Sunday, December 28, 2008

Quotes of the day:

Wandering in a vast forest at night, I have only a faint light to guide me. A stranger appears and says to me: "My friend, you should blow out your candle in order to find your way more clearly." This stranger is a theologian.

Denis Diderot, Addition aux Pensees philosophiques, from John Daintith, et al, eds. The Macmillan Dictionary of Quotations (2000) p. 34

Mankind shall not be free until the last king is strangled in the entrails of the last priest.
Denis Diderot, Dithyrambe Sur La Fête Des Rois

It is raining bombs on the house of the Lord. I go in fear and trembling lest one of these terrible bombers gets into difficulties.
Denis Diderot (1768). Quoted from and citation quip by Jim Herrick, Against the Faith (1985), p. 85.

It's the holiday season. But let's get some shit corrected.
Jesus was not born on the 25th. Jesus freaks stole the date from the pagans, who needed to use the Winter Solstice traditions to sucker tribes of unsuspecting and happy humans into buying their single Father God in Heaven who kills babies and sends plagues and death when he's in the mood. His ways and will work in mysterious ways.
And I'm sorry to say it, but the fat guy in the red suit and beard isn't all that, either.
Santa Claus doesn't know when you're bad or good. He's a fucked up mix of myths and ad copy made up to sell shit.
And the Baby Jesus does not care if you're being bad or good, or he'd be kicking the living shit out of the Israelites right now for bombing the shit out of Gaza and killing innocents and beating the shit out of a million folks who were unlucky enough to not be born Israelis.
Planting a god baby size foot right in the ass of the guys sending the bombs tonight.
And Easter? The next big holiday coming up? Also stolen by Jesus's control freaks from the pagans. But instead of having it be a celebration of fertility and springtime, the thieves turned the holiday into a gory spectacle celebrating nailing some poor dude to a tree.
In the church of my youth they took it a step further and turned it into ritual cannibalism. When you point that out to your Catholic relatives they tell you you're nuts. But what the hell other meaning does "body of Christ" have after that alter boy loving unmarried Priest says it to you?
There's even a nice vampire touch where they turn crappy wine into the blood of Christ. Of course, that politician child molester in the funny black robes is the only one who gets to drink the blood wine.

Coming up: New Year's Day! You know what that means.
It means BushCo only has 20 days left to fuck shit up!
Happy good fucking riddance to him, and the whole year of 2008.
Oh, and Obama? Fuck you for putting Rick Warren in your lineup of speakers. You and your team of misguided and calculating idiots.
But what do I know,according to Rick Warren, I'm morally equal to a pedophile. A dirty hippie to be tossed aside after giving Obama and the Democrats my vote, as usual.
I need a beer. Happy New Year's everybody!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Quote of the Day: Bruce Sterling, GEEK!

Forget trying to pass for normal. Follow your geekdom. Embrace your nerditude. In the immortal words of Lafcadio Hearn, a geek of incredible obscurity whose work is still in print after a hundred years, "Woo the muse of the odd." . . . You may be a geek. You may have geek written all over you. You should aim to be one geek they'll never forget. Don't aim to be civilized.

Don't hope that straight people will keep you on as some kind of pet. To hell with them. You should fully realize what society has made of you and take a terrible revenge.

Get weird. Get way weird. Get dangerously weird. Get sophisticatedly, thoroughly weird, and don't do it halfway. Put every ounce of horsepower you have behind it. . . .

Don't become a well rounded person. Well rounded people are smooth and dull. Become a thoroughly spiky person. Grow spikes from every angle. Stick in their throats like a pufferfish.

Bruce Sterling, speech on The Wonderful Power of Storystelling to the Computer Game Developers Conference, March 1991

Monday, December 15, 2008

Ho, Ho, Ho, Here's a Gallon of Snot

Things here at Hint of Dementia Research Labs have been rather bleeech. A rhinovirus of disturbing effectiveness has given Kori, Kate, and I a great deal of creeping crud, making our ears clogged and our heads woogly, turning our brains into semi-dyslex-ick muck and making our eyeballs feel like onions boiled in rancid corn oil.

Me anyway, that's how I feel. Sweetie's just coming down with it, and is descending into mushy brained mucus laden despairing human flesh for a few days.

It's a pretty virulent virus too, I know of at least a dozen other folks who have had this in the last two weeks. I know one of them gave it to me. But I try not to take viruses personally.
It does not make for much creative flow, these rivers of snot. And I've been cogitatin' on how freaky things are, not wanting to write about them, because it makes me feel like the priestess of gloom, thinking and blogging about the end of Bush and the end of things as we knew them.
But at our mostly godless pagan Solstice Party on Saturday, a few folks told me they liked what I had been writing, so I think I'll start cogitating on my keyboard here instead of just thinking and ranting at the coffee house.

There's something about this time of year that makes me want to crawl into a warm bed every night around eight pm and hibernate.
The short days, the often grey skies, and the frigid air all combine to make the remaining parts of my brain left over from our pre industrial days want to just shut down till the days get longer.

I'd like to find the guy who decided money and mass production were the only ways to measure and make things and shove a sharp stick in his eye.
And as long as I am searching for pointy stick in the eyeball candidates, how about adding the folks who made the idea of sharing things and having a life beyond buying and selling and putting a dollar value on everything from human heartbeats to nature itself, and give them another sharp stick lobotomy?
Then again, there are so many shallow thinkers and greedy shitheads out there we'd run out of sticks. Expecting a lot for no work is how we got into this big money mess.

