Wednesday, August 28, 2013

A Photo Is Worth...

Hello everyone!

It has been quite some time since I last posted an entry here. Fortunately, I have the pleasure of returning with something worth writing. At some point, we need to sort out the joke of how we address ethnicity in this country. People are divided by, unfortunately, a government-mandated identification of what kind of American one is. 

Are you European? Are you Caribbean? Are you a white, black, mixed, Asian or other type of Caribbean? Are you African? What kind of African are you? Are you Asian? What kind of Asian are you? These kinds of questions are included in job applications, applications for military service as well as the U.S. Census. We are coerced into obsession with our differences in this country. This is, I guess, supposed to us bring us together as "... one nation indivisible, with liberty and justice for all." 


Local teacher, musician, photographer, videographer, artist and, now, visual/musical activist, David Nunley, sets out to complete the title of this entry in his photo book & accompanying documentary DVD - Milwaukee Rally For Justice.

The photography speaks for itself while the video is accompanied by the sparse piano solo, Loss, written and played by Nunley.

Please, check it out.


- @

Friday, May 25, 2012

'Cento In The City!

"The whole point of a small Fiat is that you have a very small engine in it, powered by petrol, and you rev it, and rev it, and rev it, until the valves come out and dance around on top of the bonnet, and then you change gear." - James May

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Cycle City Songs!

Hello everyone!

With temperatures in the 60s yesterday and today... people zipping around the city without nasty old man winter smacking them about the face and neck... I thought I'd list some of my favorite songs which are about, mention or could conjure images of bicycles.

My White Bicycle - Tomorrow

Bicycle Race - Queen

Tour de France - Kraftwerk

Hey Now - Talking Heads (David Byrne sings about wanting to buy a bike & wrote Bicycle Diaries)

This Charming Man - The Smiths (A punctured bicycle - On a hillside desolate...)

Riding On My Bike - Madness

Theme from Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure - Danny Elfman

The Bicycle Song - Red Hot Chili Peppers

Ride - The Dandy Warhols (the ride mentioned is motorized, but mine is pedal-powered)

Handlebars - Flobots (the beauty of simplicity & the potential horror wrought by the complex)

Bicycle - The Jellydots

Goodbye to snow, ice and salted streets. Hello to sun, warm breezes and the sound of bells, horns and "on your left".

Stay young and invincible!


- @

"The bicycle, the bicycle, surely should always be the vehicle of novelists and poets."
~ Christopher Morely

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

City On The King!


A few weeks ago, an (relatively) old friend of mine, Marcus Muller, contacted me regarding a new website he'd launched. It's for a beautifully colored webcomic called The King Of The Unknown. There is a fine polish to the site and work itself, and I'd expect no less from him. Marcus has a keen eye for details and environments. As an added bonus, Mister Muller has a twisted sense of humor. He and his brother, Michael Roanhaus, created the work a few years ago. At first viewing I recall thinking... and, maybe, even mentioning to a few people... what evil geniuses these guys are.

If you dig the vibe & humor of comics/films like Hellboy, Tank Girl, The Umbrella Academy, The Perhapanauts, The Evil Dead, Man With The Screaming Brain and (of course) Bubba Ho-Tep, you are likely to find something to love in KotU. Rather than try to explain what the webcomic is about, I've decided to take a quote from Marcus on how he came to stumble upon this labor of love. I've omitted some names mentioned in this quote. In the end, this blog entry is about Marcus and his creation.

"It started a few years back when my friend [name omitted] was putting together an anthology called Muscles & Fights with [name omitted], featuring mostly work from Midwest comic creators. Their first volume had already been out for a while when [name omitted] invited me to contribute something to their second. While at first I had no idea what to make for it, I decided that whatever it was, it certainly had to feature either muscles or fights. Finally I decided to play it mainly for laughs, and came up with a humorous fight comic about Elvis brawling with Bigfoot...".

*** Read more on the ***

Marcus has added Facebook and Twitter links and a newsletter sign-up, as well as a cool "extras" section, on the site for those who can't get enough of the King via the regular entries.

So, please click the title of this entry to be transported to their rockin' urban legends.

"When I was a boy, I always saw myself as a hero in comic books and in movies. I grew up believing this dream." - Elvis Presley

TCB, baby, TCB!


- @

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Oak Leaf Trail

Scurry -

Scamper -
Filled with malicious intent.

Skedaddle -
Chop & and pray for your descent.

Steal away -
Blind and...
Obliviously passing day-by-day.

Sanguine thought -
Gets better...
With every revolution.

- @

Sunday, January 15, 2012

City Sidewalks!


