Archive for the ‘Shovels’ 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.

As I mentioned in the previous post, for the first time in about a decade, I did not attend the Opening Day of Summerfest. The new schedule made it seem like less of an event. So we went down on Friday for Drive By Truckers

At this point, I am going to extend all proper respect and thanks for people who run World Festival nc and the Summerfest staff for being so committed and inventive in figuring out how to put on this scale of event without it turning into Sturgis. It helps that Milwaukee is a Democratic city, and the city is over 76% vaccinated, and the festival requires proof of vaccination or a negative test, and has on site fast tests available. So when we were sitting on tables and bleachers, loving on the music, we could also love on the community we have been missing for 2 years without being terrified.

I first saw DBT also at Summerfest, Jason Isbell was still with the band, and I couldn’t believe how good they were;I am not normally well disposed to southern rock; but I’m going to say that this doesn’t qualify

Since then, I’ve seen them a couple more times, and Jason Isbell once on his own. I become more impressed. In recent years, DBT has development a bent for protest songs like Toughts and Prayers or The New OK. But on this night, the song that made me happier and resulted in tears rolling down my cheeks was this one (this will come up again):

Tonight was the fourth night we went to Summerfest. The first night was short, but the next two days were 10 hour+ extended mix long days. Tonight was a mix, about half a day, which allowed us to escape the crowds and parking before the Dave Chapelle crowd got rambunctious. (and how exactly did Summerfest land Chappelle?

So here, 2/3 of the way into an oddly scheduled festival, and by my count,, I have five more bands to see in the remaining 3 days. The fest is only 9 days total, rather than the typical eleven.But, and I told my great and good friend K that I am going to make a call on this, even if it’s premature…

By the second day, we noticed the sound was clear as a goddam bell. no feedback or ungrounded buzzes. And starting with DBT, ever band was JUST SO GODDAMNED HAPPY to be in front of a crowd , doing what they do after too long a time, that they don’t want to leave the stage. They all played over their allotted times, which is a big no-no at Summerfest, but the bands didn’t; give a shit because they were playing their music.

And every one of them was so committed to getting back to live, that they hit with all the force they had, and we saw blistering set after blistering set.

We saw locals doing a Joe Jackson cover set, and local legend Sigmund Snopek doing….well, what he does. It’s truly not quantifiable.

But then we saw people like Soul Asylum rip it up for a light crowd, and lovely local cow punks the Whiskeybelles singing about the love of whisky. As they do (except when the one was pregnant during the pandemic. I presume at the time, the other two were drinking for five.

And then we saw Joan Jett, and holy shit it all I have to say, and how in hell has it taken me this long to see her? And yes, she played her amazing cover of Paul Westerberg’s “Androgynous”

She snarled her way through her show in a way that also showed, over and over, how much she loved being there and playing for us and they’d their fucking guts out.

Which is the recurrent theme this year. Ever single goddam band has been so blue balled by not being able to play live – which, we admit, is one of the large reasons they do this, for the endorphin hit of the audience feedback. And they played their best and favorite material with everything they had. And it was apparent that every one of them had woodshedded until their fingers were shredded because as far as I could tell they never missed a cue or dropped or note (except the one time Dave Priner forgot a lyric)

And I also believe the sound system providers also felt the enforced vacation, as did the stage crews and support staff. The sound has been stellar. Not a single blown amp or bad ground, and the only feedback I’ve heard was at Sigmund Snopek’s. Every stage sounds stellar, whether you are up front where you’re not overwhelmed to the back, where the sound is still clear and satisfying.

Now, for a word about the schedule. The amazing get was Dave Chapelle, without a doubt. And I have to confess that I blew the call on not getting tickets for Green Day/Weezer/Fall out boy (my wife is not going to forgive me for that) But beyond that, my goob, we have Soul Asylum, the Whiskeybelles, Joan Jett, the Goo Goo Dolls, Brett Newski, Toad The Wet Sprocket, Drive By Truckers; and scheduling prevented seeing Filter, Wilco, Them Coulee Boys, Everclear, Berlin, Better Than Ezra, Living Colour, ZZTop (admittedly Dusty-less), Dave Matthews, Fishbone, Dropkick Murphys, The Psychedelic Furs, Jefferson Starship, Something to Do, Paul Cebar, Lemonheads, Poi Dog Pondering, Guns n Roses, Thurston Moore, The Flaming Lips. And these omit most of the bands I don’t know anything about, or the modern country I could give less than a shit about.