Sweetie and Mikey were talking about socialism the other day, and how so many people have a knee jerk reaction that sharing things is bad when you're an adult, but what you're told to do when you're a kid.

Few folks ever question our "free market system" or capitalism, but god forbid any hint of socialism.

Funny how greed trumps love once you're an adult.

Bundle up folks, it's cold out there today. I wish you unbroken furnaces and hot tea as needed.

Clusterfu*k Nation: Kunstler on the future

He';s good today, go read him.

The economy we're moving into will have to be one of real work, producing real things of value, at a scale consistent with energy resource reality. I'm convinced that farming will come much closer to the center of economic life, as the death of petro-agribusiness makes food production a matter of life and death in America -- as opposed to the disaster of metabolic entertainment it is now.

Reorganizing the landscape itself for this finer-scaled new type of farming is a task fraught with political peril (land ownership questions being historically one of the main reasons that societies fall into revolution). The public is completely unprepared for this kind of change.

We still think that "the path to success" is based on getting a college degree certifying people for a lifetime of sitting in an office cubicle. This is so far from the approaching reality that it will be eventually viewed as a sick joke -- like those old 1912 lithographs of mega-cities with Zeppelins plying the air between Everest-size skyscrapers.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Salt and Plastic

So, I drove out to Farm and Fleet today, with a stop at Woodman's. It's snowing like crazy and the salt trucks are out dumping tons of sodium into the local environment, all of which drains right into the aquifer over time.
This raises sodium in the water, which we then consume and it tends to add to overall high blood pressure problems as well as stressing out our local aquatic systems, which Madison is famous for.
So we salt the roads to be safe today, while poisoning the water table. Instead of just driving slower, using sand or not driving at all.
Then I went into the grocery store, where nearly everything is packaged in plastic, from the celery to the extra bag they stuck my lip gloss and bottle of ibuprofen in.
This happened when I wasn't looking, because I was busy loading my reusable bag, made from plastic garbage recycled into another use. For some reason that escapes me, grocery stores feel a need to put items in plastic into bags of plastic to keep them away from all the plastic wrapped items they feel they have to sell you.
Why the hell you need plastic wrap on celery or lettuce escapes me. I just peel off the outer layer and put it in the compost bin.
Of course, a huge amount of plastic washes into our rivers, then out to our oceans, which then degrades into toxic debris that attracts all the pesticides and chemical soup we make to make the plastic that covers everything.
There's an area full of plastic bigger than Texas in the Pacific, growing bigger every year, killing off a huge chunk of ocean that used to have organic debris in it that fed the aquatic life.
People demand salted roads, demand plastic coverings and obsess over safety for their kids. The same kids that will inherit a world with a toxic ecosystem that's teetering on the edge of system crashing climate change. The ones being born with defects and long term health problems due to exposure to plastic chemical residues.

Fuckin' up the future to make sure that your little bundle of DNA is safe today is pretty much how we do things.
Some days I am amazed at how short sighted we are, driving our way to extinction and making sure we're covering everything with plastics that mimic estrogenic compounds so our kids can grow up with serious health problems.

In the end, it won't matter, because we're already setting the stage for what comes after us. I wonder if there's a bigger scheme of things, if that's not our job, to bring on the changes that shift the world over to the next step for life on earth.

I find the whole idea that there's a higher power using us to fuck over the current ecosystem rather amusing.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

What I noticed at Woodman's Grocery on Tuesday

Signs things are getting ugly:

The canned soup aisle in Woodman's is jammed with people, and canned soup company stocks are going up in value, fast.

There's a section of the frozen meat bin at Woodman's where the put the discounted meats and sausages that need to be used. For years, I've gotten things like sausage out of it for making beans and casseroles, and most people ignored it, and it was usually half full. Today, when I first looked, it was empty. Moments later, there was a big pile of things added. A half hour later, it was empty again. People are getting less picky.

The generic store brands are almost all off the shelves, while the more expensive brands of the same foods remain fully stocked.

The discounted produce they sell in 79 cent bags at the front of the store? You're lucky to find anything there anymore. Even last summer, there were usually a half dozen bags of apples, pears or whatever else they overstocked.

And the Oil Change service they offer at the gas station? Last summer it started to slow, now it seems like there's hardly ever a line.
That's just what I noticed this morning.

Folks are getting nervous. You can feel it and see it and hear it if you're not too busy whistling in the dark and bitching about those damn liberals/queers getting married/colored folks taking over the guvament'.
Even the idea of banks being "too big to fail" has become common talk.
Nothing is too big to fail. Everything that exists in time runs out of time someday.
Our whole world has become obsessed with optimizing everything, squeezing every last dollar out and making everything in our lives subject to the idea of "just in time delivery". We have no slack, no cushion, be it in cash reserves for banks or warehouses full of food, spare parts or the consumer products we actually need when we take a hit, be it in the markets or when disaster strikes.
And if you don't think it strikes, remember what happened to New Orleans. Then think of what global warming induced drought and hurricanes, or another big California earthquake would do to our already messed up system.

Meanwhile, the government is busy making up trillions of dollars of money out of thin air to bail out a bunch of fantasy economic concepts and the liars who knew they were bad ideas.
They're busy watering down what our money is worth when it comes to buying things we actually need, like food, fuel and housing.

I think that within six months to a year we're going to see ugly inflation because of this.
You can only pour so much water in the soup before it stops being soup. And nobody is really doing anything to stop the worst parts of the bailout, because we elected spineless democrats and are too busy ignoring what our evil and dull witted President is doing on the way out the door.

