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Fri. Feb. 24, 2018   Frameless

Mangelsdorffian Farewells

     Because I have been writing about the history of the East Side starting with retrospectives in the Bugle (covering earlier literary efforts at UWM & elsewhere thru the time of Kaleidoscope), it seemed to fall upon me to update readers with news of some of the figures of the era -- mostly sad, unfortunately, covering the deaths of Bob Watt, Jim Glynn, the Gibsons, Dennis Gall & others who made a mark.  Now, from Harvey Taylor comes news of the condition of music reviewer, critic & writer Rich Mangelsdorff:

     Kevin [Lynch] & Mike,
          I'm guessing you both knew Rich quite well,
     'back in the day' -- probably much better than
     I -- and perhaps know that he's fallen on very
     hard times, is in a care facility on the East side,
     with the clock apparently ticking faster & 
    
faster -- but in case you haven't heard, thought
     you'd want to know. ('Bria On The Lake,' 2115
     E Woodstock, #135
)
          Pls pass this along to friends of Rich.

     The news changes quickly, especially in his serious condition (advanced bladder cancer), & the latest I have is that he went to Columbia St. Mary's Hospital for surgery.  At any rate, tributes can be expected, so I thought I would contribute here some of my remembrances, following Kevin Lynch at the Shepherd Express online edition:
 https://shepherdexpress.com/…/paying-tribute-to-milwaukee…/…,

or Lynch's expanded blog entry at 
http://kevernacular.com/?p=9732, & HarveyTaylor's FB poetic impressions,
https://www.facebook.com/harvey.taylor.336/posts/1656914837735690, with something more most likely to come in print if a memorial is scheduled as for Glynn, Watt & Gall.
     As noted by Kevin Lynch in an e-mail to the Shepherd's Dave Lurhrssen, "a true Milwaukee original" is "Rich Mangelsdorff, a seminal figure in Milwaukee alternative newspapers, going back to 'Kaleidoscope,' culture, and jazz journalism," as mentioned in his forthcoming book "Voices in the River: The Jazz Message to Democracy."
     Even before K'scope I knew Rich thru English classes & classmates at UWM & the old Barney's (Wayside Inn) Downtown, later John Hawks Pub on Broadway.  He was contributing music reviews when I was a writer & News Editor, so references to his work start early in my Bugle History of the Counterculture & are scattered thruout the piece, with emphasis on our collaboration (with George Johnson) on the Fortnightly student publication that was censored for obscenity & forced off-campus, renamed as The Other. 
www.zonyx.net/TEXTS/BugHist.html#reaction
 
     Rich then took it over completely, obtaining thru his wide contacts contributions by such as Charles Bukowski.  I praised his critical expertise -- from music to architecture -- in such publications as K'scope & the NOLA Express, but in terming his public persona as "calculated boorishness" (even the skilled Milwaukee Journal writer Jay Scriba considered that accurate), I earned his enmity, which lasted for years.  The feud -- on his part -- was compounded by his interest in a girl I was dating, who later transformed her name into the more French-sounding Justine Berger.  But she told me her feelings towards him were mostly of considering him a friendly mentor (who still lived with his parents), & it was all complicated by her real crush on Journal reporter Mike Kirkhorn, another regular at John Hawks. 
     That his personality was gruff, at the very least, is seen in a 1967 poem by Dave Porter in the local poetry mag Pretty Mama, limning also another local character, poet (of sorts) & artist Bob Watt [http://www.zonyx.net/TEXTS/WattPage.html
]:

          when mangelsdorff meets watt

     "turf" the big m will bawl 
     "goodies" from the smiling mischief
 
     treetrunks will shatter lollipops
 
     popcorn will smother the bear
 
     "hassle" said one
 
     the other answered "caboose"
 
     "rumble" one belched
 
     "buttons" the other whispered
 
     "mess"
 
     "toys"
 
     "cunt"
 
     "girlies"
 
     and they blasted and wafted
 
     grunted and kissed stomped and
 
     soft-toed
 
     until they sagged and blobbed into a
 
     puddle of tar and lemon meringue

     My next major recognition of Rich was in the companion Bugle article on the History of Kaleidoscope, where I reprinted his early piece on trends in music & some iconic figures from Cisco Houston to Al Kooper: www.zonyx.net/TEXTS/KscopeStory.html#audience