Well holy shit I nearly pissed myself just typing that out.

Last night had both Dave Chapelle at the amphitheater, and Kesha at the BMO pavilion (who I believe coined the theme of Summerfest 2021, with which I titled this post).; we left as th crowds for these shows were coming in, and the proper word is THRONGS. A friend drives rideshare, and he said he made 75 dollars an hour last night.

So pick your favorite bands out of their list, and if you don’t see them, look at the Summerfest schedule, because I left way more off. And I am almost completely convinced that they performed better than you ever imagined on their night.

My previous post revolved around one of my local faves Trapper Schoepp, who has completely impressed everyone I’ve taken to see them.And they were playing before Wilco; Trapper said the first time he came to Summerfest was to see Wilco on the very stage they were now playing. And that band was completely going to live up to that position; they did. I have seen Trapper and Tanner play several times in several configurations, and this was simply the best I have ever seen them.

So, circling around…. back when the 2008 recession threatened us all, but in particular my business, I found myself not able to respond emotionally to music in the way I had always done. Until an English Beat show, which seemed to be a one off.

(let me be clear here. When I refer to that emotional connection, I mean music bringing me to tears.)

Adding to the impact is the fact that we haven’t been able to do this for over a year and half. Before that, I usually saw live music 1-4 times a month. More during festival summers.

And in every day of music, at some point during some music performance, whether because I love it (Jane) to because the band absolutely hit the fucking marks (DBT, Let There Be Rock) I have, over and over again found myself weeping with joy and the feeling that after all we have been through, it is still possible to come together in communal ways that were not going to kill someone. (Texas, SD, and FLA not available for this offer) And while sitting there and talking with friends or making new friends, it was apparent that we have lots of friends who feel the same way. Almost everyone had masks hand, even they weren’t required in the grounds. And every single person was happy and dancing with joy. Summerfest, sisters and capybaras, Summerfest.

But thank my dog, but I haven’t been that happy and relieved since I first got the jabs. Also, since we are traveling out of country, we are getting flu shots next week. JAB ME.

I hope that this is a permanent reactivation of my feeling for music. If you see me crying about music, feel free to mock, but maybe just sit back and wonder what is moving me?

As a final note, even with 1/3 of the festival to go, I have to say that given the breathtakingly gorgeous early fall weather; the throngs of happy people at the World’s Largest Music Festival, the festival organizers who managed to figure out a way to bring us all together again SAFELY; the set and ground staff and crews who work from sunup to the next early morning to keep the grounds cleaned and prepared, and most of all the BANDS, who are, to a last person, fucking ecstatic to be here seeing us all again…

And as an exit strategy for this, I go back to Trapper Schoepp for a few years back, when they were touring with the Wallflowers. The irony here is that Trapper eventually wound up sharing writing credits with his dad. But here,Trapper and his original band the Shades, filled in on a singularly classic song.

In any case, I dearly love this is a permanent reconstruction of my emotions. It is fun and expanding feel this about the art we are exposed to.

Next up is how Summerfest and theaters are driving the increase in people, especially the idiot suburban Republican asshols, in getting the jabs….

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.

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.

Goodnight, Lucy. You were a Good Gurl.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

And if you want older crap,

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And now.

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

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

I change my assessment.  America is burning.

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

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

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

But life will go on.

Won’t it?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Capture-2

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

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

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

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

Apparently none of them ever watched the Mythbusters.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Go Fuck Yourself Also Too

 

 

Passage to Bangkok

Posted: May 13, 2020 in Fridge Note, Shovels

 

 

Ok, here’s a personal story.  Feel free to ignore.