Fun times ahead. Better start building a tribe/community/family outside your blood relatives, because you're going to need it. And learn how to garden in your front yard, get used to riding bikes and learn to cook from scratch.
You might even find it more fun in the long run than our doomed present lifestyle. I know I feel better from having made those choices.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Quote of the Day:Letting Things Break Down

From Bob Herbert, Via the New York Times:
The idea that the nation had all but stopped investing in its infrastructure, and that officials in Washington have ignored the crucial role of job creation as the cornerstone of a thriving economy is beyond mind-boggling. It’s impossible to understand.
Impossible, that is, until you realize that bandits don’t waste time repairing a building that they’re looting.

This ends the quote of the day, for those of you who have attention spans long enough to read two short paragraphs.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Must Read: On Sustainablity- Bruce Sterling

"What is "sustainability?" Sustainable practices navigate successfully through time and space, while others crack up and vanish. So basically, the sustainable is about time -- time and space. You need to re-think your relationship to material possessions in terms of things that occupy your time. The things that are physically closest to you. Time and space.
In earlier, less technically advanced eras, this approach would have been far-fetched. Material goods were inherently difficult to produce, find, and ship. They were rare and precious. They were closely associated with social prestige. Without important material signifiers such as wedding china, family silver, portraits, a coach-house, a trousseau and so forth, you were advertising your lack of substance to your neighbors. If you failed to surround yourself with a thick material barrier, you were inviting social abuse and possible police suspicion. So it made pragmatic sense to cling to heirlooms, renew all major purchases promptly, and visibly keep up with the Joneses.
That era is dying. It's not only dying, but the assumptions behind that form of material culture are very dangerous. These objects can no longer protect you from want, from humiliation -- in fact they are *causes* of humiliation, as anyone with a McMansion crammed with Chinese-made goods and an unsellable SUV has now learned at great cost.
Furthermore, many of these objects can damage you personally. The hours you waste stumbling over your piled debris, picking, washing, storing, re-storing, those are hours and spaces that you will never get back in a mortal lifetime. Basically, you have to curate these goods: heat them, cool them, protect them from humidity and vermin. Every moment you devote to them is lost to your children, your friends, your society, yourself.
It's not bad to own fine things that you like. What you need are things that you GENUINELY like. Things that you cherish, that enhance your existence in the world. The rest is dross.
Do not "economize." Please. That is not the point. The economy is clearly insane. Even its champions are terrified by it now. It's melting the North Pole. So "economization" is not your friend. Cheapness can be value-less. Voluntary simplicity is, furthermore, boring. Less can become too much work.
The items that you use incessantly, the items you employ every day, the normal, boring goods that don't seem luxurious or romantic: these are the critical ones. They are truly central. The everyday object is the monarch of all objects. It's in your time most, it's in your space most. It is "where it is at," and it is "what is going on."
It takes a while to get this through your head, because it's the opposite of the legendry of shopping. However: the things that you use every day should be the best-designed things you can get. For instance, you cannot possibly spend too much money on a bed -- (assuming you have a regular bed, which in point of fact I do not). You're spending a third of your lifetime in a bed. Your bed might be sagging, ugly, groaning and infested with dust mites, because you are used to that situation and cannot see it. That calamity might escape your conscious notice. See it. Replace it. "

Monday, November 17, 2008

Baby Loves Jesus

Need to put some music to this, it popped into my head while doing the dishes the other day. It's about somebody from my past I haven't seen in over thirty years.

baby loves jesus
and crystal meth
born again and headed
for an early death
tryin' to keep up
left me out of breath
I remember a time
when we were something fine
had ourselves a real good time
rolling in the wet grass
up on clem's hill
the stars so bright
time was standing still
we were gonna be something
gonna go far
but she never got far
from that corner bar
the drunks and the creeps
and the redneck freaks
turned her into another tweaker
but now my baby loves jesus
and crystal meth
born again and headed
for an early death
tryin' to keep up
left me out of breath

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Another Fine Gig At The Alchemy

The madman and the cranky old guitar player,
photographed by Kori

The MF7 played the Alchemy bar last night. It was raw, rude, wreckless and a damn hoot.

It was a good crowd, lots of my tribe showed up, and we made new pals and some converts.

The boys rocked, I got to play snarling lead all over the place, doing lots of feedback and snake bite leads. Mikey busted out a lead on his wanker Eddie Van Halen guitar that sounds oddly acoustic, and Fry and Jonathon blew me away with unexpected and funky moments that make dragging all the heavy shit down to the bar and going a bit more deaf worth it.
And the beer was free for us, at least. I love gigs like last night where we don't have to share the stage with three other bands.

I hate the way the bars in this town usually have three bands in a night. When I started playing music it was usually just one band a night, three sets of music and you had to be good enough to hold people's attention for more than just one too short set.

Yeah, the third set was and is still a hard one, usually playing to what often is an empty bar. And you get tired, and last night mildly drunk on IPA, so you get sloppy.
But sometimes there's a great mayhem in sucking during a set that I like.
Usually by one AM the crowd's drunk enough to not care how many wrong notes you hit if you act like you mean it.
This band is more about rolling with things and letting chaos open doors than anything I've been in. And it's sorely lacking in big ego problems.
I love Michael's one constant and standing order:

"be brilliant"

It was a long fun day of music, starting with practice down at The Madison Music Foundry and ending at two AM when we rolled into the driveway. And it blew out a lot of the carbon in my brain, having that foot on the pedal all night.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Quote of the Day:Robert Heinlein

History does not record anywhere at any time a religion that has any rational basis. Religion is a crutch for people not strong enough to stand up to the unknown without help. But, like dandruff, most people do have a religion and spend time and money on it and seem to derive considerable pleasure from fiddling with it.
Robert A. Heinlein

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Another Show Coming up!

