DO THIS ON FRIDAY: Midwest By Southwest 2012 tour@ The Blue Fugue

Midwest By Southwest 2012 tour this Friday March 9th The Blue Fugue at 9pm. These bands are on the way to play South By SouthWest (SXSW) or the “place you’d rather be seeing shows”.

Whenever Cincinnati bands/musicians tour, I try to let people know. It’s one of those cities that when you live there you say “if this was somewhere else, it’d be huge”. Or if you’re a musician there, you also say “this is bullshit, imagine if we lived in Brooklyn”. I cut my musical teeth on the mean (not really) streets of Cincinnati Ohia (my mom pronounces it “O-Hi-Uh”). I moved there from the best state in the lower 48, Kentucky, way back when the internet and all banking systems were set to explode-The year 2000 and have played some of the best shows in front of the best people there. Outside of the suffocating nature of far-right christian conservatism, GOP city/county domination, and annual Christmas time crucifixion crosses hosted by the Klu Klux Klan, I met an amazing set of friends, comrades, artists, rebel-rousers and rockers that I still keep close. There’s also a stellar music scene that gets national news only when a band moves out of the city and acts like they’re above it now-see: The National, Heartless Bastards, Afghan Whigs, Oh and that awesome pic of Iggy Pop crowd surfing was from Cincinnati too, etc.

I met the good folks in The Sundresses back in 2003. They played a Books Not Bombs show that I organized at my alma mater and it smoked. The Sundresses went on to make a couple of incredible records since then and have extensively toured the U.S. Imagine a punk rock band stuck in Memphis right after Brown vs. Board. Anti-racists playing music in the midst of the violent white backlash. Imagine the politics of the period, the convergence of some Old Crow-soaked speakeasy mixed with front porch hollerin, cranked fender amps, and fucking trombone. It’s Lead Belly using Muddy Water’s gear with Nina Simone’s snarl, and the jump-boogy that connects it all in a really weird way. It’s all over the map and delicious. CoMo doesn’t have this so get it while it’s in stock.

Listen to The Sundresses “An American American”

 Wussy is the good therapy session that you walk out of on Friday and plan your weekend too. Dueling vocals that fit that duel-voice narrative in your head that argues the merits of whether you should buy some “party supplies” from that dude Gary or just commit to being a shut-in. At once melancholy and at the other hyperactive, all wrapped inside addicting melodies and primal rhythms. I hated 90’s college rock for the most part (that includes the Pixies) but this stuff is on another level, different. The production on all their records is flawless in my opinion. For chrissakes, the New York Times and Village Voice are in on the pile up. They’re a huge draw back in the ‘Nati and should be here too.

Listen to Wussy “Muscle Cars”

The Whiskey Daredevils from Cleveland are also along for the ride. They remind me of fistfight between two guys that have brand new cowboy boots. They’re nice guys but those boots are brand-fucking-new, like the tags got cut off right before they walked in. Uber-clean country twang hot licks that won’t be found at a Mitt Romney Revival. There is pierced tongue as a leftover from bad decisions placed firmly in the cheek of most of their songs. I like to think that they’re one of the guys fighting Brad Paisley in that boot fight.

Listen to Whiskey Daredevils “Skulls” via the Misfits

Oh Me My ,from the greatest state in the lower 48, Lexington KY, are also tagging along. Big soul vocals make this a winner already. These kids clearly have been raised on WRFL (Ky’s version of KCOU, but back in the day, way better). If the Flaming Lips listened to more soul records and did less L.S.D. and had more sex, this is what would’ve happened. Somewhere along the way of listening to more soul records they got hooked on low-fi garagey stuff. That Wayne dude is super weird and one of the FL dudes now lives in Newport Ky.

Listen to Oh My Me

The Midwest by Southwest tour hits The Blue Fugue for the first stop on an epic 10-day run to Austin, TX and back, featuring of some of the best bands the Midwest has to offer. 

(hear ’em all at: http://snd.sc/AzxQ8V)

 The Midwest By Southwest 2012 tour, presented by the Bunbury Music Festival, is spreading the Midwestern musical love to and from the South by Southwest (SXSW) music festival. 

