Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

OK< so here we go again.  Some of you, that go all Book of Face, already know that the zombie here had another episode of re-animation.  This, then is my storification of that, my attempt to wrap my soft noggin around the simultaneous notions of mortality and that I am fucking tough to kill.

So, in the middle of the first month of Donald Trump’s second year of trying to kill all of us, we had some snowfall.  I went out to shovel, and got winded easy, but figured, what the hell, I’d take it easy and did it in a couple of goes.  And the next day, we had a little more snow, and when I went out to shovel, I got winded a bit easier.  So again, I took it in a couple of goes and still got the job done.  But with the flu going around, I thought maybe I was getting some lung crud and went to bed early, figuring I was coming down with something.

Oh yes I was.  But it wasn’t a virus, oh no. By the next day, I couldn’t stand for any length of time, and walking across the house required sitting down for a rest.  Even zombies know this is not a good thing….

It starts as what is known as a DVT, Deep Vein Thrombosis, which starts in the deep veins of your legs.  Clots form, then those little fuckers decide to go walkabout.  These decided to camp out in my pulmonary arteries, which are the ones that take oxygenated blood from the old air sacks to the heart and then to the rest of the body. Since these were now clogged up, the old heart was working hard to get air oxygen everywhere, and the upshot was that I was breathing hard and got dizzy really easy. Well, having had my heart try to abdicate in the past, it was time to make the trip again; since Wife Sublime was on a work gig, I made the obvious call:  Uber.  Quicker and cheaper than an ambulance, and I knew I was going to the ER anyway.

So, once again, I walked into the ER under my own power.  After a brief listen to my laboring heart, they put me into an ER room, and the huge numbers of medical professionals took over. They quickly determined that it was not another heart attack, and rolled me into the CT room.  After the scan, no shit, it took a bare 2 minutes before a doctor came back, saying I had a pulmonary embolism.


Fuck me, that is some scary words.

They told me they were going to inject some very dangerous chemicals into my body to melt those little ambulatory fuckers, and that I could get them into an arm IV, or into a jugular IV.  The difference being the jugular would be able to deliver the chemicals more directly at the clots causing the problem, while the arm IV increased the potential for problematic internal bleeding.  I said, Doctor Vampire, please go ahead and spike me in the jugular vein.


But the extremely dangerous chemicals did their jobs, and within 12 hours, my lungs were doing the job again, they terminated the chemicals after 20 hours, and within a day, my heart and lungs were providing more than enough oxygen into my system.

Ok, here’s the horror show.  Since the drugs involved make it very possible for bleeding to happen, it is very common to have a urinary catheter installed, to monitor the bladder output.  In the ER, a technician attempted catheterization, and botched it resulting in blood.  Now, I am only a patient, but I figured blood spattering from the penis is not a desirable outcome.  So he aborted; after I screamed at him in pain.    And, since I was on extremely powerful blood thinning agents, for the next day or so, my groin turned into a slasher movie special effect, bleeding all over fuck at random times.  O, and as a bonus, urination was AAAAARGH PAIN PAIN PAIN needles in the dick.  And although the underlying situation was life threatening, this was the part that was painful.  In a mordantly amusing factor, all the medical professionals that ever walked into my room, for like two days, asked me if I was still having chest pains; I never had chest plains.  Please talk to me about my pissing pains.

It took about two weeks all told, before the doctor in charge was able to let me go.  He was slow-walking my process, without telling me, and the blood threshold we needed was subsequently not being met.  When he finally admitted that he was doing that, I was pissed.  Still am; I respect his opinion on that, but to not let me know that he was doing so and why was, to me, bullshit.  When I forced him to let me go, and my normal doctor took over medications, we hit the blood level that is considered therapeutic in a couple of days.

But there are a couple of things I’d like to mention.  First of all, the ER staff are fucking heroes.  And two of them tracked me down in the ICU after I left their care, just to see how I was doing.  That impressed the fuck out of me.  Those are some amazing people.  Second of all;  The doctor in charge of my case during the stay, did not communicate effectively at any level, and did not involve me in his decisions on my treatment.  At one point, I had to snap at him “I am not a fucking idiot”.  It’s not just that he treated me as if I couldn’t participate in the decisions about my treatment, but that he made them without my involvement.