Hey! Another Alchemy Show!

Saturday 11/15!

Nine Thirty PM!
Just us, no three or four band freakshow of wannabe rockers with expensive guitars and day jobs being weekend warriors,
playing through giant amps they can't turn up loud enough to be good.
Just us four low rent fabu-luss freaks beating the music into a pulp and drinking fine Alchemy beer.
And it's free!
Nuff' said, time to go pray to my pagan homo gods that nice dark skinned and eloquent man opens a can of MegaWhoop Ass on the crabby old man and his wretched running mate.
(original poster art by the master himself, Jack Kirby!)

Monday, November 03, 2008

Lyrics of the day: Paul Simon

American Tune
Words & music by Paul Simon
Many's the time I've been mistaken
And many times confused
Yes, and I've often felt forsaken
And certainly misused
Oh, but I'm all right, I'm all right
I'm just weary to my bones
Still, you don't expect to be
Bright and bon vivant
So far away from home, so far away from home
And I don't know a soul who's not been battered
I don't have a friend who feels at ease
I don't know a dream that's not been shattered
or driven to its knees
but it's all right, it's all right
for we lived so well so long
Still, when I think of theroad we're traveling on
I wonder what's gone wrongI can't help it,
I wonder what's gone wrong
And I dreamed I was dyingI dreamed that my soul rose unexpectedlyAnd looking back down at me
Smiled reassuringly
And I dreamed I was flying
And high up above my eyes could clearly see
The Statue of Liberty
Sailing away to sea
And I dreamed I was flying
We come on the ship they call the Mayflower
We come on the ship that sailed the moon
We come in the age's most uncertain hours
and sing an American tune
Oh, and it's alright, it's all right,
it's all right
You can't be forever blessed
Still, tomorrow's going to be another working day
And I'm trying to get some rest
That's all I'm trying to get some rest
Fits my mood these days, these lyrics.
And on another note, or perhaps I should say several thousand notes, tonight my funky fun band is playing at The Frequency around nine thirty. The high point of my week, I suspect. At least until I hear Obama won, or we play again next Saturday at the Alchemy bar.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Monoculture America

I hate lawns. They're a gigantic waste of energy, time and represent the worst things about our culture.
I suspect they're a holdover from our former owners in the British Isles, because a lawn in the old times came from people needing clear lines of fire and pasture around the castles. Somewhere along the line, people came to equate lawns with wealth.
We have multi billion dollar industries devoted to them, and a whole culture that worships them. People wait all week to mow their fucking lawns. They dump huge amounts of chemicals on them, destroy every thing in them that's not exactly what their narrow vision block headed desire insists should be there.
They pump tons of exhaust into their own local environment, right into their own kid's lungs, fill the local waterways and children's skin with pesticides, fertilizers and waste gasoline and oil spills.

They rake, blow and whack them to eliminate anything that might make for a healthy ecosystem.
Then, they sit back and admire the total lack of diversity. All the while driving the bees and butterflies to the edge of death or out to the edge of town. And the edges of town are getting pretty far away.
And instead of growing food in their yards, the drive a gas hog to the grocery store and buy terrible tomatoes and tasteless lettuce driven thousands of miles.
And it's symbolic of the way suburbs think about a lot of things. They're nice safe places, where dark skinned people rarely go, where the queers get driven out, and where everybody agrees that god, family and country are the really important things. Places the often don't even allow gardens.

Shortsighted and stupid to a degree that escapes me, we have millions of people in this country who embrace the STUPID of lawns.

Even my own sweet mother suffers from the monoculture lawn syndrome. It's taken me years to get her to let me put some raised beds in her yard, and all summer long she doted over them, weeded them and talked about how much her boring ass neighbors loved her flowerbeds.

I have almost no lawn left. Just the front terrace between my sidewalk and street. And next summer, I think I'll put in some flowerbeds.
I'd put in some vegetables, but the STUPID human monkeys who drive their kids to school all year long would just cover the plants with exhaust fumes. Or trample the garden beds as their fat little entitled special snowflake larvae looking brats try to tug their bloated by corn syrup bodies into the rolling death machines their parents drive them to school in, because we're too stoooopid as a society to actually let our kids walk, or walk with them.

But enough about lawns.
We have a little less than three days to go, and we'll know if we have a nice new President Obama to look forward to hounding into doing the right thing, or riding along in the drunken clown car that is a GOP government that ignores us, helpless passengers in the back seat with a mean old bastard and his Witch fearing,G dropping idiot opportunist godbag Vice President in the front seat.
Please, for god sake, get out and vote for that nice dark skinned fella. Because a vote for Blinky and Winky, AKA Bible Spice and McCrank is a vote for more things going right into the open cesspool of evil Stupid.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Sweet little pussycat

"Ligers are the offspring of a male lion mating with a tigress, and they are known to be enormous (see picture) and tremendously fierce. It's unclear why combining male lion DNA with female tiger DNA results in a creature who is much bigger than either species. "

We ever get a cat, I want one of these. And a big shed full of guys like Fred Phelps, Lew Dobbs, Jerry Falwell and the entire new crew from Fox News to feed to them.
They do profess to be Christians, so why not be a fan of tradition and let them be martyrs?
Four days to go, I hope the country moves beyond the fear and smear mindset we've been having shoved down our throats.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Jesus, Chrysler

