Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Not one of you asked for this, which is why I am putting this out.  LOL.  You guys are all masochists, I am sure.

So, we went to Spain.  This was, as you might expect, very cool.  But I have a history, you know, or maybe you don’t and here you go, whether you want or not.

In college, I was in a studio that had restricted admission, that was involved with the area that was the Olympic Village, and we had one of the architects from the master planning firm drop in for visits.  But I was admitted based on my prior studio work.   I spent much time researching the city and its architecture, and of course I fell in love with the city and with Antonio Gaudi.  Because of course, I have affinity for insane people.

We flew into Madrid.  Lovely city.  and then we went all over the country, and spent much time on a bus, but…. Granada, Toledo, Valencia, Seville, Cordoba.  Every one special in their own way.  But here; I needed to go to Barcelona, because that was where that old project was centered.  And I finally got there, like 25 years after. And we saw Cathedrals, FFS, cathedral after cathedral.  I am so tired of Cathedrals, I know all of this from my Architectural History classes, and I am so tired of thinking that the Church has done nothing  but steal from their people for thousands of years….

And here;  this is the kind of modern intervention I love in the midst of historic cities.  Because, yes, cities are built over time and reflect the new stuff every time, and this is alarming until the next generation, who just say this is part of the city.  But this:

 

Is lovely and exciting example of modern intervention in the midst of an historic city., and this is the kind of thing I love.  The only complaint I have on this is that throughout Spain, all the paving is wonderfully textured and complex and tough to walk on, and this was depressingly plain.  I think there was a lost opportunity here, to make the plaza below a well woven part of the city…

Barcelona is a real, for fucking real city.  Hundreds of taxis, and most people use motorcycles and scooters at best.  Also, they have actual transit.  And after much great times across Spain, we ended up in Barcelona.  Where I wanted to be.  Where I wanted to SEE.  Being in this city was lovely in every way.  But here is where I have to get all architect about this.  SO bail if you would like.

Antonio Gaudi was a lunatic who connected with a patron.  He was aggressive and shitty, and his fame largely came after he died.  Which happened because he was driven over by a tram driver.  Gaudi loved to stop traffic so he could look at his work and he would walk into the street to stop traffic so he could look at his work, and come on, but tram drivers must have hated him. So one ran him over.  And because he dressed like a tramp, he was ignored until someone took him to the hospital for the indigent, where, after a couple of days, someone recognized him just in time for him to die.  Which is the health care the Republicans think we should have available.

So I loved what I found about the city.  The rules about the expansion.  And after being here, the way those expansion  regulations have been incorporated into daily life.  The 8 sided blocks.  The sidewalk cafe culture.  We had sangria and nachos while staring at Sagrada Familia and feeding the pigeons: IMG_2875

Here is where I am going to tell you to go ahead and skim the rest, because I will be getting into the weeds and lots of feels….

Because I have been feeling, since my Adventures in Modern Medicine, that I seem to have lost the ability to feel strongly, for art or music or snuggly animals.  And as great as it was, coming soon after my heart attack, the Mekons show in Mineral Point, I have to count.  I have seen so many great musicians and enjoyed them, but they haven’t made my brain triggers go nutty nut nutters.

And based on that college history, I needed to see Gaudi buildings.  And we did.  But first, we walked around the Cathedral, and as I went around, I was feeling disappointed.  And as the guide talked about how there were a series of dudes who directed the construction based on their own ideas – because Gaudi designed by models and fudging and yelling at people on site.  And the 4 or 5 or 6 people running the show since, nobody really knows what he meant.  But you can see it.  Well, I can see it, you may or may not….

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I was tremendously amused by the fact that they already have to start cleaning the stone of the first efforts, while the remainder is still under construction.  I love that the existing stone  will not only be different from the new stone being used, but that cleaning the older stone will never make them look the same.

But here is what I saw, almost immediately upon walking up.  It is completely obvious that the newer parts of the cathedral are being done by someone else.  You can see that the bronze model of the whole mess is completely different from what is being built.  And I felt, that from the outside, that the lack of a supervising loud person has resulted in something that does not cohere.  My wife agrees, and FFS that is rare….

So here is the thing.  First, I walked up and saw the building and I hated that obviously the subsequent  architects could not resist to put their own stamp on it.  And as I walked around, I started to question the designs of Gaudi.  I found a lot of it to be silly and frumpery.  I became a bit harsh.  I became a bit tough.  I was no longer enthralled, this was not the masterwork it was extolled as, it was kind of a mess.