FRESH COMO MEAT: Porn & Groceries

Not to be confused with dead basil.Commodities are one of those things that most people just use in a cliched phrase. A “hot commodity” is usually attributed to the latest in an endless series useless bullshit that is about to sell out at your local widget seller or retailer. Don’t get me wrong, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t one to also get in on the latest/greatest techy things but, generally speaking, I prefer the used variety of “things”. Under capitalism, everything is commodified to sell on the open market. Everything is judged on its monetary value. If you’re one of those 99 percenters (which, judging by the “readership” here, I’m going to venture to say that you are!) then you’re probably selling your labor to someone in exchange for some kind of compensation that you use to sustain yourself. Usually that’s money. You are worth X amount to your employer. Its kind of disturbing to consider. From the most essential things needed to survive (Food, Clothing, Shelter) to the banal (how many toasters do we need?) to the most private (Sex, Sexuality). Speaking of porn, this city has an disproportionately high amount of porn shops. Sure, its close to many colleges but I’ve lived in college towns before and there is a ton here. Does anyone else find that weird? I mean, I’m not morally opposed to porn shops-the industry, commodification, and exploitation of sex workers, I am.

Back to the matter at hand: Everything can be used to make profit (see: stealing). Some see a beauty in being able to buy anything but I think its a product a really crummy world. Color me Danny Downer all you want, I embrace it with open arms or in the words of the famous dub poet Linton Kwesi Johnson (no relation) “I AMMA MERCILESS REALIST AND ITS NOT DEFEATIST”. Maybe its just me, but destroying food so that food commodity prices stay profitable to agri-corporations while close to a billion go hungry is one of the greatest crimes in history.

While we all are being forced to buy commodities, and you can’t buy used food, I thought I’d put together a little list of place I like to get our supplies from here in COMO. There are your usual sort of big box chains that are convenient (Hy-Vee, Gerbes) and there are smaller chains (Schnucks, Patricia’s), I like to get the most bang for the buck, reasonably speaking of course. I’ve been hitting up Moser’s for things like staple items and it’s been pretty great and cheap. You’re not under the watchful eye of some security guard or have to rent a cart like Aldi’s. Moser’s has sweet all-plastic carts too that don’t feel like I’m pushing a sled when packed with The Dude and week’s worth of food. The produce is just as fresh as the others and I found that it’s about 20-30% cheaper than the bigger chains too. If you got some extra cheddar to throw down on some all-natural organic foods, there’s also some great things you can get from places like Clover’s, The amazing Peace Nook, and The Root Cellar. There’s also couple specialty stores like World MarketChong’s Oriental Market and the new Campus Eastern Foods at 4th and Broadway (which has fresh organic lamb!). THE TEAM likes to mix it up between these depending on what’s on our weekly menu or if we’re hosting a bonanza at the CoMo Bungalow.

Of course when the season hits, you simply must get as much as you can from the Columbia Farmer’s Market. Now, with the wonders of indoor buildings and greenhouses, you can go every Saturday 9am to Noon at the Parkade Center, 601 W. Business Loop for the INDOOR Winter Farmers Market!

SALE SALE SALE! BUY BUY BUY!

FRESH COMO MEAT: SOUNDSYSTEM GONNA…

Being a lover of all things live original music, moving here was a return to a happy place. Living in a remote Iowa town last year really made me appreciate the music scene in my former Cincinnati. Growing up in an area where there was, in all likelihood, live original music in some setting 7 days a week and then moving to a town with weekly and sometimes monthly shows began to drain me. In a period where auto-tuned, talentless, morons with unlimited resources are able to record, tour, and and endlessly promote a soulless product ripe for youth consumption, watching and listening to something that a real person made with real analog instruments brings an enormous shit-eating grin to my face.

Don’t mistake my perspective for being instrument bias nor am I apart of the Analog Taliban who will make the dumbest choices in the name of analog purity. I cut my musical teeth on the best of 1980’s and early 90’s rap. In fact, I didn’t even listen to anything with a guitar until I started hanging out with the kid who pushed carts at Central Hardware. Seeing live music, has at this point in my life, has become a crucial part of creating my own happiness. With seemingly endless wars, the emergence of Police State USA, and horrible election fever, seeing a really loud rock band whilst having some adult sodas is a fine temporary vacation.