The German automaker has depreciated its stake in Chrysler to zero from $268 million at the end of June, the company said Thursday. A little over a year ago, the company valued its 19.9% stake in Chrysler at $2.2 billion

Wow, think about that. From a bogus two billion and change to ZERO in a little over a year. The death of cars as we know them is on the way.
Not only that, the morons at GM are buying them. The same morons who refused to consider building anything but gas hog SUV's for the last two decades and now want bailout money to build slightly more efficent death machines so people can get fat driving in our stupidly built cities where nobody walks or bikes out of fear of becoming roadkill.
A few well placed bombs in the Suez canal and one or two tankers being blown up by not very determined assholes would make our oil supply clog up faster than a regular diner at Burger King's arteries.
All those people who thought a house in Black Earth or Verona or Scum Prarie are gonna be sorry when gas becomes an overpriced luxury again.
We're a nation of morons. If I wasn't a bottom feeder who is going to feel the pain of the oncoming new great depression, I'd be laughing at the massive failure of our economy and shitbrained greedy system of money grubbing jerks.
Add in the TRILLIONS of dollars the Fed is making appear out of thin air and your dollar isn't going to even the heat bills, let alone the gas for your commute.
And of course, all the folks who vote down light rail or mass transit because their SUV was so much more pleasant and you could avoid actually rubbing shoulders with the rest of the human tribe will be bitching about being screwed by their votes.
Better start riding bikes now, folks. It's gonna get ugly. You'll have a leg up if you do. Or a leg over, anyway.

Sunday, October 26, 2008


The forecast called for frost
I thought tonight
the remains of the garden
would be lost
but once again it's not too cold
I love having a garden. I started gardening in Oshkosh back in the early eighties when I lived in the octagon shaped house on Pleasant street.
I grew tomatoes next to the garage, got addicted.
This year we planted rutabagas for the first time, and they were happy.
Freakin' huge, but very happy as this pile of pixels shows.
I still don't understand people who don't plant gardens, because it's real food for next to nothing, and you get to plant all sorts of freaky stuff like castor beans, giant sunflowers and rainbow chard.
After a few seasons of watching stuff go from dirt high to frozen dead, growing as tall as 15 feet, then dying, you start to get an sense that these solar cycles we're taking for granted are a gift.
Plus, it feels good to have a basement full of salsa, tomato sauce, squash, jam and grape juice you made yourself, and a freezer stuffed with bags of hops to make beer with.

Quote of the Day: Common Sense

"Common sense is the collection of prejudices aquired by age 18"


Saturday, October 25, 2008

Costco Moment

My pal J. needed some things from Costco. I got a membership, so I said, sure, let's go to a giant big box store filled with corn syrup loaded crap and huge piles of semi-quality shit.

So we hopped in her little car with her two freakishly smart kids, a three year old and a one and half year old.

Halfway through this child ridden expedition, I noticed her older boy hanging off the back of the shopping cart, and I said to him "careful there, kid, you might fall off and hit your head and become dumb enough that you grow up to be a republican.
Not that it matters what I say to a three year old, but at that point, this older woman (me using that term with some caution, since she was only a decade or so older than the pile of reproduction errors and bad attitudes that comprise me) turns and says "oh, no, we can't have that!".

Not what I expected to hear over in Middleton, home of every ugly freakin' chain restaurant and the source of developer's wet dreams when it comes to building disposable culture and buildings.
Then she looked at me and said, " I even called up the McCain campaign and told them to knock of the negative ads!".

I thought that was pretty damn cool to hear. It gives me some hope that we might start turning things around. I sure would like to think that.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Quote of the Day: Apple Pie

"If you want to bake an apple pie from scratch, you must first create the Universe."
Carl Sagan
Actually, I don't go quite that far in my freakish efforts to make stuff from scratch. I stop at making up my own reality from the universe around me, the one my eyeballs and senses have taken in.
Funny, but when I think about it, taste is the sense we have that has caused me the least distress.
You can't taste roadkill, John McCain, Richard Nixon or your beloved dead grandmother unless you have a desire to dig up the dead or chew on the zombie corpse of rich bastard politicians selling their souls for a grasp of power.
But here at Hint of Dementia labs, we do make a lot from scratch ingredients already in this reality.
Burritos, guitar amplifiers, musical instruments, kitchen cabinets and countertops, wood carvings and giant castor beans, salsa, computers from parts, bicycles from scavenged parts, pinhole cameras and pie and jam.
And coffee. And now I think I'll go for a walk in the rain and eat pie and coffee somewhere.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

MF7 Gigs

Mikey and Fry and Jonathan played a few gigs last month.
One set at my old bandmate Bob's party in the park called Thurberfest, where we put on a rockin' but drummerless set, and then a truly wild fun gig at the Alchemy, formerly Wonders Pub.
We rocked the house, and Jonathan made it down for the show.
He is a killer drummer, both subtle and driven.
I like playing with these guys. Nobody phones it in, everybody wants to play their asses off, and the ego factor is pretty minimal.
Micheal's songs are funky weird, sort of a cross between Jack Johnson and Tom Waits, but with his own sensibilities and lyrical skills taking front and center.
And Fry, what can I say? He's one bad ass mofo with some serious gravitas.
I love leaning into his big throbbing bass and solid frame.
I have no idea how long this band will stick around, but I hope it's a long time. I get to really grind away with my cheap ass Les Paul copy and the big ass amp my buddy Micheal Bryant gave me.
I am starting to thing guys named Micheal are above average.