.
     In recent years -- as I overlooked ny belief that he had stomped a dent into the hood of my vulnerable Volkswagen with a heavy boot as it was parked in front of Justine's building on Prospect Ave. -- he apparently came to appreciate my recognition of his work & we began conversing by phone.  He enphasized that he was not computer-averse, just that he didn't own one & that he couldn't follow my suggestion to visit the North Ave. Library for Internet access because of growing inability to walk any distance -- which also kept us from catching some beers & reminiscing at nearby Jamo's.  So he couldn't catch up on recent online revisions & additions to my Bugle Histories, & unfortunately -- when I pointed it out to him -- his fictional counterpart, a character named Julian Feindorfer I based on his distinctive presence in The Renegades Part I.  He liked the name, & I reassured him -- truthfully -- that it wasn't an unlikable role: 
www.zonyx.net/TEXTS/Renegades.html#Feindorfer

     But being somewhat of a recluse myself -- tho perfectly able to walk & drive -- I put off making arrangement to get together & the phone calls tapered off as apparently his condition deteriorated, tho he was never specific about other disabilities.  
     So with news about Rich's grave condition upon us, whatever the outcome, I pass on these mentions of him I've published, including a fictional characterization that reveals more of his personality. He leaves a lasting impression, at least for the time recollections of any of this disappearing generation of Milwaukee's East Side literary contributors linger, while we can all hope that our actual written efforts will be retained someplace, should anyone care to investigate in some curious future.

                                          Zonyx Scorpio Mascot
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Note: There is a gap of 11 years after the  previous entry.  Observations will follow as events & time warrant.  See my Facebook page for more ephemeral recent Facebook Icon Comments.
Sat. Oct. 6, 2007   Frameless

Time Thump: K'scope 40 Years Ago Today [No. 1-
Oct.6,1967]

[Below: Police Riot in Chicago.  Issue #22, Sept. 13 - 26,
1968.  A sample of the years of turmoil recorded in
Kaleidoscope for this continuing look back.]

       Chicago Police Riot, K'scope Cover Sept. 1968

     Those just tuning in may notice an extensive gap in this
column, explained in a previous entry by emotional suffering
& a withdrawal to contemplative inaction caused by damage
inflicted on the author by the Blonde Beguiler.  [Besides, I had
to clean my apartment.]  Work did continue on fiction entries
-- with more to come -- & some observations below on
Milwaukee's connections to the Holocaust & a Blogging of the
Bible.   
     Well, time thumps on, as Milwaukee artist, poet &
exterminating angel Bob Watt wrote some 40 years ago in
Kaleidoscope's first issue, & as you no doubt have been
noticing for a while, the events of 40 years ago in general --
from San Francisco's Summer of Love & Milwaukee's
so-called race riots of 1967 in which the National Guard was
called out, presumably to at least the early 70s -- have either
ripened in the imagination or receded to a past of dimness &
distortion to a point where popular media sees a need to take
another look at the highlights of what happened.  Whether on
TV or in the papers, it seems 40 years is a convenient point to
look back from.
     So
Z-Blog  will do its part by re-examining every issue of
Kaleidoscope, one issue at a time, thru its demise in 1971, with
appropriate illustrations scanned & reproduced where possible
& text reprinted.  I'll add original commentary -- since I was
there as its news editor & in other capacities -- & what I hope
will be appropriate insights on the era in general, as they
accrued over the intervening decades.
     For aging hippies of the day, it should be one last,
nostalgic resurrection of a fading past, & for the younger
readers an instructive, maybe enjoyable -- if not indispensable
-- history.
     In the beginning
K'scope aspired to publish every two
weeks, so check in about that often to keep abreast -- or see
some (breasts, that is), since in the early hippie days women's
sensitivities to sexism were not what they became with later
issues, & Dirty Old Men sought out the paper Downtown,
helping sales, for its illustrations of naked chicks -- as
accepted without question in advertising as they were in
casual hippie gatherings of the day.  [Comments are welcome,
of course, & will be considered for publication, if you wish.]
     Eventually, peace & love faded as the Vietnam War
escalated & violence & repression took over in the
country -- a journey to be re-lived thru the pages of
K'scope --
& factions vied for control of the paper.  But even in the
beginning it wasn't only psychedelia, peace & poetry -- after
all, we were destined to land before the US Supreme Court
after conviction by Wisconsin for obscenity, tho our real
offenses were no doubt political.  Time thump, time thump,
time thump. . . .
     