Last Friday I got the chance to see Jack Buck (the band, not the dead Cards announcer who made the 1990 world series a painful listen) and Shaved Women (Crass anyone?) from St. Louis. They were both loud, noisy, chaotic, and slightly dangerous on stage. I could name drop a bunch of bands that they sound like but that rarely works. You should also pick up Jack Buck’s brilliantly packaged 7″ vinyl record. Its pretty much the best thing I’ve bought since I moved here. They played at the Hairhole, a DIY art/show space here in CoMo. I had heard a lot about it and know some of the folks who help out there. It was a great time and much needed. Needless to say, I had fun and met some really genuine people creating some great sounds. Everyone should have the opportunity to do that every now and again. I’m just lucky enough to have a TEAM that supports it. For its size, this town has a boatload of live music venues. Not all of them book good music but its live and mostly original. Do yourself a favor and go see some. GOOD NEWS: I’ve had the pleasure of meeting a couple of righteous gentlemen and we have a band now. Our debut will be sometime in the early part of 2012 which may spell the end of civilization according to the Mayans or if Newt Gingrich is elected president.

FRESH COMO MEAT: Knuckledraggers and Palm Greasers United!

FRESH COMO MEAT

It’s been an up and down beginning to the emergence of my favorite time of year, Autumn. Being sick at the onset of a season makes you hate that transition but alas, THE TEAM will not be moved. Fall is usually the time for social movements to generally start packing it in. Over the past decade, the grindingly gradual process of electoralism smashes the hopes and aspirations of the youth like a jackass sponsored camaro plowing through the front of your house. You hear the faint murmur on the distance, you begin to locate the sound, and before you know it, CRUNCH. Whatever you were doing before is forgotten because you have to deal with this jackass in your breakfast nook. The endless campaign signs, commercials, radio ads, spam emails, text massage(not message), and the ever present pressure of peers, takes the hopes, energy, and creativity of a summer and takes a giant piss on it.

It’s been said that the Democratic Party is the “graveyard of social movements” and historically, this is accurate. From Johnson and Carter to Clinton and Obomba, movements have been told to pack it in, give us your support, and we’ll meet your demands. For those of us that hated Bush before it was easy to hate Bush, this meant that all the candidates were pro-war but some were for a kinder, gentler war. Remember in 2004, when ABB ruled the day and your friends were telling you that if you didn’t vote for that corpse from Mass that your swearing in the emergence of fascism? Swimming against the stream is an understatement.

Well, the electoral season is upon us and yet again we get up-to-the-minute coverage of the field of knuckledraggers the GOP has rolled out. My friend in NY recently wrote that you could randomly select eight drunks from random dives in Brooklyn and get a better field.

You know why it gets better? Because despite, massive police repression on par with those countries the U.S. is usually denouncing as “violent” the Occupy Movement continues. It has survived the seasonal shift while enduring some pretty nasty shots. Here locally, I had the pleasure of attending the last few General Assemblies and have been impressed with complexity of debates, the openness to organizing, and the resiliency of folks that occupy 24/7. Despite news coverage and analysis that you expect from a high school newsletter, local media have begrudgingly started to give a voice to those occupying. Case in point: a march on National Bank Transfer Day that had targeted Bank of America had between 260-300 people attend. The picture in the Missourian was of five people at speakers circle hula hooping at Mizzou. Weird? You betcha. Especially considering there is a School of Journalism about 4 blocks away. Sure they covered it but gosh, how about a little imagination?

Locally, Occupy CoMo recently had the outside electrical outlets turned off as a “public safety issue” by City Manager Mike Matthes, Mayor Bob McDavid and Public Works Director John Glascock. I guess the electrical infrastructure at city hall has had their fuses replaced with pennies (like my grandpa used to do). Those cell phones and laptops are really crushing the cities utilities. In fact, as winter approaches, I think tents should be allowed there. Why not? If the city provides ample pleasantries to developers who gentrify low income neighborhoods and trailer parks, shouldn’t it provide the same pleasantries to occupiers? Insanely priced student housing doesn’t benefit anyone except the out-of-state 1%’ers. How many palms were greased in the Recency Park takeover or the Brookside project on College? Or the beer tax for Downtown that 40 people voted on? As we went to press here, 3,702 occupiers have been arrested. The bankers that plundered our economy and ruined the lives of millions? 0

And they wonder why we occupy?

