Rebellious local country band, God’s Outlaw

This past week, the new issue of the Bay View Compass came out, and with it is my profile of the hard-pickin’ country band known as God’s Outlaw. These boys play music in the style of Merle Haggard, Box Car Willie, and Johnny Cash. Their music is bawdy and boisterous—outlaw country. No columns of fire or synchronized chicken line dances at their shows. Just genuine country music, with songs about people struggling and tryin’, cussing and surviving. Give them a listen, and you’ll find it hard to reckon you’d heard anything else and called it “country” before.

The article is in every copy of the Compass that is nestled in Milwaukee east-southeast side, and available online over here. (If you read the article online, the first line is, “It all started when a Johnny Cash cassette tape got stuck in Brian Smith’s truck.” So start reading from there.)

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My first contribution to the A&E section will be my last story for the Compass for a while, as I am now running for the county board. Working for this quality paper has been a great experience, and I’m grateful to have had the opportunity to write and take photos for so many years. Thanks.

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Also, if you like the sort of quality reporting and strong local focus you find in it, please purchase a subscription to the Compass. I know it’s so very easy to read everything online, but the truth is, without our financial support, publications such as the Compass have vanished. Do you want to live in an environment when all information comes pre-digested through opinion mills and spin machines? Or do you want objectivity and fact-based reporting? Unless we — that means you, me, and our friends — subscribe to the Compass, it may very well go under. I don’t want that. You don’t want that either. And the low cost of a subscription is much better in the long and short run than the cost of losing such a quality publication.

So do it. You’ll make more of a difference than you know.

And if you’re a fan of Johnny Cash, check out God’s Outlaw. They’ve got a show coming up on 11 November at Rocco’s VFW Post, 2860 S. Kinnickinnic Ave. That just happens to be Veteran’s Day, so come out and show your appreciation for our soldiers and sailors. Hope to see you there!


State Assembly candidate refuses to answer questions for local newspaper

Molly McGartland, Republican candidate for the Wisconsin 20th Assembly District, has refused to answer any questions for the Bay View Compass newspaper’s candidate questionnaire. In contrast, her opponent, incumbent state Rep. Christine Sinicki, did submit answers to their questions. Questionnaires Sinkicki, McGartland, Jon Richards (D) and his challenger Crista Burns (R) for are in the current issue of the Compass.

The story is not yet online. A link shall be provided when it becomes available.

As a former newspaper man and once-and-future candidate, I find it very offensive when candidates at any level refuse to talk to the media. Like it or not, the media is our source of information on important topics like elections.

Disclosure: I have been a newspaper publisher and independent media activist, and have written extensively for the Compass. My profile of the renegade country band God’s Outlaw appears in the Nov. 2010 issue.

Compass coverage of the community’s quick collaboration

The Bay View Compass has produced some great photos and a very enthusiastic article about our new garden. Thanks to Mike Timm for his fine writing and camera work.

You can find the article over here.

Bonus points if you can find my daughter in not one but two photographs. She’s even in a third, though for the most part you can’t really tell that she’s standing behind me.

Sometimes, it’s good to see the future.

Sometimes I think I can foresee the future a bit. Sometimes, it’s bad, like when someone’s going to befall tragedy. (Hate it when that happens to me). But sometimes, it’s for things like the grand new community garden we’re going to build on May 1st.

A year and ten days ago, this entry ran in my column in the Bay View Compass:

“If there were a public garden in Bay View, would you use it, and what would you plant?”

Sometimes, it’s good to be able to see the future.

Alterra coming to Bay View? Public meeting on Monday.

Apparently so. They have plans for it and everything. They plan to use the currently empty (and, frankly, unattractive) bank building at the corner of Lincoln and KK as a bakery and cafe.

The Bay View Compass has a lengthy article on this. It’s fitting that we’ll be getting an Alterra here. We joked in the April Fools content of the last issue of the Compass about how the acupuncturists and salons were getting into a tiff with each other. Or maybe it was the cafés and the salons. I don’t have it in front of me, and it’s not online. (Therefore, it doesn’t exist! Right?…)

Two of my friends have long hounded Alterra for getting a sweetheart deal on their lakefront cafe at the pumping station. Part of me agrees. Part of me wonders how much government involvement is needed to help revitalize old portions of the city. And part of me wonders who initiated the deal-making that gave them such a good rate. It certainly helped launch Alterra toward becoming sort of a local Starbucks—with much better coffee.

We do need something there on the corner of Lincoln and KK. The empty building is an eyesore and a drag on the otherwise busiest corner of Bay View. And if anything can be done to improve the stretch of Lincoln west from there, we need to hear about that, too.

From the Must-be-doing-something-right Dept.

While one may think that I’d be making a lot more blog posts, what with my graduation from college and my schedule having (momentarily) “opened like to petals of the lotus flower — though not nearly as ‘groovy‘ as that sounds.” Instead, this blog has been kind of inactive for a while. With good reason. Reasons, actually: graduating from college a little later in life than most graduates do, settling into a happy married life, and looking for a job.

Most of the hits that this blog has gotten recently have been things that seem genuinely abstruse to me: the terms “beard” and “mariqueen reznor” have gotten the most, for my posts on each of the two subjects. (“windmill beard” currently follows a close third, but that goes to the same post.) And it seems a bot was generating a huge number of hits here to the home page, where I assure you nothing really interesting awaits. (Kay argues otherwise, saying this blog is “well written and thoughtful” and one of her “must reads. Well, thank you!)

So, what’s happened in my absence from the Cheddarsphere?

For me, it’s been much of what I discussed above. I periodically explain to people that I need to take a “long-term perspective” with finding a use for my history degree, which means that it will take at least five to ten, if not twenty years, before we can start to assess how my job hunt has gone, much less pass judgment on it. When relayed in person, this is understood as a wry joke; I fear it loses something in the digitalization of cyberspace, which strips the personal touch of spoken delivery that show I’m making a joke. Hopefully my five readers are smart enough to catch that. Given that you’re here, reading this, I’d say that’s the case.

Locally, we’re starting to get geared up for the 2010 Victory Garden InitiativeBlitz,” which will bring raised bed gardening to dozens of area homes, churches, schools, and businesses. And just up the street from me, Sweet Water Organics has auctioned off its first fish, and plans to begin selling them en mass next month, February 2010. Their operation has expanded past what you can see in the pictures in this article from the Bay View Compass. They’ve started building a greenhouse structure over the fish/veg-growing runways, and plan to open another three runways each holding some 10,000 fish. Friday fish fries that feature trout may soon return to Milwaukee!

A late night shooting in downtown Bay View

A man was shot late last night in downtown Bay View when he tried to intervene in what may have been a domestic dispute. I heard today that he ran outside in his boxer shorts to help a woman who was screaming for help. The same person also told me first that the man had died, but then old me that he was okay.

I have no information other than what appeared in this article on the Bay View Compass website. The Compass deserves credit for breaking the story. I have yet to see a word from any other media sources.

This shooting does not indicate that the neighborhood is going south. Events like this make Bay View come together and support those who were injured and demand that justice be performed.

More as soon as I know it.

Update: It seems that the victim is alive. We are getting conflicting reports as to the cause of the event. So nothing new beyond that he’s still alive.