Monday, October 20, 2008


Me n' dollface and my Castor Beans in the garden, last week.

It's been a strange month or so, and the sheer weirdness of watching the hyper-capitalist dream grind itself apart while BushCo runs out the clock has left me feeling like doing more thinking about all the strange possibilities to come than blogging.
I've been battening down my mental hatches before the storm, so to speak.
It's also been an ugly season of politics, one that makes me want to shut off my computer and go for a walk. The kind that takes six months and to somewhere where there's a temperate climate beach. Hopefuly after McCain's effort to feed the dogs of hate crashes.
I don't have much hope for Obama being able to do much but manage inherited crisis after crisis, but that cranky old bastard McCain has proved he's about as evil as they come the last few days.
And his running mate is even more of a freak and liar and danger to us all.

Kori and I did our road trip, driving down to Erick and Missy and Gene and Kathleen's hometown of Athens.
We played pinball, worked on guitars, I got to play about a dozen nice Les Pauls of varying age and make, through filthy amps that made my bones rattle and my nipples hard.
Kori spent two days geeking out fixing a Twilight Zone and an Addams Family pinball machines. She loved it.
We left Athens on the day the remains of Hurricane Ike lashed Ohio, Indiana and big parts of the Midwest.
It sucked. Really, really sucked. I wrestled the truck through winds up to sixty miles per hour for nine hours before we stopped in Indianapolis for the night, and it took stopping at three different hotels before we found one with electricity.
The next day we rolled west to the Mississippi, taking what seemed like a thousand years to cross the ugly boring flat fields of Illinois.
We hit the big river and started cruising up the river road. It was pleasant enough driving, but we were amazed by the lack of local joints to find some food at. We found nothing worth stopping at until we hit Galena.
Galena is an old town, filled with well preserved buildings, amazingly well built.
But it's a TOURIST HELL. Really. It's about as fucking overpriced and ugly as I could imagine, and I do not lack imagination. We tried to find a joint for lunch, but all we found was snooty overpriced joints selling nine dollar hamburgers.
There is no hamburger worth nine dollars. For god's sake, it's machine chewed dead cow, not prime steak.
We walked up and down the main street, filled with overpriced knickknacks and six dollar Carmel apples, through a cloud of white people perfume thick enough to kill flying cockroaches. Why do so many middle aged white women feel the need to drench themselves in fake stink?
We both voted with our feet, slogged through the zombie upscale shoppers and hopped back into the truck and headed back along the river road.
About an hour later we saw the first road sign pointing to Madison and both decided we'd had enough driving and blew off the last night of our trip to head for home.
I'll post some photos later of the pinball repair. I didn't even bother taking any in Galena, the whole town is a doomed high end snob shell of it's self.
When the big inflation spiral starts after Bush slinks out of the back door of the White house, that place is going to be emptier than an overflowing porta-potty.
Sure looked good from the second story up, though.
We also descended into the bowels of the earth and took a trip to the big lake they call Gitchee Gumme, but more about that later.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Quote of the Day: Desmond Morris

...we are, despite all our great technological advances, still very much a simple biological phenomenon. Despite our grandiose ideas and our lofty self-conceits, we are still humble animals, subject to all the basic laws of animal behaviour. ...We tend to suffer from a strange complacency..that there is something special about us, that we are somehow above biological control. But we are not. Many exciting species have become extinct in the past and we are no exception. Sooner or later we shall go, and make way for something else. If it is to be later rather than sooner, then we must take a long, hard look at ourselves as biological specimens and gain some understanding of our limitations.
Desmond Morris

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Quote of the Day: Stephen Hawkings

We are just an advanced breed of monkeys on a minor planet of a very average star. But we can understand the Universe. That makes us something very special.
Stephen W. Hawking

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Quote of the Day: Einstein on Fantasy

When I examine myself and my methods of thought, I come to the conclusion that the gift of fantasy has meant more to me than my talent for absorbing positive knowledge.

Albert Einstein
Sweetie and I are off for a road trip, over to Athens,Ohio to see our pals who fix and build guitars, then we're headed over to Springfield to the big river, to follow it up to near LaCrosse, where we'll head back home.
I hope to post some photos along the way, depending on where we stop for food and lodging.
I pray to god we don't run into any problems with his rabid, nut job, bible slamming-old testament followers.
It would suck to be accosted by Pentecostals.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Quote of the day: Monkeyfun and Water Breaking

From a text message from my musical Pal Michael, who's wife is pushing out a little baby human:

yeah, it was a shitload of monkeyfun!

jessica's water broke this morning. at the hospital right now.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Quote of the Day: From an Email

From an email I got about a half hour ago, a sentence worthy of a Tom Waits song:

"Elmer's brother drifted north after being abandoned by fellow carnies after a fair in Iowa. "

Mikey's 000 Guitar

He built this in my shop, albeit with some help from me.
Love the shit eating grin people get when they finish and start playing a guitar they built.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Nude, Downtown Milwaukee, 1993

She was a model who came into our studio for a commercial shoot, saw my nudes on the wall and asked me to photograph her.
Of course, I said, but where?
She says, "I got this realtor buddy in Milwaukee can get me into an empty insurance company building".
So we went, and shot photos, and it was an amazing afternoon.
Even better, we had beer and french fries afterwards.
I shot this with my giant Pentax, a big camera that took huge two by three ish negatives, printed in in a real darkroom that reeked of fixer and acetic acid and had some very good speakers left at the studio by a convicted drug dealer.
Don't miss darkrooms, at all. Photoshop and a good digital are much more immediate, and I never have to worry about film getting wrecked, or buying paper, film or chemicals.
I say, fuck the romance of film, give me instant gratification and freedom from stinky darkrooms.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Another Family Portrait