Stop throwing your shoes at the TV and come join Occupy CoMo. Visit often and donate time and resources. There is a rally this Thursday November 17th at 4:30 at Liberty Plaza (Broadway & 8th) in solidarity with the National Day of Action called by Occupy Wall Street.

From Mizzou – Meet at Speakers Circle at 4:00 p.m. 

From Columbia College  Meet in Front Circle at 4:00 p.m. 

From Stephens College Meet at Broadway/College at 4:00 p.m.

 

 

 

 

 


FRESH COMO MEAT VOL. V: RADIO REBELDE!

Remember that grinning sax player asshole who told us in 1996 that deregulating the Telecommunications industry was a good thing? I do, I think he’s still a war criminal. One thing you never hear from the right wing Ayn-Randian-Ron-Paulistas is any mention of the effects of deregulation has had on the U.S. If they had their druthers, we’d all be visiting the Halliburton Library and Monsanto would be regulating our food supply. But I digress.

As a product of the 1980’s, I fondly remember dubbing all my favorite jams from the radio for my super sweet-whiffleball tournament-all night party mixes. I could barely get this one R&B station in at my house in Union Ky. I’ll bet that I had every LL Cool J song mixed in with some mouthbreather breaking the up the intro with promises to the next caller right up until Mr. Smith killed it. Even the amplitude modulation was another universe because my Mom & Dad killed the crushed the classic rock station 24/365. If it wasn’t that, there was a steady dose of Bob Seger System, Uriah Heep, Deep Purple, and the rest of the usual tight crotched bell bottom lot occupying the needle. All of which I hated until much later in life. I listened to rap and proudly rocked my Public Enemy shirt for two full years. I can thank them for teaching me more about the Black Liberation movement than all of my AFAM classes combined. In 7th & 8th grade no less!

[insert “back in my day voice”] The only thing I had growing up were stations that played music by genre. One for pop, one for country, classic rock, new rock, R&B, etc. etc. It’s the format we’ve all come to hate know since multinational media companies have been consolidating their competition for well over a two decades. How were they able to do this? Well, deregulation, a well lobbied and compliant FCC, and the always present lining of political pockets is a great first step. Radio was for many generations, a central gathering point and distribution of culture. Sometimes it has served the worst parts of empire. But in the hands of the people fighting for justice, it can play a remarkable role in educating, agitating, organizing, and entertaining.

In the CoMo, there are three standout radio stations that have become my “when my ipod is boring” staples. Honestly, I listen to 89.5FM KOPN everyday. They broadcast Democracy Now! Everyday. They have NPR. They have Alternative Radio with David Barsamian. Understand this: if you live in an area where you cannot get a daily, independent left wing news source on the dial, it sucks. Let’s be honest, NPR kinda sucks every now and then and most of the time their analysts leave much to be desired. KOPN has a plethora of shows that are hosted by real human disc jockeys. They also have a fund drive going, help them out if you can.

88.1 FM KCOU is “the University of Missouri’s only student-run radio station since 1963”. They actually play some decent indie stuff as I was introduced to this band through them and have been enamored since. It’s odd when that happens today in the hyper cycle world of wall postings and networking. Their studio apparently caught fire sometime this year and for most of the summer, they just had one long playlist. It was way better that way since listening to Amanda or Josh tell me about the big game or when campus wifi went out isn’t that interesting. However, I don’t Mizzou so that makes more sense.

88.9 FM KLJU out of Lincoln University in Jeff City plays some pretty cool stuff too. They play a lot of cruise boat/waiting room jazz but the stand out programs are the Friday Night Jamz from 8-Midnight and Classic Soul Sunday from 3-5pm. 

Remember how bad y’all felt back in November when we lived in a “center-right nation”? How you were seriously thinking about your escape route to Canada or Mexico? Normally this time of year we’re being choked to death with the endless detailing of horrible campaign trail story boarding and throwing the nearest objects at TVs. Occupy has changed all that. Let’s occupy the radio! Occupy Everything!