Well, since the nastiness is over, here’s some humor.  With the Uber, I got to the ER sometime after 3 in the afternoon, and after some testing, the ER staff asked me if there was someone they should call.  I knew WS was on a work gig, so when I got the chance with my phone, I called and left her a message, knowing she would get back to me or the hospital.  But for the next few hours, the staff kept asking me for her phone number, and they left a series of messages.  You see, WS has two phones, a personal and a work phone and on this particular day, she only had her work phone.  So, after they ensconced me into an ICU room, I texted her with “I am in room xxxx”, figuring she had my VM.  But she didn’t look at her phone until she was going to bed, and saw a bunch of messages.  But she saw the text first, which was just weird.  So eventually, late at night, she called me and asked if she should come in, but not really at that point.  I said that for the most part, the medical team didn’t seem to need her input…

But, at the end of the day, I find a funny aspect to this.  Many people touching base on FaceHell and others, keep asking me if I have been getting exercise, if I’ve been taking my meds,  what other things I’ve been doing wrong.  But here; the doctors have said that I have not had the typical issues that result in these DVTs.  What people want to hear, is that there is someone at fault, there is something that was not or was done that made for this occurrence.  Friends try and couch it in terms of concern, but what they really want to know, is that they are making themselves safe and that whatever health issues you have just had will never apply to them.  They are Safe, because they Act Properly.  But here’s the thing; sometimes bad things will happen and there is no fault.

Sometimes I feel like Fletcher Christian
twisting off the serpents head
for the mutiny I’ll shoot the big one
hot and hungry, far from home

Through the sun and sea my skin is peeling
but it don’t make the pictures fade
those shapes and symbols, I know their meaning
the shameless riches of another world

If I return they’re sure to hang me
so I guess I’ll have to stay
and if I should croak out in the darkness
No-one will know I got away


Blood And Roses

Posted: December 13, 2017 in Uncategorized

It is becoming kind of depressing that I only write on this decrepit old blog when one of my appreciated artist joins us in the post-breather status.

So, Let’s go Political!  Tonight, the perfect storm of horror at Republican policies, revulsion toward the fat tub of orange goo occupying the White House, and the comically evil Roy Moore combined to afford the Democrats a win in ALABAMA GODDAM, a state that in 2016 was R+24.

Look, if we can maintain a Democratic advantage of 20 points in the midterms, both the House and the Senate will flip.

Eiron, the goddess of Irony, is at her finest; Doug Jones prosecuted white nationalist terrorists who killed young girls, and his opponent enjoyed victimizing young girls.  Roy Moore liked to fantasize about eliminating all the Amendments after 10, and women and blacks swamped him, even in ALABAMA GODDAM.  Doug Jones is a real person, with real accomplishments, while Moore enjoys prancing around on stage with a comically tiny pistol while cosplaying as a cowboy using props from Pee-Wee’s old show.  Who has at LEAST ONE JEWISH LAWYER!

Consider this the part where the zombie does the zombie happy dance.


In 1986, I was in grad school working toward a Master’ in Architecture (excuse me I have to turn this up).  and I had managed to get into an invitation-only design studio that was supposed to explore the intersection of design and pop culture.  One project was to be a revisitation of Wright’s Midway Gardens, and the other was to be a house for David Byrne (with a potential for a visit from Jerry Harrison).  But that is not of our concern.

At the time, True Stories had just come out.  I was aggressively political, and covered my workspace with political cartoons to the point where someone left an anonymous note telling me to shut the fuck up (since I was a cartoonist in the campus newspaper, this was FUCKING FUNNY).  The others in the room loved the pop stylings of Little Creatures, completely missing all the satire; but I loved the wider, more disparate sounds of the new album. Plus, i played A LOT of punk, ska and reggae, which the white baby architects kind of hated.  And in the midst of that, I found that Especially For You was an acceptable middle ground.