So the next day, we went to Parc Guell.  Which was completely amazing and a lovely work, in so many ways.  designed with two or three levels, it is a tour-de-force of design for landscape and the integration with the built environment.  It was a chance for Gaudi to party as a designer, and make all kinds of crazy that was still functional and would be a part of the life of the kinds of rich people who paid him for work.

It was all kinds of lovely, and a great ability to recover from my initial response to the Sagrada Familia…

Because then we went back down to the cathedral for an interior tour.  And that was a 4:30 afternoon, on a bright day, which is important.  We were there a bit early so we found a cerveseria, and got some sangrias and nachos, and looked at this:

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So, then we went to our scheduled entry of the church, and the first thing I noticed is that the bronze model of the church is much more complete and coherent than the current state of the exterior building, as I have been saying up above.  Architects love to fuck with shit; Gaudi took the basic floor plan of this church from a gothic architect, and turned it into this massive eruption of personal design.  The eastern apse is representative of the birth of Christ, and the western apse is representative of the Passion;  the southern portion is the eventual entry, which is scheduled for completion on or about 2026 (I am skeptical) which hilariously, requires the demolition of buildings that were built across the street in full knowledge that they would be time-limited, but they kind of thought it would take forever….

And then we went into the church.

It must be understood that Gaudi went beyond any Gothic design or engineering, by using Catenary arches to provide freestanding columns and arches that do not need subsequent support, and then there were more opportunities for colored glass and lighting from above.  He used innovative techniques to design the arches, which all work together to be a complete structure that works together.  And then he had glass artists that provided blues and greens on the birth side, and oranges and reds on the passion side.

I wandered the apse, and I had the audio thing but I paid little attention.  I was looking and seeing and absorbing.  I took some weird vertical panoramas which came out kind of nice:

The spaces within this building were astonishing, and I walked into people because I couldn’t stop looking up.  But the time we were there, we had the opportunity to see the afternoon sun casting through the red and orange windows and making the whole place sing with color.  And I felt joy.

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When we left the church through the passion entrance, which is much more severe and modern in sculpture, but they have a GOOD DOG:

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And a couple of nights after getting back, we saw the Musical Box, a tribute band for early Genesis; which they did not play the song Visions of Angels, if they had I would have likely burst into tears thinking back to the feelings I had in this building.

And so here.  All the feels I ever have.  This church and the previous Calatrava buildings, they brought it back, near as I can tell.  A buddy and I saw the Genesis tribute band the other night, and it swept me up.  FFS, I was walking over a bridge toward my office, listening to the new Mekons album and it brought tears to my eyes. Something- SOMETHING – has been repaired, somewhere.  Was it Gaudi?  Was it Spain?  Was it something else?  Dunno.  Should I care?  It feels good to feel something that has been missing….

 

well, hey.  You remember the other day, when I said Wisconsin was closed?  Well, we took a WHOLE GODDAM TWO DAYS OFF, not so much from the snow but from the 20 below temperatures right after.  But since then, we have had TWO fucking deep snowfalls, not to mention a couple of warm days in-between, which allowed some of the snow to melt, then get piled up behind the snow that did not melt, and then it all froze again.  Which then got covered by new snowfall, providing slip-n-fall hidden traps designed to kill Wisconsinites.

or, as the Eskimo say, kaniktshaq moritlkatsio atsuniartoq.  strictly translated, it says “Observe the snow. It fornicates.”  But the intent is clear:  LOOK AT ALL THE FUCKING SNOW.

This is the toughest snow year in a long time.  When I moved to Milwaukee, we had a snow year that had heroic piles of snow along side roads, and the intersections, you had to lean out and peer along to see if cars were coming.  And that was when I wasn’t even a property owner, where now I have to shovel that shit my own bad self (I keep an eye on the smartwatch, making sure I don’t over do it.  You know, if you read the past).

But this is what we do in Wisconsin.  We are all shoveling today, and tomorrow we will just go to work like normal.  Because we have boots and brandy.

So, now I got that off my chest, I have to get heavy.  Me, very heavy.

Some might expect that I might be talking about Ryan Adams, and I feel tough enough about that, but it’s not.  But it is related, in that his early work was released through an awesome label, Bloodshot Records in Chicago – they release Langford and Mekons content, and that should make them cool enough.

What I found out tonight is that the life partner of one of the founders of the label, was abusive and grabby toward one of the label’s artists.

This is appalling.