 

 

 

 

Fresh CoMo Meat: Books before Facebook

Fresh CoMo Meat: Books before Facebook

Until the last month of living in Decorah, there were no bookstores within an hour drive that were worthy. The TEAM’s arrival in CoMo has seen a host of bookstores that carry, GASP! used books. Living in a college town, one would expect a rash of crappy academic, dry textbooks with those dreadful orange and yellow “used” stickers on the binding. The local bookshops have a really great selection for all readers. It makes sense when your local economy is built around education i.e. College Town USA. Note to readers, I’m in the minority on THE TEAM in terms of fiction reads. Not sure why, but there are few and far between of the fictional variety that hold my interest. Most that do are based on historical events. Recommend all you want, I’ll gladly accept them but in all likelihood I’ll skip it for revolutionary history and struggle or Marxist theory. Seriously though, send them my way, I need it.

The first place I went to was The Peace Nook. This was place had been heavily promoted by a St. Looie native friend of ours in Iowa. Not only do they carry an incredible selection of titles under the broad tent of “social justice” but also they carry books from important radical book publishing houses like Haymarket Books and many more. It has all the characteristics of things I miss about real, independent bookstores. There are lots of staff picks (with hand written signs), book clubs, discounts, and above all a warm and welcoming staff. Bonuses are that it’s a non-profit, has a bunch of shirts and stickers that will offend rich people, and serves as meeting space for organizing. It’s in a basement and cramped but given the fact that a place like Peace Nook exists in this town, makes it worth supporting. It also serves a great place to make those conservative family members that are visiting feel a wee-bit awkward.

On one of many of the walks that the Dude and I go one, we stumbled into Get Lost Books on 9th. Not a stroller friendly store but pleasant and very woody inside. This place carries the canonicals of American literature as well as cookbooks, literary criticism, art, children’s books, news and art magazines and literary journals. It’s mostly used but they don’t appear to be killing it at estate sales. The staff were quite accommodating for newbies like the Dude and I to the store. They also host a monthly reading by a local and national authors complete with music. I’ve not been able to make it out to one of these yet but judging by the quality of the people that I’ve met who attend them, they sound like fun. That’s a lost art in my opinion. When authors or speakers would go on speaking tours to talk about their latest work. It happens mostly on campus’ now and for those working folks who aren’t totally acclimated with the mazes of massive college campuses, it poses a problem. Having events like these in places like Get Lost is great and should be celebrated.

Village Books on Paris road, while out of the way from downtown, is also quite promising. They offer 25% off on cover prices for new books and used books are half off cover prices. Admission of guilt: I have not been able to fully explore and give a detailed report of this bookstore but the fact that it is independent, doesn’t have a rip-off non-union coffee shop in it, and carries used books it deserves to be promoted.

Books, the one’s printed on paper, are not dying a slow death. Remember, servers can crash, Wifi signals can get cut (because there are cables that supply the signal!), and there is a digital divide. For those that aren’t familiar with the term, the Digital Divide is the gap between those that have access to the internet versus those that do not. It could be a multitude of reasons: geography, lack of income, lack of computer skills, etc. It amazes me that we live in the wealthiest nation in the history of the planet, with the fictionalized tale that it’s also the greatest democracy, yet high speed access to the greatest educational tool is not a right.

One final note: History is being made by the Occupy Wall Street Protests. They need your support and you can do it by visiting and offering solidarity with the handful of folks at Occupy Como. Yes, it’s here too. 

CoMo Fresh Meat: Park Rock Academy Tail Gate Song

FRESH COMO MEAT: PARKROCKACADEMYTAILGATESONG

PARK: nice places and good guitar amplifiers.

The parks in this city make me smile. Parks and public works are fantastic because they take the sting out of concrete and blacktop, bad developers, and those revenue plunderers: Parking Garages. No doubt that palms were greased when those monstrosities were built here. The promise of future cash for strapped local government, easy private management, only to sit largely empty. Bummer for us. The parks though, are a silver lining in the concrete mess. Stephen’s Lake Park is absolutely stunning. The lake is free to swim and fish in (weird) but it also features two walk paths, one of which follows a platform over the middle of the lake. The playground has a tight set of giant boulders around it and the swings don’t squeak. The TEAM hasn’t fully explored Cosmo Park yet but it looks pretty promising. That place is huge! Low income neighborhoods or those that inhabit the most amount of people of color get the scraps as Worley St. and Again St. look nothing like their suburban counterparts. This is par for the course but at least there could be an effort to update them as the communities they serve utilize them. The MKT trail is really a local treasure. I’m not sure there there is a more peaceful place within the city proper. My favorite spot is if you’re heading south on the trail and you go under Stadium Blvd., you come out on the other side where the trail opens up and there is a long straight path with trees curling over the top, streams weaving in and out complete with wood bridges. The only thing that could improve it would be if there was a nice waterproof reading couch and steady Sour beers on tap.