Bob and his two girls, Megan and Maddy.
Sometime around April 2003
I hated Bob for a year or two. Now I can stand to be around him, having patched up our friendship after he went FUCKING INSANE and kicked me out of his band after five years.
I gotta say, though, I don't miss the energy suck passionless bass player, though. Or the cello player who just noodles away on every song, playing the same thing and never standing out with a solo.
Not even a little bit.
I almost enjoy Bob sometimes now, oddly enough. Some days I still miss playing music with him, and Gail. She's a drum goddess.
Children are soo beautiful, aren't they?

Friday, August 29, 2008

Bus Station Window, 1979

She was standing in the window of the Greyhound Bus Station on a drizzly fall day in Oshkosh, gazing out into the gray sky, off to somewhere besides the beat down town we were both in that day.
I was new to photography, taking classes at the UW, avoiding the real world by diving into college after deciding that getting an upholstery degree and working in a garage in a small backyard somewhere in northern Wisconsin was a kind of boring hell I could live without.
I had just gotten into photography, had a beat up Nikon and a wide angle lens I fell in love with.
I was messing around with sneaky camera angles, not looking through the lens and stealing photographic moments when I grabbed this shot.
I loved her braids, the fur collar coat and the way she showed in the parts of the window in the shadow of the building across the street.
About a year later, I flamed out of UW-Oshkosh, a lousy student who cared more about doing art than taking classes I never wanted to be in.
I moved back to my hometown, got a job working on my dad's logging crew running a chainsaw all winter long, or driving a log skidder in subzero weather, working running a riding stable at the summer camp I grew up at.
But I never stopped taking photos, and wound up back in Oshkosh a few years later, drawn back by a sort of twisted relationship with a woman who was too much like my father, and because my dad quit working and died that same year.
I got a job working for one of my teachers at his commercial photo studio and stayed there for another ten years, through even more messed up relationships until I got told to leave by everyone from my ex sweetie to my boss.
I pretty much gave up photography until a few years ago, settling for snapshots on vacation. The way things came apart were ugly, and for a long time I avoided it, because it stirred up too many bad feelings about how things went so wrong back in Oshkosh.
That bus station's gone, and I never did learn who that woman was.
But I am glad I took that photograph, it really captures a moment, and while I was in it, I was young and full of ideas, and as my old man would say, piss and vinegar.
Oddly enough, I spend most of my time working in the backyard in a small garage these days. But I'm building guitars and not recovering ugly ass couches from the 70's with naugahide for cranky old retired republican church ladies, and the shop garage I have now is in a community far more engaged and alive than my home town up north ever was.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

My Mother's hands

I I used to really groove on black and white photos. Rarely did I shoot color.
I like color better now. But I think I'm also less dramatic these days.
Being in too many bands can burn out your melodrama gland.
I think that's not such a bad thing.
Mom's 81 this year. I wonder how many people have eaten food cooked by these hands, she's been a cook since she was about 15, has run giant supper club/wedding halls, cooked a few decades at a summer camp, and met my father when she got the job as a cook at a restaurant he owned.
That was about sixty years ago, in the same small town she's living in still.
I grew up in big kitchens, surrounded by giant mixers, deep fryers and ovens, and a swarm of folks at dinner that were not blood family, and I think I'm the better off for it. It taught me early that family is more than shared DNA and blood.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Bill, 1988, 2008

Hate to say it, but I think Bill and I might be getting old.
We have been hanging out together since 1983 or so.
Funny how you can look at old photos and somewhere along the line,
you realize a few decades ripped past.
I like both Bills, although the old soft furry hippie look was
my favorite.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

My Alien Supermodel Sweetie

Wild thing, you make my heart sing
wild thing, I think I love you

Ok, maybe she doesn't look like this to our pals.
But when you get close enough, and you have astigmatisim,
everybody looks weird when you kiss them.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Salsa Security, and Tomatoes down and up the wazoo

This morning's harvest.
Two more like this to come this season, I bet.
I loves me some BLT action. Those fat brandywines are the best, ever
for BLT sammiches.

Salsa security, my bitches. When the winter gets cold, I'm gonna heat things up with some of this six or so gallons of salsa.

That is all, now go get some kinda life and stop surfing this series of tubes.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Random Brain Flash: I Will Never Be The GOP Presidential Candidate

Any resemblance to John McCain, owner of as many as ten houses, and this young lady clutching too many dolls is purely sadistic on my part.
But I'm a bottom feeder dirty hippie, so what I say doesn't count.

Random thought of the day: I have at least four or five tire gauges. I found them cleaning the shop and the back room yesterday and this morning. While I was doing this, I took a nanosecond to remember how many houses I have, and what kind of car I drive. And since I knew the answer was that I only have one house and one car, and that I knew the make and model,I decided that I could never be a Republican candidate for President. Then again, I have to drive my car myself, and my household staff budget is several hundred thousand dollars less than some folks I read about, so maybe it's easier for me to keep track of these things.. I was once in a nine or so bicycle-cade group going to a coffee shop, though.