Issue #1 - Oct. 6, 1967
Cover by George Lottermoser
Montage of Joyce Lottermoser & Dan Ball (Velvet Whip)
    
      The first issue is already quite well excerpted, since I wrote a Kaleidoscope #1 Cover, Oct. 1967.  Click for Details.history of the paper for the
Bugle-American, reprinted on this
website.  The cast of characters includes
some who will be around for years -- in the paper & on the scene -- & many who
are forgotten.  Some will be brought back in this blog.  The familiar names, at least
in some circles, are Editor John Kois
[not-so-manifest], Assistant Editor John
Sahli
, Art Editor Gene Caldwell, News
Editor George Johnson, Poetry Editor
Bob Reitman, Chicago Editor Jim
Bowers
, columnist Bob Watt
[Zen bug chaser], reviewer Rich
Mangelsdorff
[serious Pop Rocks]; & contributors Barbara &
Morgan Gibson, Dan Peterson, Richard Bussian, Rikki Huston
& Dan Ball.  Just follow the links above or in the
history for more
detail.
       The important local news of the day as reflected in K'scope (&
there was sometimes no apparent connection) was the open
housing
marches into the hostile white South Side led by Fr.
Groppi
& the NAACP Youth Council as recounted by Barbara
Gibson
.
       They had been going on for a while & would continue, but her
detailed, emotive story is the heart of the first issue, which
otherwise relies heavily on reviews, columns & hippie
impressionism in general:  


                              October 6-19, 1967

                                                                                   /Open Housing March, Milwaukee
                         
A DAY IN THE MARCH . . .
    by Barbara Gibson
     The paper says that today (September 9) the
march will go
"deep into the South Side."  That scares me because I've heard
what's happened there the past week.  So of course I have to go.
 I have marched with them one other time this week -- from
[Judge Christ] Seraphim's house on the East Side back to St.
Boniface
, holding my little daughter's hand the whole time. . . .
                                                                 [follow link to full text


     [Editor's note:  These entries are way behind
     schedule, but I'll try to do better]

                                        Z-Blog Scorpio Mascot
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Thu. July 20, 2006   Frameless
     1877 --  US: State militia fire on striking railroad
        workers, Baltimore, Maryland; 50 die.

     --The Daily Bleed

                   Flames of Holocaust

     Milwaukee has a little-known double connection to
horror (besides Jeffrey Dahmer), not only to the Black
Holocaust
but to the Holocaust of the Jews.

     Holocaust, by its first definition online, is the general
  • Great destruction resulting in the extensive loss of
     life, especially by fire.

     But it is the more specialized meaning, usually
capitalized,  that is generally reserved for the fate of
Jews in WW II:

    
Holocaust The genocide of European Jews and
     others by the Nazis during World War II 
[same source]

that has led to the broader use of A massive slaughter
[same source] to apply to the fate of many blacks at the
hands of American lynch mobs during our worst period of
racism, as in the Black Holocaust.  In any case, tho fire
was generally only involved sporadically (as a form of
torture or mutilation for blacks) or peripherally (that is,
cremation ovens for Jews), the widespread annihilation
based on race or ethnic characteristics -- and
homosexuality -- has become today's accepted use for the
term.  [See the exhaustive history at
Answers.com for
Nazi victims besides Jews, for example.]  This led to the
use of the holocaust label in the life's work of
Milwaukee's James Cameron, founder of America's
Black Holocaust
Museum, who died at 92 on Sunday,
June 11
.
      His achievements were deservedly recognized in his
obituary in the Journal Sentinel, where it is noted "the
only known survivor of a lynching"
took up his mission
after "getting inspiration while visiting Yad Vashem,
Israel's Holocaust museum."
An overlooked -- if minor
controversy -- is the conflation or usurpation of the term

Maafa for the fate of Africans and African-Americans, as
recounted at its site at
Answers.com:

         The Maafa translated into English means The
     Enslavement of (Mama) Africa. It is derived from a
     Kiswahili word meaning "disaster", or "terrible occurrence."
     When capitalised it refers to the oppression of African
     people murdered, raped and inhumanly enslaved by Arabs
     and Europeans.
    

     At any rate, The Maafa, not Black Holocaust, is the
term preferred by some. 
The situation is complicated
by
those who insist that
 

     Whilst the word 'holocaust' can be used to refer to
     large scale deaths of humans by humans, if capitalised
     it only refers to the Jewish/German persecutions. This
     asserts that the Holocaust is the 'real' holocaust and
     that the African holocaust is nothing but a poor
     facsimile.


     
And the same goes for the Black HolocaustAt any rate,
though Cameron popularized his use of the term, discussions of
the Jewish Holocaust tend to be vague about its derivation, saying
only that it came into use in the '50s; some credit author Elie
Wiesel
(
Night).  But Z-Blog has turned up the theory that former
Milwaukeean Fred Blair, owner of Mary's Book Shop
Downtown (named for his wife) & an old-time labor organizer,
Communist gadfly & nemesis of J. Edgar Hoover himself, was the
first to use the term.
  His death at 93 in March 2005 was noted in
part of a long
Z-Blog entry  [Tue. June 7, 2005] on 3 local guys
named Fred (really).  In it, I quote an obscure
observation [Fri. June
10, 2005]
to the point that

    
In The Ashes of Six Million Jews, a book-length poem of
     1946, for example,
Fred Blair gives a close and graphic
     description of a mass execution of Jews -- one of the first
     literary representations in the language.
[emphasis added]

    
It's all part of that controversy, again, involving author William
Styron
& others, over how exclusive the modern use of holocaust
should be.