But what makes all these parks work? Public sector workers dummy. They are under a direct attack by local and state governments and tacitly by the federal government in the name of “deficit reduction”. What this means in reality is that while Obomba has decided to bail out the very vampires which caused the Great Recession, the costs are being balanced on the backs of workers, the poor, the elderly, and those little leeches that have been living high-on-the-hog, school children. Wisconsin was the first with Ohio following right behind in enacting undemocratic anti-worker legislation to crush the groups that make states actually function. Public sector workers and their unions have more African Americans, Latinos, and women than traditional craft unions too. As for COMO parks, credit goes to the Park & Rec workers for maintenance. They have an army that’s out at all hours of the night and day it seems keeping these joints operational, clean, and tidy. Workers for the Water and Light, Parks and Recreation and Public Works departments and Columbia police officers asking City Council for collective bargaining rights and a contract with the city. Contracts are readily available for the construction of large parking facilities, private for-profit developments, etc. why wouldn’t that apply for the people that make the city run?

HEAR THAT TIGER GROWLIN

COMO you like your Tailgating. Crushing shitty lite beer for hours, havin a toss, eating grilled heavily processed meats, face paint, the mardi gras beads in the color of the hometown team. YEAH BUDDY! I like sports, but the fetishizing of this part of sports is weird. I even like cold adult sodas while watching people smash into each other full sprint. I’m from the country called the Midwest so I know a thing or two about sports but this always baffled me. Is the gating of the tail something that’s usually associated with mediocre-to-poor teams? My Bungals have a history of ineptitude that’s well documented. Mizzou Football: National Title? Nope. Consistent winner? Nope. Reputable program? Maybe. The last team in a conference that is becoming more irrelevant everyday? Yup. What say you about the Tigers here? Does the tennis elbow from Corn Holing all afternoon soften the blow of seasonal disappointment? The weirdest part has to be the tiger in the trunk nonsense. It signals to the driver behind you that you REALLY like the MIZZOO(U). That pride, means that as an adult you will take the time and money to purchase a cloth tiger tail which you will have to move out of the way when you get groceries. In reality, it just looks like you’ve kidnapped a robot from Chuckie Cheese.

THROAT, CLEARED.

I get disgusted with mainstream news coverage generally speaking. While the politics of distraction usually rule the day with the American media, few things made me throw more shoes at the T.V. me more than the coverage of Cassie Anthony. While this trash novel continues to be passed off as news, Jim Crow Georgia is determined to legally lynch an innocent man, TROY DAVIS. Troy is not a cutesy little white woman and the death a small white child wasn’t involved in this case but he is a black man from the south which means that unless he’s stupid rich, he’s guilty of whatever he’s accused of. With no material evidence, no weapon, no record, and 7 out of 9 “eyewitnesses” recanted, the fact that this case get zero coverage, makes this shit sandwich of an information distribution system, biggie sized. Internet activism is no replacement for real direct action but on your smoke break, or 9am coffee break, or while you’re stuck in traffic this week, Sign the petition, call (404.656.5651), e-mail (Webmaster@pap.state.ga.us) the Board of Pardons and Paroles and voice your support for Troy Davis! He is scheduled to be executed this Wednesday Sept. 21.

 

Bring on the fall. Take it easy.

FRESH COMO MEAT: ALL YOUR LANES ARE BELONG TO US.

 

FRESH COMO MEAT: ALL YOUR LANES ARE BELONG TO US.