I friended this guy on Facebook, and have been a fan of his music.  I unfriended him tonight, as soon as I heard.

This is so sickening.  Every woman I know has these stories.  I start to look back and wonder, “when did I do something a woman did not appreciate and still hates me for?  And I don’t know when.  I feel queasy when I think it might have happened.  When I have been an employer, I never treated my employees in any other way, but maybe in my personal life….it makes me feel bad for anyone I might have.

FOR FUCKS SAKE, MEN, THIS IS NOT THAT HARD.  when they say no, they are not kidding.  back the fuck off, and if the deal changes, they will come back to you.  Being asked to call a cab is a pretty good indicator, don’t be a fucking rapist dick.

As has once been said, men are afraid that women will laugh at them.  Women are afraid that men will kill them.

The difference in power is what women say when they rail against the patriarchy, and the change is what men want to resist, because the status quo is a fucking good deal for them.

At this point, I don’t know what to say.  I am heartened that the Me Too movement is encouraging women (and men, let’s not forget the bravery of people like Terry Crews) to come forward even when the perpetrators are not the richest, most famous people.  The idea that this massive outpouring of stories of abuse and sexism need to stop being treated as some fakery by a small number of people, but that this is endemic, it exists everywhere.

I am very disheartened to find that people in the music industry I respect, have been embroiled in this.  I am particularly chagrined to find that a Musician I liked, is one of the perpetrators.

I think the only alternative is to continue and deepen the Me Too movement, in that people who feel that they have been abused in any way, come forward.  In a way, certainly that allows the accused (if named) to defend themselves or provide the alternative memory.

But this still taints me for musicians I liked.  And I hate them for that.

Related videos:

I recognize that second video is different, but as a black belt who helped teach women (and men) self defense techniques, I felt the attitude was good.

Meanwhile, guys, can you fucking just pull back a little?  Or a Lot?

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

OK, out of curiosity, I have watched the competing FYRE Festival documentaries. I was peripherally aware about the failure of this, but holy fucking shit, the complete cluelessness of a rich white guy who is able to convince people to send him money, it was like a new millennia version of a religious huckster. Oh wait, it was a more like a social media version of modern religious huckster.  Oh wait, it was like Trump decided to do a hipster music festival.
 
But seriously, what the hell did people think? Here in Milwaukee, we are home to the largest music festival in the world, over eleven days, serving more or less 100,000 people every day. When the festival ends, every year, they take a couple of weeks off and then start planning the next festival (in reality, I am pretty sure they start planning the next one during the current festival.  And since they are constantly rebuilding and improving the actual physical portions of the site every year, I figure they start planning well in advance of a year). And that is at a location that not only has dedicated facilities (including toilets!) but also the built in ability of an urban area to absorb the needed hotel rooms, traffic, parking and transit.
 
And not to mention that the festival grounds support various ethnic festivals, pretty much every weekend for the entire summer. And they all come together well, mainly because they are planned for most of a year in advance, and are based on expectation of infrastructure and support in place.
 