    
The 1946 verse, for those who don't want to follow the links
above, reads:

                 
The executioners pour pitch
                   And oil into the groaning ditch,
                   And drive away the settling frost
                   With a fierce human holocaust.

    
For other readers, I suggest following this column's links to the
Three Freds & other topics for some more forgotten Milwaukee
radical history -- including that of Blair -- & the Journal
Sentinel's
diffidence in what it later espoused as part of its path to
promoting justice.
     Of course, since Cameron built on the earlier use of holocaust
in 1946, it can be claimed that Blair was responsible for the term
Black Holocaust as well as that for the Jewish experience.  Quite
an achievement for someone labeled Wisconsin's top Communist
by J. Edgar Hoover and eventually awarded $48,000 for the FBI's
persecution.
                                                    Z-Blog Scorpio Mascot

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Sun. July 16, 2006   Frameless    

            God Decides: Round or Cube Earth?

Sunday Sermon XIV:  A Sunday Kind of Blog  (By a Jew)
    
Is it true God loves a bald man?  We've already
 established he hates
amputees.  And since it seems
 true that Leviticus is
    
    
the No. 1, all-time favorite, top-of-the-pops Bible verse
     for social conservatives:
Leviticus 18:22.
         "Do not lie with a male as one lies with a woman;
     it is an abhorrence."
    

    
Why is it not equally important (not just to
conservative Jews, if indeed it is) to conservatives that

        
As with food and skin, purity and impurity are
     the chief Levitical concern. If a man ejaculates, he has
     to bathe and remains impure for the rest of the day.
     (Incidentally, this suggests that the Bible tolerates
     masturbation, since the ejaculation described is one
     that doesn't occur during intercourse. 
More evidence
     that we misread the Onan story
.)  If a man has sex
     with a woman, they both have to bathe and remain
     impure for the rest of the day.
[?]
    

  
  And it is so seldom these days that the moralists express any concern about whether citizens are bathing appropriately following sex that one might almost think they are choosing their Bible verses selectively.  Ignoring, for example, the purification ritual for a healed leper, which requires that the ex-leper shave off all his body hair . . . twice.

    
These & other issues (man, are there other issues) are raised by every entry in a gently hilarious new Blog which may have escaped the attention of even regular readers of the online mag Slate, by David Plotz.  It is, as he asks, in Blogging the Bible, What happens when an ignoramus reads the Good Book?
    
There he discovers in Genesis, just for starters, that

          The founding fathers of the 12 tribes of Israel lie,
     breach a contract, encourage pagans to convert to
     Judaism only in order to incapacitate them for
     slaughter, murder some innocents and enslave
     others, pillage and profiteer, and then justify it all with
     an appeal to their sister's defiled honor.  (Which,
     incidentally, may not have been defiled at all. . . .


    
Which leads him to wonder

     .  . .
what else had I forgotten or never learned?
     I decided I would, for the first time as an adult,
     read the Bible.  And I would blog about it as I
     went along. . . .


     You can join the quest for elucidation of Biblical obscurities &
contradictions a short way into the project (considering the length
of the Bible, it's barely begun) & then backtrack to Genesis at the
current entry at Leviticus, or start at the first entry
(recommended).  Not only will you learn that God approves of
male-pattern baldness, but why eating 
everything buggy except
locusts, crickets, and grasshoppers
is wrong, wrong, wrong.
     But it should be noted that this approach to Biblical
scholarship is not new;
The Skeptic's Annotated Bible [SAB] has
been around for years & is a complete guide to the whole thing
with all the explication from a non-believer's point of view that
anyone could want -- especially a believer, who with any common
sense won't remain such for long.  The site does indeed link to
Plotz's journal -- Plotz's advantage being that the journey is
broken into small doses & it is enjoyable visiting new ground
through an amateur's (if well-informed) rational eyes for the first
time.  With The Skeptic's Bible, it is hard to know when to stop
reading for a while, tho it does offer indexes to topics & such, &
even includes a guide to Christian responses.  Either one, then, is
time well-spent -- which, after all, is nothing to the eternity most
of us will spend in Hell if all the dicta we are exhorted to live up
to have any validity.
                                                       


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Mon. July 3, 2006   Frameless
  
