Monday, March 21, 2011

Milwaukee, We Have a Problem

Back from Houston. Modern travel is really amazing, I don't think our minds or bodies have fully evolved to it yet. Jet lag is one thing, which is interesting. But just the fish out of water feeling I've had stepping off the plane from cold Milwaukee and feeling the humidity that was so unfamiliar. Having to mentally switch gears to wearing less, seeing sunshine, the mindset that goes along with being in the middle of summer. And now I'm back and its gray and its like that never happened. But Spring is here, right?

Jet Lag May Cause Stupidty

"SAN DIEGO — In addition to making you groggy and dazed, jet lag may make you stupid. A study presented November 15 at the annual Society for Neuroscience meeting finds that hamsters suffering extreme, chronic jet lag had about half the normal rate of new neuron birth in a part of the brain. What’s more, these animals showed deficits in learning and memory."

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Ahhh - Houston! I just dropped a bag full of tequila and hot sauce. It shattered all over the sidewalk.

At least it wasn't this: $130.00 hot sauce. Who knew!

Friday, March 18, 2011


We went to the Houston Rodeo on Friday night. Apparently, it's the world's largest (although Vegas has bigger cash prizes). As far as food and vendors goes, unless we missed a section, it wasn't that big. But my comparison is the Wisconsin State Fair, one of the greatest things I did last year (ahem, chocolate covered bacon, cream puffs, etc.). But the actual rodeo itself was awesome. It was inside the Astrodome, which is pretty huge. It always amazes me to be around that many people in one space, and just look at one of the small sections and think: that is like my entire hometown. As if all 6,000 people got off their couches and gathered in one area. Times ten.

The greatest event was when the cowboys chase after a steer, jump off their horse onto the steer and try to wrestle it to the ground. They literal body slam the poor things. And whoever does that the fastest wins.

Now those cowboys are cool, but the rodeo clowns are the most impressive. They jump in front of the bulls when the riders get thrown, so that the bulls don't attack them. They dive right in front of the bulls face! Just to distract them and save the riders lives. It was pretty awesome.

And last but not least, here's the cutest thing that happened. They had little kids, maybe 5 years old, ride on sheep to see who can go the farthest. They just hold onto their necks for dear life as they trot across the floor. So this little girl wins, she's decked out in little pink cowgirl gear, and the announcer goes to interview her afterwards. She says to the little girl, how did you learn to do this? And the girl is shy, and so pulls the announcer in so she can whisper in her ear the answer. And what does she say? "I practiced on my daddy." It was so cute I nearly cried!


Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Marchin' on Madison

It's been a few days now since the monumental March on Madison this past Saturday. I'll let the pictures below tell a thousand more words. But overall, I just want to say I'm extremely disappointed by the lack of coverage in the mainstream media. Disappointed, but not shocked. Estimates were 100,000 people gathered that day - when is the last time that has happened in an American city? In the grounded, middle of the road Midwest?

And the gathering was so inspiring and peaceful. It wasn't centered on any celebrity or rebel rouser. It was really about the people that made up the protest itself - as I said about the smaller Milwaukee protest, people from all walks of life.

This isn't just about Scott Walker. It's not about the deficit, because any idiot knows that the bargaining rights of the union had nothing to do with that. And anyone with the smallest bit of inference ability can realize that money is being spent in other areas that grease the palms of the powers that be.

This really is about class warfare. That's what the general feeling on the streets was, as we circled round and round the capitol building. Average people have been screwed by the wealthy for too long and this union busting bill is a last shot that broke open a lot of frustration by a lot of good, hard-working people.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Today's Letter is C is for Crowds

It's Monday and I'm still very tired from the weekend. I went to Madison on Saturday to take part in the union protests. I really want to write a great summary of it - I haven't seen anything in the media so far that has truly done the occasion justice - but after a long day of writing at work, and a long weekend of hanging around, I can't muster the strength.

Here's 2 of my favorite photos for now......

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Something Stirring in Wisconsin

There's something in the air here in Wisconsin right now. I got the news of the bill passing last night as I opened up my computer at the Coin, where I was meeting a friend to do some work. First I heard was from an email from the Milwaukee IndyMedia mailing list I signed up for years ago now. I think that's indicative of how news is traveling - about this ongoing polical struggle, and of course, in this new digital empowered age as well. It's links and who you "know" in your personal cybernetwork. Not necessarily from the spigot of direct news outlets.

After work tonight, I went to meet the same friends at the rally at the Milwaukee Courthouse. There were about a hundred people there I would say (I'll also say I'm worse than Fox News at trying to guesstimate crowds. I never know how to gauge that sort of thing). Diverse crowd of young and old, kids to grandparents, college looking kids, granola looking couples, laborers and teachers. A lot of people had signs, of course; reading the signs is one of my favorite things about a rally. Jesse Jackson was supposed to be there, but at about 5:45pm he was still on route from Madison. People were taking turns giving short speeches on the microphone that was set up on the courthouse steps, overlooking the small yard and central fountain.

Now I like signs, but I really love speeches. I love speeches, I have to say it again. It's one of my favorite things in the whole world - a great speech is equal to some of my favorite songs. They can be like songs - and some people tonight were actually signing. But overall, it was impassioned people telling their story and speaking to and summarizing the zeitgeist as they saw it. I wish this would happen all the time.

My friend ended up speaking as well. When Cori and I realized Eric was going to go up - we were standing in the grass and he had been to the right of the microphone, about ten feet back, just holding a sign in the sidelines that said something like "Recall Darling - Ask Me How." He is volunteering for the Alberta Darling recall campaign, and had a petition we had put together at the bar last night. Anyway, when we realized he was going to say something, it was great. We were laughing and instantly became nervous for him because he had some big acts to follow. He did a great job though - I'll post the video.

So what I'm saying is, this is great. I love it. I'm going to Madison on Saturday - I made that decision last weekend, and am now more excited than ever to participate in this historic unfolding.

But what I think is the most amazing thing I've seen so far is this footage from the lone Democratic Senator during the bill passing last night. His exasperation is so palpable. The way the capitol exploded with chants of "Shame! Shame! Shame!" I just have to laugh at the Republicans as they sat at that table, silent, becoming palm bearers in one of the most tragic chapters of American Democracy. And you can just tell they're so scared to break party lines and actually have to make some decisions for themselves if they want to follow their conscious. It's funny because its so disgusting, it's laugh or squirm with awkwardness at how uncomfortable it is to watch someone lose their integrity like that.

But the Democratic Senator - wow, that was his time to shine and he took it. Repeating the law, looking so shocked that the other members were literally ignoring it. It's like all legitimacy to what they were doing was swept away, the smoke cleared, and here he is realizing that there was nothing to stop it. The smoke screen of democracy blown away. He did his best, he gave a great address to the people of Wisconsin after the Republican storms off. And how much more American does it get than him washing it all down with a gas station glass of soda. Ha.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Walker, We Will Recall You

I saw these posters on the storefront on Brady Street tonight. I think they're great examples of the arty, independent and involved spirit of the people of Milwaukee and abound.

As I sit here tonight, we're finding out that Walker pulled some shady manuevering to ram the union-busting bill through. So much for civility and debate. The people are in this now, and you can't match the creativity and will of the committed - no matter how many Koch Brothers dollars you have in the world. This isn't over!

As MM said, good luck: you've woken the sleeping giant.