What I find absolutely inconceivable is that so many of the people involved, many of whom may have been admittedly very young and many of whom had no experience in planning or construction; at the same time there were others who were older and more experienced and had experience in how much effort it takes to do this kind of thing.
The Hulu version presents him as a con artist.  As a professional, I will not say I have not been burned by con artists.  But I will say that I could see early on that their plans did not make sense; I recognize that the normal thinking is that architects do no know anything about spending money, but the reality is that we have to run businesses like anyone else, and within a few years of working on many different ways of completing projects, it becomes apparent that it takes money.  It takes investment.  It takes time and it takes FUCKING EFFORT.
I often say that I have seen projects die for all kinds of reasons.  And a not uncommon one, is that the primary mover on the development team is either a scammer or he is completely clueless.
It was a minor example, but recently I was contacted by a building owner (through a reference). I actually was familiar with the building through a public improvement effort guided by the School of Architecture and Urban Planning, and the building is a small mess.  The owner said the inspectors told them they needed an architect, and I explained, patiently, that what they were trying to do required the entire building to be reviewed for current codes (which include Existing Building Codes, which can be complex).  When I sent him an estimate, he started to try to cut me down, piecemeal it, and otherwise dismiss the value of my fees.  After a couple of responses, I refused to be drawn; it was obvious he was going to dispute my bills at every step and that he wanted me to try to help him shortcut around building codes.  I have seen it before.  I cut him the fuck off.
What I wonder is why nobody else did that to this shithead?  I mean, he seems like a douchebro at best, how was it that no one saw that?
I do not pretend to some ability to magically find the real impulses behind various folks I deal with.  But I will say that after one bad example, I need see no further reason to work with them, and I have extended that to say to new clients “my insurer requires that I receive (and without saying, having the check clear) a retainer that is based on the scope, extent, and urgency of the services”  Because, you know it, your emergency based on your ignorance or idiocy does not allow me to ignore my current clients (or this current video game) unless you pay accordingly.
So how did all these people just give this guy some inconceivable amount of money, and the people working on it continue to work, when there is no amount of planning being done?  IN fact, the one guy who said the original island selected had NPO CHANCE of supporting the proposed number of attendees, and he said the only way they could support that number needed mooring a boat off shore.  Asshole said, ‘we are not doing the boat, and your services are no longer needed”.
Seriously, at that point, every professional on the project should have walked.
And the original island used to be owned by a drug lord, which was abandoned when he got arrested.  The contract for the island stipulated that the ownership of the island would not be mentioned, but the first marketing efforts prominently displayed his name.  Which voided the contract, leaving them scrambling to find another island.  With like 6 months to go.  I mean, fuck?
But I do not want to spoil too much, if you are interested.  Check them out, one on Hulu and one on Netflix.  You will be amazed at the blindness allowed by models and drugs.  Or maybe not.
OK, maybe I am just a fucking old guy, but what makes me wonder is the ability for people to ignore all the fucking warning signs.  This guy made his mark by creating a credit card that added fees to your existing credit card, for the privilege of having a credit card made out of metal.  The only surprise is this was not Trump-branded, except the Trump family doesn’t have that level of inventiveness.
Fuck.  I tried like hell to just be good at what I do.  When I started my first firm/partnership, with a woman and a Latino, we discussed whether we wanted to approach it as some kind of minority firm, but the rules said it had to be EITHER a woman, or a racial minority; and when we appealed, they just looked confused.  What did we think, forming a firm with one of each?  And none of us wanted to commit to 51% to one or the other, so the whole thing turned shitty and I bailed.  I named the damn firm, too.
So yeah, good at what I do.  I think I am.  Have won some awards.  More importantly, I have done projects that have had positive changes to local neighborhoods, and real families.
But I never cheat, I never scam, I never inflate my fees, I never blow smoke up anyone’s ass.  When I walk into a project, I always start a discussion about the difficulties and the hurdles we will see. When something goes wrong, i let the client know as soon as I can, so we can start working toward solutions.  In the case of serious changes to my fees, I do not bill until the situation is resolved.

OK, now I know why I am not rich.

The title is from a new bunch of young punks called the Interrupters, who have been championed by Green Day and Rancid.  As you may know, I am a huge huge HUGE fan of ska music from the old days of Twin Tone and such like, so I am partial.  So here is a song they did featuring Tim from Rancid.

But after that, the title is the title of their new album.  And given the new blood and new women in Congress, the feeling that we can bring the fight to the motherfuckers (RESPECT TO TLAIB) seems to be energizing, you know?

Oh, hell, here’s an extra one, and this is just for mikey:

Yeah.  Look at the new women in Congress.  They are kerosene, they are.  Back the fuck up, old white guys, it’s time to take a motherfucking torch to the old ways.

Don’t look at me.  Doctor Thompson and Kurt Vonnegut both told me that ‘motherfucker’ is a GOOD word.  As did Saint George Carlin and Lenny Bruce.

These guys will be playing the lovely Turner Hall in April, and I am guessing I will be there, skanking to the extent my aged bones and joints will allow.

BUT THAT”S NOT WHAT I CAME HERE TO TALK ABOUT (h/t to Uncle Arlo).

I came here to talk about the draft.  well no, I didn’t (And have I mentioned I am the chair of my local draft board?  I figured might as well as have an unrepentant liberal on there if the motherfucking draft ever gets reinstated, you know).  But no, I am not here to talk about that either.

I’m here to talk about Wisconsin politics NOW JUST SIT THE FUCK DOWN AND LISTEN.

Because after WAY more time enduring the reign of Turd-Koch-Waffle, and all the damage he has done (not to mention the stupid amount of damage he did to the county of Milwaukee while he was the STUPIDEST County Executive we ever had to endure (FUCK YOU VERY MUCH, WHITE SUBURBAN DISTRICTS), on Monday we get to kick him the fuck to the motherfucking curb.  (I am not happy about his plans after that, as I said recently).