How much attention do you pay to whether the area in which you live or work or play has sidewalks? Commuting to and from work via bike and/or bus has given me ample time to examine such things. I also notice traffic signage, lights, and crosswalk markings (or lack thereof).

In the city, we sometimes plan routes around town with the amount of stop signs/lights in mind. The fewer signs and lights we run into, the better time we can make getting to where we're going. And, many times, we conveniently fail to come to a complete stop before reaching pedestrian crosswalks... in cars and on motor/pedal bikes alike. When you stop to consider how much we "don't see" these signs and markings you come to realize how much we take them for granted. I'm not exempt from this. But they were created to help not hurt us.

I have always commented, whether in a car or the saddle of a bike, on how crazy pedestrians in the 'burbs are. They walk and jog in the street... y'know... where cars and non-attentive drivers rule with an iron first (and an annoying horn). Those suburbanites put their lives in the hands of gas-guzzling automobiles in the sun, rain, sleet and snow. Don't get the wrong impression. The peds wear bright clothing and reflective vests, but drivers notoriously want and believe the streets belong to them... and them alone. The attitude grows more maniacal as you travel further from the city centers around the world. I could excuse this sense of entitlement, if not for the fact there are some [sign] marked bicycle routes in the suburbs. Our city planners don't seem to think painted bike lanes in the suburbs are important safety measures. Weird.

The greatest insult to pedestrian intelligence and safety, however, is in suburban industrial parks. On my route to work, for instance, there are staggered sidewalks. By this I mean the sidewalks alternate between the two (North & South) sides of the street. Hey! At least they have 'em, eh? Wrong. To use these sidewalks, pedestrians are forced to cross the street every other block. There are no painted crosswalks or signs to control traffic as hardworking people step out into what could be there peril. Right about now, you may be thinking drivers take this into consideration as they cruise down the mile stretch of unmarked road. That's sweet of you... and absolutely off the mark. Everyone seems to put the pedal to metal, and cars scream down that street like banshee steeds onto a blood-drenched battlefield.

So, why does any of this bother me so much I feel the need to write about it, right?

It is said we can judge the health of our communities/cities by how safe it is on the streets (for our children).

I'll let that marinate a minute...

Can your children walk around, on a sidewalk, safely in your neighborhood? Count your sidewalks. Do your children cross the street via a marked/painted walkway with signage to help slow drivers? Pay attention the next time you're in your car. Does your family have immediate access to painted bike lanes (for recreation and exercise)? You know the drill.

The streets are paid for out of OUR tax dollars. Shouldn't WE be able to traverse them safely... with or without a car? Is an additional three feet of grass between our homes and the nearest person really worth a potential victim on our streets? Do we want to end up like Toronto, Canada -- where the city is removing painted bike lanes in response to drivers complaining those lanes should be used for motorized traffic?

I leave you with this quote from Jane Jacobs' The Death & Life of Great American Cities:

“A city street equipped to handle strangers, and to make a safety asset, in itself, out of the presence of strangers, as the streets of successful city neighborhoods always do, must have three main qualities:

First, there must be a clear demarcation between what is public space and what is private space. Public and private spaces cannot ooze into each other as they do typically in suburban settings or in projects.

Second, there must be eyes upon the street, eyes belonging to those we might call the natural proprietors of the street. The buildings on a street equipped to handle strangers and to insure the safety of both residents and strangers, must be oriented to the street. They cannot turn their backs or blank sides on it and leave it blind.

And third, the sidewalk must have users on it fairly continuously, both to add to the number of effective eyes on the street and to induce the people in buildings along the street to watch the sidewalks in sufficient numbers. Nobody enjoys sitting on a stoop or looking out a window at an empty street. Almost nobody does such a thing. Large numbers of people entertain themselves, off and on, by watching street activity.”

Think about it.


- @

Monday, January 2, 2012


What in the Sam Hill is that?

Oh... Sorry.


On my commute to work... through the urban sprawl outside Brew City... I see A LOT of billboards. Generally speaking, billboards bug me. I feel as though I'm constantly bombarded with someone else's opinions on what I should wear on my wrist... or what car I should be seen in... or what lawyer I should hire should I ever had need to sue my neighbor. The worst assault, though, wrought by billboards is the fact the people behind them aren't putting any effort into the overall design/aesthetics. Most are downright embarrassments to the printed art form. And if you're going to insist on crashing in on my shopping sprees, you could have the decency to come at me in style.