Back before I was an independent, when I was working for a very repellent boss (another story), I had friends who had acquired a very beautiful site in a development northwest of Milwaukee, on a site that was hilly and wooded and was cheap because it was considered the least usable in the development.  To me, it looked beautiful.

The asked me to design a home for what they expected to be a full family.  after initial consultations, they said they wanted a timber frame house; with experience in barn renovations, I was full on board.  In one of our first meetings, in their house not far from Milwaukee’s airport, I noticed some particularly lovely deco-style sconces in amazingly well built brass.  One of my first comments is that they replace them with builder grade fixtures from Home Depot, and take them along.  They did; they look amazing in their new entry hall.

They were worried that they disagreed about what the house should be.  They argued.  I calmed them down, and got them to express their own desires directly to me, rather than between themselves.  When they kept getting into their own disagreements, I said “let me work on this; I’ll see what I can do.’

Brothers and sisters and capybaras that is what I did. I designed a house for them on a difficult site, overlooking a lovely valley and a cathedral known as Holy Hill, that not only achieved all their goals but resolved every thing they thought they disagreed about.  During the discussions, the biggest resolve was whether the laundry should be part of the bedroom level or the first floor.

Working with timber frame was also a tremendous experience.  It was very similar to the work I have done for years in mill-style industrial buildings.  We also had a timber contractor who was very sympathetic to our design work.  In a memorable exchange, once when he was erecting the exterior insulated panels, which were not pre-cut for windows, he was approached by a neighbor concerned by the blank face which would face their appallingly bad suburban ranch. He responded by saying “oh sure, we will cut the windows later” and then cut the smallest window opening in that wall, leaving the rest for later.  I like that guy.

But that’s not what I am here to talk about. I am here to talk about the draft.

Wait.  Let me refresh my drink.

Ok, looking back, apparently I am here to talk about an episode.  Settle in, this is great, and believe it or not, the preceding is pertinent.

So after that house was built, Paul and Katie loved it.  And they often told me that they would discover great details in the course of their lives that they didn’t expect . And they had the expected family, two boys, and unexpectedly Paul started some very effective brewing in the basement level. They told me early on that they wanted a house that would become a legacy. They have one.  I made it.

After that house was built, and before they populated it, they recognized the amount of effort I did without asking them for payment (remember I was moonlighting). I did a lot of interior design and detailing, for which i never requested any payment.  I even built them a model of the timber frame, which they displayed on their fireplace for years!

They wanted to give me a thank you.  They had a time share in Puerta Vallarta, and said we should go there with them.

Well, are we dumb?  We are not, so Of course we did, and two other couples got standard rooms in the joint. when we got there, half the group went to check in, and the other half went down the street to the Corona bottlers to stock up on Coronitas.   We wanted to hit the ground running…

So we went down there and had great times with much alcohol.  but at one point, we decided we also needed some weed.  So a couple of the guys went to talk to one of the bartenders, who accompanied them into town, with the 50 bucks or so we had all thrown in.  They came back after a fair amount of time, grinning like idiots.  When we asked the outcome, they just pulled out this bag of pot as big as my forearm.  50 bucks goes a long way in Mexico.

We tried heroically, but there was no way we were going to kill that in the few days we had left, and none of us were dumb enough to try and take it back into the States.  So we hit on the idea of making brownies.  As you do.  A quick trip to the grocery for brownie mix, and we used the mixer to chop the leaf thoroughly, and voila!  Fresh baked stoner goodness!

I’ve had terrible pot brownies, but these were good, and if you didn’t know, you wouldn’t really notice.  Also, if you didn’t know the difference between smoking pot and eating it, then you might not be careful….

Katie had never had baked edibles before, and she was amazed that they actually tasted pretty good.  So she had one, waited a few minutes, then said “maybe these are a bit weak, I’m not feeling anything yet”. How many have you had? we asked?  “Three”.  Uh-oh was the consensus. so we had to explain to here that absorption through the stomach than through the lungs, and that it took longer, but lasted longer.  after a little longer, she said “Oh yeah, I am starting to feel it.  How long will this last?”  You had three?  You are in for a long ride, most of the rest of the night.

Paul and Katie are pretty certain that their first son was conceived that night.