Last year, I attended a fundraiser for our great and good Senator, Tammy Baldwin (an openly gay politician that even my old parents supported when she was a Madison politician, for which I love and respect them) at a local brew pub, with now (not then) Presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren, but still a superstar.  And while waiting in the mob, I recognized Tony Evers, who had just announced his run for Gov.  I shook his hand and said I wished him the best luck to which he smiled (he’s got a great smile) and said “We don’t need luck.  We’re going to win.”

They did.

On Monday, Evers will be inaugurated, as will his tremendously skilled and experienced administrative staff, who have to be terrifying the Republican lege, who are not used to opposition, let alone skilled opposition.  They are already running scared, in that they hurriedly passed unconstitutional and ridiculous laws saying “You’re not the boss of us“.

To which Evers is saying “fuck off and sue me if you don’t like it“.

That’s not too bad.  That’s the kind of thing we need more from more Democrats.  OH WAIT, the Democrats in the House are already doing that.

Evers has done a helluva job selecting his administration.  Which will be necessary, not because the Republicans are cunning or smart, but just because they have changed the districts to make them able to outweigh actual votes.  So it will take, as many do, a lot of work and never stopping, but look.  People like Vos and Fitzgerald are ridiculously stupid people, and if they can’t rely on cheating, they are barely competent.

One of my Imaginary Digital Friends is well involved with the Democratic Party, and he is attending the parties tomorrow night.  I hope he has a great time, and I am completely sure that everybody there will be ready to Fight the Good Fight on Tuesday.

Stay tuned for how we take Wisconsin back from the KOCHs.

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

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

Which makes this news all the more inexplicable and enraging.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

We All Die Young

Posted: October 8, 2018 in Fridge Note, Uncategorized

OK, this is weird and I am not certain.

There is a local neighborhood that I worked hard to design new residential and commercial design.  I became friends with the director of the district, and had much respect for him.  He died a little while ago.

I have talked about my participation in planning efforts in the past, and I worked on several projects in the area.  And some of them moved forward, in various forms, without me.  Whatever, you know.

But there are two really cool projects being opened up this week, and I have received invitations from several participants.

But here’s the thing(s).  one of the architects on the projects was my former partner.  And one of the developers on the project are ones that I have worked with much in the past.  And one of the architects is one that I worked with on a prior project, and another one whose principals I know from college….

But I called one of the developers the other day, and he was amazingly forthcoming in how he felt that those architects were unsatisfactory.  In fact, he said they had to discharge the firm that my former partner now heads up (and since I am a bitter zombie, I will  mention that she still uses the name I came up with) and that the other firm, whose principals I know from college, were difficult to work with.  It was weird for me to hear these comments, because that is not how I know these people, even though our other history is different.  I was politically silent and thanked him for his compliments he made toward me.

So here is where I am unclear and unable to make a firm decision.  I have been invited, by two different participants in the projects, to the grand opening on Tuesday.  (they threaten attendance by Scott Walker, but since this is Bronzeville, a predominantly African-American neighborhood, I think we are safe in figuring that he will not feel safe enough to show.)

These are projects I helped to move forward through participation in the amazing charrette efforts, not to mention my prior projects in the neighborhood, that were spearheaded by Welford, who became a good friend.

So, what I am struggling with, is do I show up?  Is that the best approach? I have no doubt that I can treat my former partners and colleagues in appropriate ways.  but Should I care?

Well, after writing this out, I recognize that being an adult and being able to leave all kinds of shit behind, also in recognition of the (un-prompted) badmouthing of my former colleagues and otherwise respected professionals, is that being there, and being gracious and professional, is going to be a best approach.

But this is my blog, so I get to work out my issues right here…..

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.

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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……..

One of the most difficult bargains we, as human persons, ever make is when we take small fuzzbuckets into our lives for care and comfort.  Knowing that their span of days is much less than ours; it is at one strike both lovely and amazingly blind to the eventual end, when a beloved friend has to go on to the find their place in the heart of the sun.

In our own damn house, we have been entitled to share and enjoy the companionship of three cats, one guinea pig, and one Big Hairy Dog, and this does not count my own personal track record with dogs, cats, and guinea pigs.  Not to mention the current roster of two cats and one Big Orange dog.

And whenever any one of them leaves us, we still feel the pangs of loss and sorrow.