Still, some billboard messages are of the political persuasion. You know, the kind designed to sway our leanings in one direction or another. These, despite the fact they are often the least visually appealing of them all, are somewhat entertaining. I found the one suggesting Obama was the political heir apparent to the Bush Administration encouraging. Of course, I was prematurely giving my fellow taxpayers credit for attacking our bipartisan government for the sickness they've spread throughout Washington, DC. In reality, some group wanted me to vote for career Republicans in Independent's clothing. But at least we were using the giant posters for politics... rather than consumption. I don't think we, as a nation, need any more encouragement to consume. But truly engaging in our Democratic system is something we've been sleeping on since Slick Willie lulled us to sleep with laws that made it easier to purchase homes (despite the fact he required we trade in our entire working class). Wow.

Last week, I noticed a billboard which read...


The ad itself is sponsored by some organization which is working as a network for leeches looking to take advantage of the misfortunes of USAmericans who've found themselves fiscally unable to repair their homes. On the surface, it seems like the right thing to do. I mean, what could be wiser than dumping an investment once you realize you can't afford the upkeep? Well... according to my parents... one should never bind oneself to an investment of which you can't afford the upkeep. Thank God for my parents. There were lots of little gems like that one they imparted with us (in our childhood). I'm uncertain as to what the motivation was. Maybe they were buried in debt and didn't want the same for their children, but I took the advice to heart.

Moving on (or this could very easily morph into a gush over my folks blog)...

As the bus drove past this sign, the overall message communicated in the sentiments thereon began to vex my soul. If this is what we do to the place we share with our parents, siblings, spouses and children, is everything or everyone else also subject to the philosophy?

1) If your school isn't working for you, drop out. Education is over-rated anyway. Right? I mean, who needs to be well-rounded? Next thing you know, we'll be cutting literature, art, music and phys ed classes from the school curriculum. Oops!

2) If your job isn't working for you, quit and give up on working. The next job will likely rub you the wrong way too. Instead, simply collect unemployment indefinitely.

3) If you manage/supervise personnel, and they aren't performing to your every expectation, don't retrain them. Don't sit them down and talk through their performance versus your expectations... Fire them all.

4) If your chosen transportation doesn't meet your every desire or provide the proper level of social status, trade it in for another you can't afford. What does it matter? If you're already doing entry two, it's coming from someone else's pocket anyway.

5) If your significant other suffers from the human condition, cut the ties that bind and jump into another relationship. Repeat often and you won't have to learn how to live with others or give them the opportunities to learn to deal with you. Let's all avoid the chance to develop the skills necessary to live in a world with people who don't think, feel, and express exactly as we do. Facebook instead! I just learned (from a news source) two of the most common status updates on Facebook are "It's complicated" and "It's over". Really?!

6) In fact, don't commit to anything at all. Why should you? In the end, it all proves to be imperfect... which will only remind you of your failings. If you admit you aren't perfect, you may feel the need to do something about your unsavory traits. Right?

7) Don't strive for anything... not even mediocrity. You may fail to achieve. This could lead to you examining why you failed, which only leads to the temptation to develop the tenacity to be successful the next time around.


We barely communicate as it is. Oh, yeah. 'Cause to communicate you must be social. That's more work on self. It's a never ending story of avoiding responsibility.

Is that the world in which we want to live? Do we toss problems into the wind rather than going through the process of examining, considering, deciding, preparing, and repairing if/when possible? Gosh... I hope not. It certainly isn't the pledge we sing on New Year's Eve...

"Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot
And auld lang syne?

For auld lang syne, my dear,
For auld lang syne,
We'll tak a cup o' kindness yet
For auld lang syne!

We twa hae run about the braes,
And pu'd the gowans fine,
But we've wander'd mony a weary fit
Sin auld lang syne.

We twa hae paidl't in the burn
Frae morning sun till dine,
But seas between us braid hae roar'd
Sin auld lang syne.

And there's a hand, my trusty fiere,
And gie's a hand o' thine,
And we'll tak a right guid willie-waught
For auld lang syne!

And surely ye'll be your pint' stowp,
And surely I'll be mine,
And we'll tak a cup o' kindness yet
For auld lang syne!"


"Should old acquaintances be forgotten,
And never brought to mind?
Should old acquaintances be forgotten,
And days of long ago !

For old long ago, my dear
For old long ago,
We will take a cup of kindness yet
For old long ago.

We two have run about the hillsides
And pulled the daisies fine,
But we have wandered many a weary foot
For old long ago.

We two have paddled (waded) in the stream
From noon until dinner time,
But seas between us broad have roared
Since old long ago.

And there is a hand, my trusty friend,
And give us a hand of yours,
And we will take a goodwill draught (of ale)
For old long ago!

And surely you will pay for your pint,
And surely I will pay for mine!
And we will take a cup of kindness yet
For old long ago!"
- Robert Burnes (Auld Lang Syne)

Sleep on it!

Happy 2012!!


- @