But it wasn't a Starbucks, and we didn't have armored bikes. And I didn't have a latte. Bleech, hate lattes and cappucinos. I thought most republicans did too, because they always talk about us Latte sippin' Volvo driving bleeding heart wannabe surrender monkey sodomite libuuurls. But I guess that's ok when John McCain wants one like he did last week.

It makes sense. Only somebody who was desperate and had no other choice, or who who has more money than sense would go drink Starbuck's charred bean infused bovine mammary secretion drinks.

Do you ever wonder if there's a lab somewhere filled with doctors and cyborg service people who perform brain-o-suction on people who run for office as Republicans? Suck out the firm moral and empathic sections of their brains and replace it with a chewy, gooey center that contains receptors for talking points?

Imagine a nonstop loop of this crap running nonstop:

Nancy Pelosi liberal values!

Saddam was a bad man!

Queers destroy marriage!

All drugs are bad!

Clinton got a blow job!

He was a P.O.W!

'nuff said. I go now, to make more salsa. Happy Sunday.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Quote of the day: Thesis or Scream?

Sometimes a scream is better than a thesis.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

I come down on the scream side. It feels better, takes less time and removes the need to put your life in the hands of college professors.

I am awash in cherry tomatoes, soon with plum tomatoes.
The brandywines are huge, at last.
My newest musical band, the MF7 played at the Frequency the other night. We Freakin' Rocked, and I am very happy.
Tonight we play at Mr. Robert's.
I hope we kick ass and take names again as well.
Rock on, my pretties. I need to go pick another bushel of tomatoes, and soon, gallons seven through nine of salsa will be canned.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Microfiction: Dirty toes and kitchen floors

She hit him like a force of nature, a hungry hippie goddess with mother
hips, waist length waves of dark hair and a face that flashed between
hungry and oddly sweet.
She'd showed up at his door, having met him the week before in a corner bar at a gig he'd been playing.
She'd caught his eye there, and her sensuality
and free spirted mojo sucked him right into her orbit.
She laid out the raw facts, her need and her desire, and took him right on
the spot. Within moments, clothes were flying, hands were groping, and they were naked on the kitchen floor, rolling about like dogs in heat. Somewhere in the back of his mind he was amused by the scent of bleach and soap coming up from the floor tiles, thinking it was better to roll around like this on something that didn't smell like spilled beer, like it had that morning.
He dragged her into the bedroom after his bony knees got rubbed raw on the kitchen floor. She didn't need much dragging, either.
The piled onto his bed, a jumble of arms and legs and kisses and urgent
needs. She climbed on top of him and did her best meat grinder imitation,
her long hair tickling his nipples, the tops of her dirty toes curling into
the bed so hard they started to get cramps in them.
He wasn't sure what to do with how he felt about this whole animal act of
lust. Her funky hippie earth mother look and wild abandon were damn
attractive, but a bit unerving to a man who had grown up in a small town,
and had been put through the Jesus wringer at an early age, loading shit
into his mind he still couldn't figure out how to totally scrub out. He's
sure poured enough bleach on that part of his head to get rid of it.
Like most animal passions, it was over fairly quick. They both laid back in
the bed and wondered just what the hell happened. He did anyway, but he
suspected that her attitude was less wound up about sex, since the whole
episode was her idea.
How, he wondered, was this going to work itself out? Once finished, the
reality of how complicated this whole thing was going to get scared him....

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Found On Craigslist Today:

The ad, not the photo I found out on the series of tubes long ago.

Hey Adam, it's me, your amp. I'm just sitting here, wondering if you're ever going to come and get me. Way back in March you left me here, just sitting in some moldy old basement. I thought you were going to pick me up eventually, but I'm still waiting. It's pretty lonely. Heard you were supposed to come two weeks ago, but you still didn't show. Then two days ago, and you still didn't show. Really, I'm starting to feel very abandoned. I'm wondering if you care about me at all. Remember when we used to rock out and pick up chicks? I'm a total chick magnet! Get it? Cause I have a speaker in me... with a magnet... yeah, I know it was a pretty gay joke. Anyway, some guy tried to sell me and you made a big fuss about it, but you still didn't come to get me. I'm really tired of waiting, and I think if I don't see you soon, I'm going to go the magical realm of Dumpsteria, where gnomes frolic in the enchanted garbage waters and mystical cardboard boxes abound! It'll be awesome. Sometimes I feel so unloved and unwanted that I think I don't belong in your world. But Dumpsteria will accept me, right? Right...?

Quote of the day: Yeats, 1919

Now days are dragon-ridden, the nightmare
Rides upon sleep: a drunken soldiery
Can leave the mother, murdered at her door,
To crawl in her own blood, and go scot-free;
The night can sweat with terror as before
We pieced our thoughts into philosophy,
And planned to bring the world under a rule,
Who are but weasels fighting in a hole.
-- Yeats, 1919 --
I have no idea who took the photo, in case you were wondering. I just found it somewhere out on the series of tubes.
It's so damn nice I'm going to go pull weeds.
This cool summer does not suck, although it's making my tomatoes take forever to turn red.
And last night, thanks to my pal curly tracy's gift of a box of early girl tomatoes, I put up the first gallon and a half of salsa.
Only ten more gallons to go....

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

The Lovely Kat, and My Garden at Dusk on a Yellow night

I think they're both amazingly beautiful, the garden and Kat.
Monday night's evening light was the most yellow/green looking I've seen without a hell of a storm bearing down on us.
It did not suck, nor did the cookies Kat brought over and the cactus bean salad Lisa and I made.

"Sometimes a scream is better than a thesis." Ralph Waldo Emerson