1860 -- US: Charlotte Perkins Gilman lives (1860-1935),
     Hartford Connecticut.  American writer, early theorist of the
     feminist movement.  Founder /editor of Forerunner 1909-1916;
     helped found Woman's Peace Party 1915.
     Early American feminist novelist, author of Herland.

http://www.womenwriters.net/domesticgoddess/gilman1.html
http://www.kirjasto.sci.fi/gilman.htm

    
--The Daily Bleed

     Patient readers will have noticed a slacking off of
entries to
Z-Blog recently;  this is because of emotional
damage inflicted by the otherwise nameless Blonde
Beguiler
.  Some may think it odd for someone of my
advanced years (documented elsewhere on my site) to be
so affected by a onetime 59-year-old romantic interest,
but I maintain it is not unusual for those however mature
not bogged down in longstanding relationships to be as
vulnerable as any sex-obsessed teenager.  Probably
nursing homes see their share of tormented relationships
among the still-sentient & available. 
     Unexpected callous behavior notwithstanding, the
reader may notice I have still struggled on at least
somewhat, in part because the world of young adults of
the early '60s in Milwaukee & their intrigues & romantic
(that is, sex-obsessed) escapades is not far from the
travail that delayed this entry.  So it is at least that I was
able to concentrate on a short story, the second
chronologically in a continuing series, leading to this
Fiction Alert:
    
New Short Story from M'waukee Stories
[Index at Left]
                                        Rat
          Sex, Bugs & Bar-hopping to a Doo-Wop Beat

                       second in the series, at  
          
http://www.zonyx.net/TEXTS/Rat.html
   
     With this explanation out of the way, I can say entries to the
Blog will resume, including media criticism -- notably of the
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's notoriously weak
copy desk -- &
the ever-popular
Sunday SermonsKeep watching this space.
                                              Z-Blog Scorpio Mascot

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Sun. April 16, 2006   Frameless

                               From Defunct Passion of the Shrimp Site.  Go to Z-Blog Entry [Wait for Loading]

Sunday Sermon XIII:  Easter Sermon Searches for
Mandy . . . er, Maundy Thursday

   Just-revealed scroll tests usual view of
   Judas; Disciple's good-guy status ignites
   controversy

        BY LILLY ROCKWELL Cox News Service

    WASHINGTON -- An ancient Egyptian manuscript
     lost for 1,700 years was unveiled publicly for the first
     time Thursday, challenging the long-held view that
     Judas was a treacherous disciple who betrayed Jesus. . . .

     That new item leads to this Web article:
                   The Death of Christ
The crucifixion, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ is
probably the single most important event in the Christian
religion.  The crucifix itself, an instrument of torture and
death, is the most common symbol associated with
Christians.  It is found in their churches, in their houses
and often hanging around their necks.  The inconsistencies
and contradictions surrounding the Easter story are well
known (if you think there are no problems, see if you can
complete Dan Barker's Easter Challenge) and I'm not going
to cover that area.  The problem I have is with the whole
point of the crucifixion (assuming, for the sake of argument,
that it actually happened).  What was it all for?  What good
did it do? . . .
                 [follow links above to continue]

     Even as a child in Sunday School I began to
wonder -- as have many others at that age, I'm sure --
about the logic behind the crucifixion story, starting
with the betrayal by Judas.  Wasn't that the way it was
supposed to play out?  Why then the condemnation of
Judas?  He was just fulfilling a necessary role, it
seemed, & of course God had known the future.  I
wasn't sophisticated enough to question the need for
Judas
to identify him for the Romans with a kiss, tho
our Bible story books carried pictures of his triumphant
entry on Palm Sunday at the beginning of Holy Week:

     [From
Wikipedia]
     Palm Sunday is a moveable feast in the
     church calendar observed by Catholic, Orthodox,
     and Protestant Christians. It is the Sunday before
     Easter. In the Western church it must always fall on
     one of the 35 dates between March 15 and April 18.
     The feast commemorates an event reported by all
     four Canonical Gospels (:Mark 11:1-11, Matthew 21:1-11,
     Luke 19:28-44, and John 12:12-19) - the Triumphal
     Entry of Jesus into Jerusalem in the days before
     his
execution. . . .
 

   
Both John and the Synoptics state that Jesus then rode the colt
     into Jerusalem, with the Synoptics adding that the disciples had
     first put their cloaks on it, so as to make it more comfortable. 
     The Canonical Gospels then go on to describe how Jesus rode
     into Jerusalem, and how the people there lay down their cloaks in
     front of him, and also lay down small branches of trees. The
     people are also described as singing part of Psalm 118 - ...Blessed
     is he who comes in the name of Yahweh.  Blessed is the coming
     kingdom of our father, David. . . . (Psalms 118:25-26).
   