The songs were 3 minute pop nuggets, little platinum nuggets.  They were a bit too fast, and a bit too aggressive but not punk.  Also, this was a fucking amazing album…

I played that cassette, and while I loved Blood and Roses as is proper, the lyrics and song to Behind The Wall Of Sleep nearly destroyed me.  It captured every feeling about loving someone on the stage, and not being able to even meet, and that your dreams are the only recompense.

plus, the music is too perfect. the drum stings, the Rickenbacker;  the punk JUST STOP ending.

Pat DiNizio, singer and songwriter for the Smithereens, passed away at 62 and FUCK YOU WITH LAWNMOWERS, DEATH, YOU BITCH.

As is the way, I confess that I’ve seen them several times, including once at a weird cowboy barn and a couple of Summerfest gigs.  Which allows me to say, once again, that you should go see the musicians you like every chance you get, because they KEEP FUCKING DYING

However, Pat DiNizio and Tom Petty playing together forever makes me happy in a sad kind of way.



Reflections on Seattle

Posted: September 8, 2017 in Uncategorized

My other post title was “Sick Of Seattle”, a Smithereens song, but that seemed wrong because I am not.


We took a post-summer/pre-school (my wife is a hot co-ed) trip to the PNW to see what was up.  And it was Bumbershoot!

OK.  Tickets to Bumbershoot.  at least $150 per day.  Tickets to Summerfest:  AT MOST, $18 dollars per day, many days free with admission promotions.

Bands:  Bumbershoot has a very narrow array of bands, from a supposedly alternative point of view.  15 or so bands over 3 days.  Summerfest?  800 bands over 11 days, encompassing every genre known to man, and some we made up on the spot, like non-ironic polka hip-hop.

Grounds:  Summerfest is on a dedicated, permanent built facility with actual real toilets.  Bumbershoot is kind of haphazard with many ports-potties.  Also, Summerfest sports decent food from local vendors.

But we were staying north of downtown, across Lake Union near the college area, and we were able to avoid most of the idiocy.  Although I ripped the hell out of my shorts getting into an Uber on the way downtown, and came THIS CLOSE to purchasing a Utilikilt to cover my shame.

We had an amazing stretch of wonderful weather.  warm and sunny, very little rain to speak of.  Even some hot.  Almost all shorts weather, and we took advantage.  We took a boot tour around the bay, we went to Mount Rainier to see the asphalt trucks going up the mountain to deliver their spawn and return to their wintering grounds.

We took a tour of the underground aspects of the old parts of Seattle, which involve poop and prostitution and look much like the underground parts of Milwaukee, except with more headroom.  We did TWO comedy shows at the Underground comedy club, which were much fun, and observed Mental Illnesses on Parade in the Pioneer Square area.  We also mocked the Seahawks fans for the upcoming loss at Lambeau.

The food was great.  Seafood is the choice, but it is all so good.  Our first stop was a cafe called CITIZEN which gave me coffee and my wife a Bloody (not even close to a Milawaukee Bloody, but we allow).  I had some squid.

We saw many great things of art and commerce.  We toured the Boeing plant.  We saw the AMAZING museum of Flight, which had a newly redone Apollo display, and I could have happily spent a whole day there -Space stuff, a Blackbird, a P-38, a Mustang, a Concorde….

We also saw amazing art.  I love the Space Needle, fuck you if you think it is cheesy.  It is as cheesy as the St. Louis arch, and both are expressions of hope and ambition when this country gave two shits about the future.

The Experience Music Project has been re-purposed as the Museum of Pop Culture- MoPOP- and it is valid.  It is the second Frank Gehry I have been in; the first was the Toronto museum that I feel is a wonderful and sublime alteration and this one is the first crumpled paper model building of his I have been in.  And, as an architect, it is… underwhelming.  The outside is something you can’t see from any vantage point, not even from the Space Needle,  From the interior it is functional enough, but a museum is easy:  a series of sizable spaces with lighting and some circulation to the next series of sizable spaces.  The structure was sprayed with an orange-red color that only made sense in the Star Trek exhibit.  At least Frank did some color on the exterior for once.