I have been disdainful about the Orange, leaky-ass dog, but after the Event (I guess I may have to start referring to it as different timelines, like the New Star Trek universe.  Initial Timeline, Mekons timeline, how does that work?)  We were walking buddies.  I made her walk more briskly, as that was what my Watch said I needed, when she wanted to do sniffing and peeing….

And man;  I have to salute her ability to control her bladder and dispense it in small bits on all the best doggy places in the neighborhood.  I wish.

The New Timeline Event, where brisk walks are not the issue and I came out of the hospital with foot issues, I still like to take the Aging Buddy Walks.  But she gets tired, usually before  I do, and I am considerate to let her sniff and pee and take her time.

Because she starts to limp noticeably pretty early on a walk, and if we go too far she limps for a while after.  In fact, she is having problems with the stairs.

And here’s the thing.

Lucy and I were never the best of friends in the early days.  It was when I coined the “Lucy, the orange, leaky-assed dog” moniker, when she would sit on the couch and fart at me.

But when we both suddenly realized we were old, we came to terms.  Walking is a pack activity, and we did it.  For our own reasons, but there’s nothing wrong with that, you know?

And so tonight, I watched Lucy limp to her sleeping pad in the kitchen and not going upstairs because that entails a bunch of stairs, and it became plain that this is not going to be going on much longer.  And I remember back when our previous love, Mieshka, woke up in the morning with no ability to control her back half, and we knew there was no alternative but to schedule the Final Trip.  I carried her out to the yard for any pee or poop, and then carried her into the car and into the vet’s

Lucy’s nose has gone just as white as my own damn hair.  And our joints are similarly stiff, and we both need to walk more.  After a rough beginning in our relationship, we are suddenly congruent….

But here’s the thing.

 

When walking by her in the Kitchen, on my way to get a new drink, I recognize that she is struggling.  She limps from visits to the dog park or from long walks, but dammit she insists on these activities, because DOG.

But I know she is fading.

And the thing is, after all this weird history, I can now see that this is going to hit.  Hard.  HARD. Orange and I have been through so much in the past few years, and I now recognize she supported me during the heart attack and the Pulmonary Embolism, looking up to me and being so loving and willing to go for a walk at any given moment.

But the clock is ticking on that, and that is part of the fucking contract we enter into with fuzzbuckets when we take them into our lives and our hearts.

And this goddam stupid orange asshole has become part of our hearts, yeh, part of my stupid heart, and I know that when she can no longer be a big farting part of the world, I will carry her to whatever destinations, even if I am crying while I do so.

So here’s some before and after for the Beloved Orange:

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IMG_2076

 

Dammit, You big stupid orange dog, I love you.

Well, this has laid here barely twitching for about long enough, don’t you think?

Do not, however, think I am suddenly going to go all foul mouthed and rant-fueled.  I am somewhere else right now, and it probably has to do with my SECOND near miss involving my traitorous heart.

But I am currently on my third watch-through of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, and enjoying it as much as the first time, if not more.

It is a period piece from the 50s, about a woman who spent her entire life working toward the expectations of the time:  college for an MRS degree, jobs from the parents, kids, and apartments in the best parts of Manhattan.  BUT; her husband, having a stupid hobby of doing comedy in basement clubs, leaves her because she is funnier than he is (he relies on stealing from Bob Newhart records).

The night he leaves, she gets drunk and takes the train (for the first time) downtown to the grungy basement club and stumbles onto stage, where she free associates her frustrations and anger about being left, and then exposed her tits. Resulting in arrest, and which she managed to get bailed out at the same time as Lenny Bruce.

She doesn’t remember the thing about the boobs, but the scene where she completely misunderstands the legal process of courts is fucking adorable.

And during a terribly awry family get-together, she drinks up and then goes to the club, and the bartender says “here we go” for another great free-association rant.  And she is AMAZING at quashing anyone who tries to interrupt her or heckle/.

From there, it gets better, trust me. it is awash in period details,  and it is admittedly kind of a fantasy in the way it shows women at a time they were hardly allowed any agency outside of shopping for groceries.

So it’s kind of a fantasy.  But it has the rapid fire attitude of old school farces like Bringing Up Baby, but with an attitude and language that is contemporary.

And it visits the ideas of free speech and women’s rights in a way that is clever and humorous. AND it includes a cameo from Jane Jacobs, which very nearly dropped me to the floor laughing, because I realized I was one of the few that recognized her….

In any case, it is so well done, and so fucking funny and so fucking intense, I watched it once by myself, once with my wife, and once more by myself after I listened to the star, Rachel Brosnahan, on Marc Maron’s podcast.