 

SIDEWALKS ARE FOR WALKING

I must say that I really appreciate the bikeness of this town. By and large, the steel box crowd is quite friendly to the two-wheeled minority. For instance, I have not the felt the need to pull out my U-lock and threaten a motorist who has either almost clipped my 21-speed thundermuscle or forced me to use my precision braking system. While the pretentiousness of the fixed gear bike nerds doesn’t prevail as in other midwestern cities, this city sure does love it’s mopeds/scooters/two-wheeled motored vehicles. It makes sense. The oil industry and it’s compliant partners in congress seem content with slashing taxes for said vampires while passing on the “savings” to us in the order of $3.67 per gallon (cue the guy who will say it’s cheaper here than Europe. They have mass transit, we have mass pavement) There seems to be an inordinate amount of these bike gangs to my delight. I’ll take those any day over the fast & furious XTREME tools that weave in and out of traffic at alarmingly high speeds, shirtless no less. If they are wearing a shirt, it’s probably something like this. The other thing I’m finding quite unique here is the Lil’ Rascal contingent. Assertive, confident, and fully integrated into the traffic system, our differently-abled brothers and sisters bring a smile to my face every time I see them haulin’ ass in the bike lane. Ride to Live, Live to Ride as my dad the biker used to say.

 

 

SHARKS SMELL BLOOD FOR MILES

When we met our heroes last entry, we mentioned the trouble with Doctors. As a newcomer to CoMo, we never thought that there would be a problem getting a doctor. With Health Care and Education as the foundation of the economy here, it seemed like it wouldn’t be much of a problem. A small member of THE TEAM has special needs. While this isn’t the forum to discuss the details of the dude’ condition, let’s just say for the record he’s a unique dude (and awesome). That said, I found it a bit odd finding a doctor who was even accepting new patients. One doctor’s office who shall remain anonymous( I mean, we can name names!) sounded confident that they could accommodate and get us an appointment and would confirm later that day. After the usual shenanigans, we got to the end of the conversation and was asked “does your have a any special medical conditions?” I answered yes, and explained in my best impersonation of a medical industrial-complex bureaucrat. After an awkward pause and a “well, we should have an answer later today”, we got a call back in less than two coffee breaks with the news of “he’s not accepting new patients”. Huh? Ok. Another doc had been recommended by friend that she was indeed taking in the newly arrived. I gave them a shot. The bored attendant on the phone (who could blame them? answering the phone of a doctor’s office is only slightly more exciting than being on the billing team) quickly dashed my attempt with an abrupt “we’re not accepting new patients”. Needless to say, the dude got a doc that the new insurance vampires deemed “compliant” and “in network”. The “in network” thing always reminds me of members of congress and the universal health care package they get. Do they pay premiums? What’s their co-pay? 500 for single, 1000 for family? 80/20? Was Gabriel Gifford’s extensive trauma treatment or Ted Kennedy’s brain surgery “in network”? Did they have trouble finding a doctor accepting new patients when they moved to Chocolate City? My money’s on no.

 

VG

In my short tenure as a crafty veteran, I’ve come to really enjoy the shirts of grandpa’s circa 60-75: big collars, light hues, sometimes union made, sometimes you can see nipples, tailored fit, nice button pattern, always short sleeve, etc. Like the pictures of your drunk uncles watering the grass or throwing Jarts in 1969 with a can of Hudy Delight. They might also have on some loafer of sort with dark socks. Think Uncle Eddie from Christmas Vacation, but his summer line. What I didn’t realize upon arriving in CoMo is the number of vintage stores (VG=vintage gear) per capita. It seemed pretty good considering my previous locations. In particular, I was impressed with both the collection and prices of Absolute Vintage on Broadway and 10th. I got this sweet number that’s light pink that you’ve probably already seen me in if you’ve met me. Maude seemed to cater to the 1980’s since that’s what the kids are into. As an owner of real parachute pants in the 6th grade, it is highly recommended that you do not get paddled in said pants. A bit of disclosure, I like old stuff. In high school, I was into old cars and trucks. As I later was exposed to punk rock, I started reaching back into older music. I dig old-timey bluegrass rebel songs lately. With old shirts, old music, came radical politics of the 1960’s and later Marxism. Of course this list is a bit anachronistic, but I really like old music gear too. I like to look at and play old guitars but never seem to have to funds to pay for such things. Sometimes you can find steals but mostly it’s a career full of browsing. Still, it fills up a weekend when the time is right. Which leads me to the lack of decent music stores in town. It’s a disappointment given the quality of local bands this city has produced. Is it a “well go to STL or KC” sort of thing? Maybe, but it seems there’s a need for it here with the whole RNBNBBQ business. Blue Guitars off 70 has some decent stuff, Palen Music over by all that mall shit (no relation to the clown from Alaska) feels more like a big box store or one of those places where the guitar teachers charge too much and teach you Eagles riffs, is less than desirable. CRAZY music is really just crazy small and overpriced. Sure, it’s a college town and you get over on folks but geesh. Despite a small inventory, I felt comfortable with the dirtiness of Ben’s Guitar’s on 9th. It reminded me of the place I bought my first guitar and the folks there were quite friendly.