So, the exhibits in this museum were actually, pretty great.  The guitar history exhibit was amazing, although I cared less about the ‘famous guy played this guitar’ section than the section that showed how electric guitars evolved.  The David Bowie section was great.  The Sci-Fi  section was also great, and the Star Trek display was seventeen kinds of awesome.  Regrettably, we were too tired at this point to do the add-on for the Jim Henson exhibit.

We also saw a permanent exhibit for the glass artist Chihuly.  How work is evocative and amazing and I can’t imagine how he hasn’t sued Frank Gehry for stealing all his early forms.  But I was especially taken by his charcoal sketches that made his early works, it reminded me of my discussions with former Friend of Zombie Jennifer about smudgies.  But I love his vitality in those sketches;  and later the he had physical disabilities that did not allow him to do the glass sculptures, he did multi-media descriptions of the work he wanted to do.  Look at this:21151446_10210030486699025_1808713031272769571_n

We had much coffee, and much beer.  And I will tell you this: the beer and coffee in the PNW are not, in any conceivable way, better than the beer and coffee in Milwaukee.

I will say that seattle has a different focus from us white assholes.  Seattle has many more Asian folks walking around.  far fewer African Americans.  did it bother us? not a bit.  We are liberals, and hearing someone speaking another language in our earshot is hardly anything we give a shit about.

We were white folks in a culture that say white is the default. How hard is that?


Milwaukee Music summer continued tonight with a YOOGE bill at the BEEMO Pavilion, which looks like this and seats about 5,000 with standing room for 5,000 more:


It’s about the middle of a tour called “From Boston to Berkeley”


A tour between two longtime friends and collaborators, Rancid and Dropkick Murphys; with additional acts Jake Burns (from Stiff Little Fingers) and the Bouncing Souls.

Tim Armstrong from Rancid started a record label called Hellcat back in the 90s, and the first band he signed was the Dropkick Murphys.  These guys go way back, and it showed; for the encore, both bands came out and played four covers:  Cretin Hop, Folsom Prison Blues, Take ’em All, and I Fought The Law.  But I get ahead of myself.

We started the night with a miscommunication and missed most of Jake Burns set; a shame, because he closed with Suspect Device.  Oh well, SLF is returning to a 300 person club in fall, I’ll catch up then.

The Bouncing Souls are an energetic, three chords punk band from the East Coast and plenty fun.  The stage crew look really awesome; they managed the stage changes with no fuss and minimal downtime.  There’s a lot of music to get through!

I was a bit surprised that Rancid was not the top of the bill.  I guess to me, Rancid always seemed like the more established, more prominent band with a classic album under its belt – the stellar “…and out come the wolves”.  But no matter, no matter.  Because here’s the thing; both bands play with all their hearts and all their blood, thundering punk music inflected by ska in the case of Rancid, or Irish music in the case of the Murphys.  They charge through their sets with abandon, spit and fire and devil take the hindmost.

Rancid stormed the stage, and played an excellent mix of new and old.  My buddy Rory wanted them to play Timebomb as a closer, to bookend the Old 97s who close with their song of the same name, and he was only close.  He insisted I tell him what it would be, and hated me when I told him.  Spoilers suck, even for punks, I guess.

He also mocked me when he saw me working my phone in the middle of the Dropkick Murphys show:  “are you blogging?”  “no, just downloading the new album”  “yes, modern technology is wonderful”

Our seats were in the bleacher seats sections, which are still not bad in this venue, and because I am an idiot we went into the wrong section but nobody ever showed up to make us move so we had decent seats.  AND we were directly behind a man and his 9 year old son, who rocked out through the show until he was ready to stop rocking and go to sleep.  I have been there, believe me.  We took a photo for them with the band in the backdrop and asked them whether the Youngling was a drummer or a guitarist; Dad grinned and said “we go back and forth”.  Parenting Level:  Platinum.

Dropkick Murphys had an extensive musical intro, and maybe cut that back, guys?  But then hit the stage and fucking EXPLODED.  There was a bit of usual time for the sound guys to boil it down, but man, they were good for a forty-seven person show.  Well, it seemed like 47 people.  SO MANY.  Playing guitars, and basses, and pipe, and chest-piano, and bagpipes, and more guitars, and loud voices….

