play.  Friends, go see a band you like right now, because there is no guarantee that you will ever see them again; it’s why I survived a heart attack a year ago so I could see the Mekons play in Mineral Point; there are no damn guarantees.

I DO yammer on, don’t I?  So here is my finale.  I  like Prince and have loved him, and he is much respectable as a musician and artist in every way.  It is perfectly fitting that landmarks around the world were illuminated Purple.

We didn’t deserve him in the first place, and we are so much the poorer for losing him.

Also, and I have linked this elsewhere, but do you want more proof of his genius?

 

 

At the end, he turns and as much as says “that’s all I have to say about THAT” and not having a mic to drop, drops his guitar into the audience.  As I have said many times, looking sadly down at the sausages at the end of my hands….”why can’t  you guys do that?”  He taught himself…

Prince taught me a way to love funk, hip-hop and R&B,  made me love  musicians that are so talented they can cross every genre, and to love people who are genuinely and honestly weird….

You have been a man who changed my life….Imma miss you Prince.  But the rest of us, we’re not through yet….

That’s the best I can do.  Sorry, man….

EDIT.   With the other shit that 2016 is raining down, I just loved the:

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This is the story of my time machine invention.
It’s not perfect, cuz I’m not that bright.
We walk our days with the best of intentions,
But when I screw things up, I wanna go back and make ‘em right.
Yeah, I’m a believer in mind over matter.
And I’ve made my mind up to travel in time.
Restart the days, and I’ll do it so much better.
I waste so much time a worryin’ I forgot to live my life.

I’m not going anywhere ‘til I’m back to where it was we were before.
I don’t need anything except always needing just a little more.
I run in circles so I can kick me in the pants.
There’s a reason God is doG backwards: we must chase the tail.

The truth is my invention refuses to go backwards.
A tiny glitch I’m sure to figure out.
But I can ride on the moment slowly time travelling forwards
So the next destination is always right now. (All aboard!)

I’ve finally solved the puzzle of my time machine invention.
You see, in the future, this present is the past, so
If you give this moment your fullest attention
We’ll just keep going forwards with no need for going back.

Warning, FWIW.  And like anyone would notice, as I often go away for a week or more. I am trying to do better.

But we are going away for a week or so, to another location.  San Antonio, if you must know. Home of the former Bloggerhood who ran Republic Of Dogs, and hosted an AG before he foisted her off on me, and we both ran away screaming….

Anyway, I reached out to him on FaceHell, but he is off the Hell for the duration of the election (must have a shitload of rightwing contacts) so I haven’t heard back.  Or maybe he was just so traumatized by the Zombie that he hates me now, whatever….

Anyways, anyone have any knowledge of San Antonio?  Good places/restaurants, entertaining or scary people, places to buy drugs?  Remembrances?  Places Ozzy Osbourne has peed?  Let me know.

So, we will be riding this Time Machine Invention just a little farther forward.  We will be back, I am pretty sure….

 

I have found it to be remarkable how the Presidential debates have developed.  On the right, it has been a cavalcade of hatred, bigotry, lies and slander, ugliness and fascism.  Otherwise known as Republican Politics.

On the Dem side, the debates have been mostly civil, respectful, and much filled with actual content and actual ideas for improving things.

I suspect Hillary and Bernie had a discussion prior to getting into it, to agree that the focus was on issues and not attacks.  And good for them!

Hey, did you hear there was another Democratic Debate tonight?  And it was held in Milwaukee, at one of the public universities that Turdwaffle is working to destroy?  Look, you can find this shit, you know how Goofle works, so I ain’t linking.  I have to make this post….

The debate was held 6 blocks north of my house, so I stayed downtown cuz I have work to do and I do NOT need Secret Service dudes questioning me about my state of decease.  Wife Sublime had a shot at tickets, as she is a student (yes I am married to a HOT COED) but it didn’t seem to go anywhere.

From what I hear, the debate was, as the other ones, pretty great.  RESPECT to Hillary for wearing UW-Milwaukee Panther colors, and sorry Bernie, i know men only have the choices of blue, grey and black, but you could have sported a yellow and black tie?

I am not following these debates, because there is no FUCKING WAY I am voting for a Republican Clown, and I like both Hillary and Bernie; I have a pretty good idea what they stand for.  As the Professional Left says, in the general, i will be voting for whoever Bernie votes for.  (Although I might change that to say Feingold)…

Interesting (but maybe only to me) story.  Last time round, when Hillary was running and Obama was the New Kid, WS and I talked and we agreed that we were both leaning Hillary.  And then I voted Obama in the primary; WS seemed hurt.OK, I understand. Since then, Obama has proven himself, so THAT seems OK.

I like both of these candidates, quite a bit.  Bernie’s heart is in the right place, and Hillary is smart, talented, and experienced and I think much of the criticism she receives is based on her husband’s tenure.  And much of the remainder of her criticism is based in barely disguised sexism.  Having reviewed her history to some extent, she seems to be much more progressive than she has been able to expose to date.

 But here’s what I have seen;  Clinton is MASSIVELY experienced, more than nearly any other presidential candidate in many years.  She is battle-hardened, she worked with Obama in his administration, she has connections out the wazoo.  Yeah, she was cozy with Wall Street.  But she was their Senator, you know?  People try to blame her for her husband’s work, but isn’t that stupid?    If I poop my pants, are we supposed to blame my wife?

Let’s be clear.  I do not endorse everything Hillary has ever done.  Although blaming her for her vote for the AUMF is ridiculous; there was only one vote in the Senate against (guess who it was?)  But you know what?  I have NEVER endorsed everything done by any politician.I mean, I am a fucking hippie-punk….I don’t endorse everything ever done by any politician that I voted for…

I confess I WANT to follow up the first African American President with the first Woman President (or first Jewish President!)  and I find no validity to the arguments about electability, which were also brought out in 2008…

I think this difference has been well demonstrated by mikey and a mutual friend on FaceHell.  Mikey has been consistently been beating the drum for Experience and Electability.  To which I say “excellent point”   and the other person says Bernie has the moral high ground.  to which I say “excellent point”!  But no matter how valid these points are,   at the end of the rope there is a very simple two pronged aspect of electability and experience. And as The professor has been demonstrating, there is a huge advantage to being the Clinton in this race (and it should be noted that the Prof, in addition to being an excellent sci-fi blogger and former New Wave musician, has over-performed Nate Silver in predicting the Big Races…

Also, and i do not think this is an inconsiderable part, but Hillary Clinton ‘s time on the world stage is a very significant advantage.  As Secretary of State, she has not only been integral to the current administration, but she has been effective in a fair number of foreign policy advances.

I have said that I will be voting Bernie in the primary and voting for whoever Bernie is voting for in the general (the Professional Left strategy).  However after much consideration, and completely ignoring the Democratic debates (although paying attention to the Usual suspects for reviews).  The Wisconsin Primary is nearly meaningless, but we usually see all the candidates show up.

also, Hillary performed a righteous slam on Turdwaffle, and that makes me happy.

At the end of the day, I really feel that from a strategic standpoint, Clinton is much more powerful in the general, which makes me feel that Bernie will be more effective remaining as Senator; actually, M\ORE effective after the way his successful national run raises his profile…