 

Stay tuned for the next installment. Happy Labor Day. Hope you didn’t have to work. Stay Hungry.

Fresh CoMo Meat: Callin’ from the Fun House

 FRESH COMO MEAT.

I’ve been asked to write a column about my first year of living in Columbia by the wonderful folks here at CoMo Collective. I like Collectivism and Columbia is where I’ll be living so…Why Not!

DOSSIER

The TEAM (TEAM=My son aka lunch box aka heavy k aka tha dude, my amazingly-splendid-beautiful partner of 7 years, and moi) moved to Columbia June 20. Our route began in Cincinnati OH and took us to Decorah IA for 10 months. Iowa was good to us. We were greeted as liberators and exited with lasting camaraderie. Cincinnati, like any place one calls home, is like an ice cream with broken glass in it. It’s comforting and makes you fat but if you aren’t paying attention, you’ll seriously get your lip busted. Columbia was a new chapter in our tour of midwesternisms. We call it a team because it sounds a lot better than family ( i.e. famulus). Plus, no one’s trying to “get back” to team values right? Mind you, we have values, but they’re galaxies away from the folks who froth incessantly about the good ole day(s).

COMOPHOBIA?

When we got the news that we were moving here (for work as contemporary transient labor seems to do) we immediately made the trip to have look for ourselves. “College Town USA” and “CoMo” were the Wiki stickies at the top of the listing for our new base of operations and of course when we got here lots of shops, brochures, and officialdomspeak used “CoMo” rather loosely. We immediately wondered “Do people actually use this in daily conversations? It rolls of the tongue like a smartphone porno or a dime store where they only sell multi-purpose jellys. Was it an organic evolution to abbreviation of the name that locals used colloquially? Or was it one of those high-priced ad campaigns that cities use to attract corporations and the “creative class”. Everyone’s seen them because they usually have an over-priced subprime sub division with the words towne or pointe in them. Most of the public funds used in those ad campaigns go to exciting things like billboards and full color tri-folds. Or, was it an attempt by locals to say to the KC’s and STL’s of Missourah that while we may not have an arch or famous bbq, we do have a two syllable nickname that’s catchy and a bunch of keggers. Our findings remain inconclusive but the inquiry has been fun thus far.

IN THE HEAT OF THE NIGHTstick.

Coming from NE Iowa where it felt like there was 11 months of saliva-freezing winter, the August heat was amplified. We’ve gotten a pretty great tour of the public pools as a result. The Albert-Oakland was recommended as the one with least amount of pee-pee in it. Total bargain for adults and kiddies as the TEAM only incurs a charge of $10. Which isn’t bad when you compare that to a country club membership or a waterpark. The pool is large, has many chairs, tight diving boards, a sweet slide, and a large kids pool. However, it does not sell beer and has a security guard. Unlike most of the public pools outside of the downtown area in Cincinnati, this pool had a nice cross section of the CoMo population i.e. it wasn’t lily white moms and a parking lot full of suburban assault vehicles. These are good things to have in your city since most U.S. Cities are segregated like Selma circa 56. After a few visits, I noticed that with more kids (adult swim was barren) came more security guards. One particular mustachioed squadron was packing serious heat in the heat. Both looked the part with guts, wrap around shades and frontin’ like they didn’t like the new Katie Perry song that much. So I asked “Hey man, you’re really prepared there. Why do you have a gun and a nightstick?” The reply was measured “Well, a couple of years ago there was a gang fight here”. A gang fight? At a public pool in the middle of the day where the theme music to incite such violence is Ke$hia? Pretty sure that may be a bit embellished on his part but what do I know, I just got here.

Next week: Shitty guitar stores, VG, and The search for a pediatrician that is accepting new patients.