Of course they played Barroom Heroes, of course they played Shipping Up To Boston.  But the new songs were EXCELLENT as well, especially Blood.

My good friend Rory, who has seen EVERYBODY, has never seen any of these bands and kept thanking me for getting him a ticket.  Although he admitted that he was having some difficulties acclimating to his medical regimens and was a bit more than goofy, especially when walking (I will testify that he was not drinking).  I reminded him that in a short while, he bought us tickets to see Luna on my birthday, so it is even as fuck.

I spoiled it up above, but the bands did a gathered full stage encore of everybody available.  To me, the most amusing thing was that the wings of the stage were filled with people watching the shows, dancing along, and shouting on the choruses.  Friends and family and other bands they know who want to be part of an amazing show.

Local Zombie favorites Whiskey of the Damned have opened for the Dropkick Murphys, and if they weren’t in the midst of their own work tour, they would have been here and maybe on this stage….A stage where the band brought up almost anyone from the pit for the final song.  It took longer to clear the stage than it did for the song….

And then everyone was in for the encore.  The stage was filled, and it was cover songs that meant great things to everyone.

It reminds me of the time in Ireland.  the Refusal to allow badness to stop your willingness to enjoy life.  A few years back, I had some very bad times on my own behalf, and much darkness.  And one point, I wondered if I could ever find a place I could find joy in music ever again.  And then, in the midst of one of the worst oppression in modern time, everyone found life in drinking and  music to help them find expressions of life…

Like I said I wondered,  But I recovered, I went to Summerfest, I found the Mekons, and it is such that punk makes me feel alive again.




And it did, too.  The Fainting Room (which included a Whiskeybelle) started a little past 8 PM.

Continuing the Milwaukee Music Summer, tonight was an album release party for the Wooldridge Brothers at local java joint Anodyne Coffee Roasters.

I have been a fan of these fellas since they moved their entire band from Indiana to Milwaukee to be part of the thriving music scene here in 1984, and they were called the Squares.  Of course, that scene fell apart, as did their band (although members of that band are still making music here) and Scott moved to Minneapolis.  But the brothers continued to work together, landing songs on TV shows and films, releasing fine albums.

A couple of years ago, they launched a Kickstarter project (since there’s no music industry anymore) to release two albums; a solo Scott Wooldridge album, and a Wooldridge Brothers band album.  I , of course, supported their efforts, and my support resulted in a producer credit in the liner notes, which is kind of exciting.

Scott’s solo album came out a while ago, and it is fine, in the same vein as their previous records, and it yielded this excellent song:

But they decided to take the band album in a bit different direction.  They took their time and pushed the production levels up, as well as bringing Brian Wooldridge’s guitar solos well forward in the mix, providing an energy and attack that had not been there before.  In addition, their influences -Elvis Costello, Squeeze, the Kinks- are laid more bare than usual.  The result is, frankly, quite startling.

One of the things they did when they realized their schedule was slipping, was create a video for one of the songs, a bittersweet song called “Drive Through Summer” which they recorded in a drive-in theater.  After they filmed it, they realized that the drive-through would provide, if not a concept album, a tone and feeling throughout the album; so they named it Starts At Dusk.  What an evocative name….

We chatted with the Brothers briefly before the show, talking about the new album, other Milwaukee musicians, the show in Minneapolis, and summer family vacation plans.  I had received the album a week prior, as I was a Kickstarter Producer (along with a couple of rare discs of covers and demos) and it was already making quite a mark on me.  Particular standouts are “Waiting It Out” (excellent guitar work by Brian) and “Zero Information” ( think Graham Parker).  It is not to be released online until September; until then it is SOLELY available at Milwaukee Anodyne coffee shops, because there are no record stores anymore.

The show was simply amazing, we were sitting right up front.


That is actually the Wooldridge Brothers and a Sister-in-Law.  They played almost all the new album too, and we loved it.  It was maybe too short; a tight 90 minutes or so.