     Where this entry is supposed to have taken place is unspecified;
     some scholars argue that the Golden Gate is the likely location,
     since that was where it was believed the Jewish messiah would
     enter Jerusalem; other scholars think that an entrance to the south,
     which had stairs leading directly to the Temple, would be more likely. . . .

     Surely he was a very well-known figure, even
discounting the glow that always made him stand out in
any illustration.

     On the other hand, even in my limited way, as a
10-year-old, say, I wondered how we knew a god -- or
Jesus -- really felt pain as we did.  It might have been all
for show, but the temptation to turn it off would seem to
be overwhelming, assuming a supernatural being felt as
we did in the first place.  And wouldn't a god know it
was only temporary, to be followed by eternity in heaven
-- a small price to pay?  And didn't the whole concept of
the Son suffering at the Father's behest negate the idea
of  One God in the first place? 
     Of course, I never got valid answers to these
questions, & realized it was for a simple reason -- uncomfortable as it made adults & the Rev. Reed of
St. John's Methodist Church, they weren't holding back
some sophisticated line of reasoning.  They didn't know,
& ignored that which was awkward for them.
     As an adult, I don't usually trouble believers with
uncomfortable questions about their faith, but I
sometimes like to establish that they don't really know
much about what it is they do profess to believe.  So,
for example, around Easter time I like to ask them what
in blazes is Maundy Thursday all about.  Just what
does it mean, other than designating the day before Good
Friday
?  So far, no one has answered correctly, even if
they have a general idea about the Last Supper taking
place then.  [Hint:  It is related to
mandate.]
    
More info:
Maundy Thursday at
http://www.thisischurch.com/christianinfo/maundythursday.htm
                                               Z-Blog Scorpio Mascot

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Sun. April 2, 2006   Frameless
   1966 -- Vietnam: 100,000 Vietnamese ingrates demonstrate
     in Da Nang against US & South Vietnamese governments.
     Civil unrest spreads to Hue & Saigon.  Apparently they did
     not understand America was bringing them Civilization (ala
     Ayn Rand) & Democracy (ala CIA, FBI, NSA, etc) &
     Freedom (largest prison population in the world, death
      penalty, crime rate, etc).
         --The Daily Bleed

Sunday Sermon XII:  Eukey's Search for Melrose Baggy
Foto: Jim Eukey & CD
    
I knew of long-time East Sider & friend Jim Eukey's
illness with pancreatic
cancer, for a few months
before his death on March 19.
But he had never mentioned
he was even sick when I told
him by phone what I had
learned for my own purposes
about applying for Medicaid -- which even at 63 he was eligible for since he was
already collecting SSI for a long-standing disability, tho
no one had ever explained that to him.  I suggested that if
he was fed up with trying to get thru by phone to a
caseworker -- as he was -- he should pack a lunch &
take a book & camp out at the welfare office on Vliet
St.
, a tactic that had worked for me.  Typically
impatient -- apparently with good reason --  he cast
about for another way & later told me he had gotten our
county supervisor, Gerry Broderick, to help. 
     So I learned of his illness indirectly, thru some
forwarded e-mail concerning the late
Jim Barker's
memorial at
Von Trier's, where Eukey was
photographed.  As I learned the following Tuesday from
his Journal Sentinel
death notice, he died Sunday the
19th while I was drinking at the traditional St. Patrick's
Day
celebration at
Regano's -- an occasion he would
have approved of, since he often enjoyed a Pilsner
Urquel or several at home, tho I saw him at a bar only
once in the 25 or so years I knew him.  He could have,
of course, filled a bar with the smoke from his own
cigarettes alone -- which made visiting his flat a
problem for me -- but he nonetheless abstained at the
smoke-free
Beans & Barley on North Ave., where we
often ran into each other. 
     I knew pancreatic cancer was vicious & fast -- it
killed my mother & for a while it seemed celebrities all
over the world from Mickey Mantle to Henry Mancini
to
Milwaukee Rep actor & OBG's regular Dewey
McDonald
were dying because of it.  Or maybe I just
had a special sensitivity to it then.  But I didn't know
how far along he was or what I should do, when Tony
Ciano
, our former landlord -- Jim had lived across the
hall from me for many years & was still there with all
his record albums until he went into the hospice,
presumably using Medicaid -- called to say that my
name had recently come up in their conversation, but
that he had taken a very bad turn.
     So I mulled that over in my cowardly way -- Did he
want to see anybody now?  What could I say?  Why
hadn't he called me earlier?  Was I relieved he had
spared me?  Was it too late too be meaningful, or maybe
too embarrassing for him  -- & was still making excuses
for myself for not checking it out when he died. 
     I was gratified to see his life merited attention in
the Shepherd Express of March 30, where his talents as
photographer, composer, musician & writer of poetry &
screenplays  [a link that may be taken down like his
Web site] -- unfortunately, unproduced & mostly
unpublished -- were noted.  One piece that did make it
into print was his exploration of the so-called
Wisconsin
Triangle:


     
On August 27, 1990 , the date that Stevie Ray Vaughan and
    others died in a helicopter crash near Lake Geneva after a
    concert at Alpine Valley, I began to speculate about the
    coincidences associated with that tragic event and two other
    related plane crash deaths of pop music stars, all at the peaks
    of their careers and all within 225 miles of each other. . . .