Other than the record release, they are mostly relieved to have a project finished and will be focusing on other things for a while, so this may be a rare appearance -although if you live in Minneapolis, Scott plays out relatively often.  In an interview, they said that they hope to be more active in 2018, but until then, there is this absolutely outstanding new album to enjoy.

Up next:  Rancid, Dropkick Murphys, Bouncing Souls and a guy from Stiff Little Fingers.  IN this place:


This may not be a huge urban enclave, but MAN we have a great music scene.  Yes, yes Big Bastard, if you cut me, do I not bleed music?


All In A Mouse’s Night

Posted: July 18, 2017 in Uncategorized


I have a mouse in my office.  Well, to be fair, where there is one there is more than one, so mice.  Meeses.

I guess that’s what happens when a pub occupies the ground floor space in a downtown location, especially near the River.  I guess she didn’t look big enough to be a rat….

So, for me, the question becomes, do I name her and put food out, or go for eviction with extreme prejudice?


Town Cryer

Posted: July 17, 2017 in Uncategorized

A friend of mine was looking through my CDs once, and remarked “Dude, do you think you have enough Elvis Costello?”   I responded saying “can you think of a BETTER artist to be obsessive about?”

After the rampant musical excess of Summerfest, Milwaukee continues to make the most of the all-too-brief summer weather by making every weekend some sort of excuse for drinking outside.  This weekend was Bastille Days, when they shut down several blocks downtown in the shadow of City Hall, and do…French stuff, I guess.  It involves drinking and eating and a forty foot replica of the Eiffel Tower built by the engineering school.

And music, of course.  Friday evening was a double set by perennial favorite local ska-punks Something To Do, who were soldiering on, down one guitar player due to “honeymoon”.  I made a crack that they went through guitar players like Spinal Tap goes through drummers.  HAH!

They played a new song about Richard Spencer, that Alt-right Nazi dickweasel who got punched in the melon on TV, which inspired a spirited discussion on when it is appropriate to punch someone on the melon.  The Internet quickly determined that punching Nazis is perfectly appropriate.

Anyway, this is their most recent single, “Don’t Take That Shit From Anyone”

So tonight, Elvis Costello (as BBBB calls him, Brother Declan) and the Imposters visited Milwaukee for the umpteenth time in recent years.  Seriously, I think we’ve probably seen him 10 or twelve times by now, and he is consistently one of the most rewarding performers, never playing by number or phoning it in.  He especially likes our Riverside Theater, as we’ve seen him a couple of times where for the encore, he sings into the hall using no amplification, just his voice and the conducive acoustics.

For this show, he was focusing on Imperial Bedroom, one of his albums that took me a while to warm up to but has over time and evolution become one of my favorites.  It has a subtlety and complexity that rewards focus and repeated listens.

For this tour, he brought along a pair of singers, Kitten Koroi and Brianna Lee, who really punched up the vocals of the songs.  Especially on the show-closing encore, “Everyday I Write The Book” and when they sang “Alison” with just Elvis on guitar.

They played for an initial set for a bit over an hour, and left, then came back for a batch of slower, more focused songs with limited instrumentation, eventually bringing out the band for full throated closers “Man Out Of Time” and “Pidgin English”.

Did I say “Everyday” was the show closer?  Nah, that just set up the band intros, then they barreled full-tilt into “Pump It Up” and then blasted the roof off the joint with    “(What’s So Funny ‘Bout) Peace, Love and Understanding?”

Damnit, pretty much every time I see him, that is the finale;  I KNOW it’s coming, I know every line and every chord of that song, I know Elvis didn’t even write it, even if his is the definitive version, and every goddam time it makes me weep.  And in this time, the lyrics seem much less hippy-dippy goofiness, but more prophetic and even more relevant.  Maybe one day Elvis will no longer feel the need to sing that song.  But for one more time, it brought a ray of hope, a bit of sunshine….

Here’s another version.  Apologies for the gratuitous Dave Matthews, and the gratuitous Glenn Frey; perhaps made up for by the Bonnie Raitt, Eddie Vedder, and Mike Mills on the big strong bass.