       Buddy Holly's death at Clear Lake, Iowa in 1959 and Otis
    Redding's death in Madison, Wisconsin in 1967.  Now these
    three events did not occur closely in time, but they are certainly
    associated in many other ways.  As I investigated these matters
    I found quite a few "coincidences" relating to dates, places, and
    early American Indian effigy burial mounds.
    
    
The article was published in the Metro Milwaukee Weekly,
which later merged with the Shepherd Express,
& is found on
the Internet on
Lisa Baugh's Home Page!  [as Wisconsin
Death Trip
, tho it has nothing to do with Michael Lesy's book.]

    
But one of Jim's major activities was the used vinyl business,
& he had been helpful by finding me a copy of the early
Milwaukee psychedelic band
Shag's Stop & Listen / Melissa
45, & a Tex Ritter album with Rye Whiskey & the Boll Weevil
song -- an artifact from my childhood.  Of course, I linked to his
record business from my own site & offered a sample of his
latest
Swing State 2004 CD (as Shawn O. Eukey) nicely
ridiculing the Bush administration & taking on Condoleezza
Rice
with a parody,
Condo-Leasa, of Mona Lisa that morphs
lovely work of art into ugly jerk-off wart .
     Previously, he had put out his satiric take on cell phones in a
 
parody of Jailhouse Rock.
     Others have written of his caustic sense of humor & quirky
enthusiasms, such as the correct name for our solar system.  One
of his latest projects was researching his past; in finding out about
his birth-mother he said he had only recently turned up the fact
that his biological father had gone down with the torpedoed US
Army
troopship
Dorchester in 1943, with 900 men aboard --
known as the ship of the Immortal Four Chaplains, who were 


   
among the first on deck, calming the men and handing out
     life jackets.  When they ran out, they took off their own and
     placed them on waiting soldiers without regard to faith or
     race.  Approximately 18 minutes from the explosion, the ship
     went down.  They were the last to be seen by witnesses; they
     were standing arm-in-arm. . . .
    

  
Unfortunately, tho he was only looking for his roots, for the
most part his father's family wanted nothing to do with him.
But Jim took things in stride, & at one of our last talks at the
B & B counter I gave him another quest.  I had long been
puzzling over a singer from my school days, whose name I
couldn't forget tho the tune or tunes he recorded didn't come to
mind until I looked him up.  Even then, I couldn't hear them in my
mind, & found no sound files to play or even a biography.  Only a
name:
Melrose Baggy.  Many people I mention him to think I am
making it up, but he gained fame, such as it was, right after
Conway Twitty [Harold  Lloyd Jenkins] made  his first big rock
record, before turning country.  Probably not coincidentally,
Ferlin Husky
was also a star then, & as Rick Ollman pointed
out at the lunch counter, Elvis Presley was huge at the time.  It
appears Baggy's only 45s were Beauty & Sighin', tho he
co-wrote at least one song as David R. SandersonBeauty is
found on several compilation records of the era -- 1959 -- such
as
Teen-Age Dreams Vol. I,  but there are no DLs  on the Web
that I could find.  He promised to keep an eye open, but now I'm
stuck without Jim on the job, & unless someone sends me a
sound file, I'll never know the true quality of Baggy's
achievement.  [With the advent of YouTube, the 1959 doo-wop Beauty may be played Play YouTube: Melrose Baggy's BEAUTYhere.]
     His downstairs neighbor, Ralph
Larsen, tells me the family is
donating Jim's records to the Milwaukee School of
Engineering's
free-form FM station,
WMSE, a fitting legacy.
He lived alone except for his cat, Mademoiselle, & I trust she'll
find a  new home also, in which to ponder his absence in her
catlike way.  But a Sunday Sermon should have a point -- this
one, though, finds me still at the juncture where I am pondering
Jim's absence & have not gotten beyond the point where I am
often reminded how recently I saw him & now it is over, just like
that.  Remembering the bottles of beer he could find for me late
at night when I knocked on his door in desperation, the giant aloe
plants on his upstairs porch where I could look out & see
amongst them from my own bedroom window the homegrown
Milwaukee weed he cultivated & shared.  What good, I wonder,
does a tribute do any of us once we're gone, & would he be glad
I've tried to do one for him?  And, of course, it it just my own
sense of vulnerability I am trying to fight off ?   But for what it's
worth, I'm sorry he's gone.  As a man who especially appreciated
recordings, including those of long-dead musicians, he might
have found it satisfying to contemplate -- if he did -- that
millions of people could access via the recently constructed, in human terms, Internet a little of himself, a lot longer than most humans stayed in memory in the past.  Including Melrose Baggy, who may not be even be dead yet,  but who is gone & forgotten as completely as if he were.

         
New Feature: Surprise URL of the Week:
          ITMFA: http://www.itmfa.com/

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Tue. March 28, 2006   Frameless
 
1909 -- Novelist Nelson Algren (A Walk on the Wild Side,
  
The Man With the Golden Arm
) lives. (1909-1981), Detroit,
   Michigan.  Grew up in Chicago in a poor Polish neighborhood,
   served a four-month jail term for stealing a typewriter. 
Algren
   joined John Reed Club & was editor of the  New Anvil, an
   experimental magazine.  Heavy drinker & gambler, involved
    with Simone de Beauvoir
    
--The Daily Bleed

     With the Iraqi insurgency going full-bore & the US
presence there becoming more hapless than ever, it is
time to remind ourselves of the rightness of the US
mission to "support democracy in the country that
needs it most -- the USA."

     That is from
a site recommended by Z-Blog reader
& former East Sider & poet / musician Rick Ollman
[a friend of the old
Kaleidoscope] who sends this
self-explanatory message & link. 

      Hello Friends and Relatives,
       My new web site -- I'm the web
   developer / webmaster -- launched today and I think
   some of  you will love me and some will hate me for
   it but here it is.  I still love y'all. Sorry for not
   personalizing this message:
                        
http://www.iefd.org/
      The content is mostly written by, or in the case
   of the Articles, chosen by, my cousin Bertell Ollman
  
[the creator of Class Struggle, the world's first Marxist
   board game].
      Let me thank you in advance if you forward it to
   your own friends and relatives. You don't have to
   send it back to me (since I'm one of your friends or
   relatives, I'm presuming) but I'll be happy to hear
   what you think of it.  I'll also be happy to "personalize"
   my response!
       
Rick

    
Readers of this Blog may know that Rick has an entry on
 my
Comments page & that his cousin Bertell -- a well-known
Marxist scholar -- has his own site linked to by my Favorite
Links
here.  While serious, it certainly has its lighter aspects as
compared to the International Endowment for Democracy (IED)
site, which is nothing if not in deadly earnest, exhaustive &
loaded with big name advisors of the progressive / radical camp,
including "HOWARD ZINN (America's leading radical historian),
MUMIA ABU-JAMAL (America's most famous political
prisoner) . . . GORE VIDAL [&] Ramsey Clark. . . ." 
     Still, even if one more advocacy site is not what you've been
yearning for, it's worth checking out for its novel approach in
using foreign monies (& our own) for the "many groups in the
United States that are trying to defend what remains of our
rapidly shrinking democracy and/or build a better, more
egalitarian one,"
& to monitor domestic elections as well (sort
of like the US in Haiti & Venezuela, only without the
subversive motives). 
               
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Sun. March 12, 2006   Frameless
  
1956 -- US: Dark Ages?  Nearly a hundred Congressional
     Representatives & Senators sign the "Southern Manifesto,"
   
vowing to fight the Supreme Court school desegregation
     decision.

       --The Daily Bleed

Sunday Sermon XI:  Wearin' o' the Purple
    
The coming weekend brings a rare opportunity to
combine these intermittent sermons with the regular,
more secular commentary,  & write about strong drink,
good food & camaraderie honoring, as in every March,
a popular, ethnic saint.  I'm referring, of course, to
St. Urho.
     The Finnish icon, whose day is celebrated every
March 16 -- Friday, this year -- has a St. Urho Statuestrong &
growing following,
in Michigan's UP &
especially in Minnesota,
where the wearing of
the purple is said to
have begun.  Of course,
there are those who
don't doubt the legend
originated in Finland,
where the saint drove the grasshoppers out of the
vineyards & saved the grapes & the wine industry.
     Grapes in Finland? you may ask. 
     Such quibbles don't deter the celebrants, as a
growing number of Web sites attests:
  
St. Urho History
  The Legend
  St. Patrick Compared
     Of course, St. Patrick wasn't Irish, nor a monk, &
the glaciers kept the snakes out of Ireland.  Click for
more of the straightforward atheist take on St. Patrick.

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