Monday, May 29, 2017

"We didn't hire you--" me: "Yes you did" them: "No we didn't."

 Interesting state of affairs. We were hired to make balloon hats last min. in a line going into a dance club. We were told it was a prank. 
The cops required that there be no hats permitted but added a clause excluding balloon hats. So someone hired both of us to make balloon hats. That is an expensive prank. 
We put our stuff on and went across town as fast as we could. 
The security didn't know what to make of us.
 I was never told that the event company didn't hire us so I pled my case over and over (thinking they were being thick). 
Turns out someone else hired us and the company had no idea who we were or why we were there. I guess the joke was on us too. They (security) kept asking us to wait (for them to find out why we were there) but we couldn't NOT make balloons so we made a bunch of them. It was taking security a long time to deal with us so we just kept pumping out hats. 
Eventually, the boss of security showed up and asked the question they were all asking "Who sent you?" The check cleared so we didn't care who sent us; our job is making balloons. Eventually security (who were very nice to us b.t.w.) told us that the guy that hired us didn't work for the company putting the event on. 
They were saying that the organizers definitely didn't want balloons in the venue. 
They politely asked us to leave. We went the long way, handing out as many balloons as we could to the happy people. Our son got to see yet another odd job his parents routinely get sent on.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

T.B.T. american history version, ten cent beer night

I'm not a sports fan, never was.
I normally see pro sports as kind of an expensive distraction.
 Millionaires playing games isn't interesting to me but I do love sports when it's the shorties playing.
Little kids playing football with the little legs moving under mounds of armor is always a laugh riot.
Great way to spend an afternoon and I can't complain about the dollar nachos that's for sure.

I do like some moments of pro sports though. Like 10 cent beer night.
The 10 cent beer night riot reminds me of my own life in the 1970's.
When I was a kid, 70's world was buck wild.
One night in 1974 the Cleveland Indians played the Texas Rangers.
The stadium decided to try a new promotion "10 cent beer night".
As you may imagine, people got hammered and quickly devolved into primitive, cherry bomb throwing, brawling tribes.
This is my favorite moment of many.
At he bottom of the 9th inning a fan runs out on the field attempting to steal a Ranger's outfielder's hat.
In the resulting scuffle the outfielder fell down. 
Because of the shape of the field, 
the fellows in the Rangers dugout only saw their player go down.
After the rowdy night they had so far, this broke the straw.
That was when manager Billy Martin uttered my favorite sports quote of all time.
He looked at his players, grabbed a bat and said,
"Boys, lets go get em."
and they all poured out of the dugout to retrieve their compatriot.
The battle began, quickly the Cleveland team also ran out with bats. 
Then it was both teams fighting the mob. 
They even formed a rear guard to funnel the wounded out.
The rioting fans had weapons too or made them out of the seat handles.
This was rough.

Smoke filled the air from fireworks as the Cleveland team helped the Rangers back to their bus and treated the injured.
Eventually the SWAT team had to be called in to clear the stadium.
I love this story of glory.

The Dollop podcast does an amazing job telling the tale.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

rollin round doin crap

gassing at the gas station.

I was walking down the street today. I hear a bunch of racket coming from the gas station on the other side of some bushes.
When I got to the end of the shrubs I see what it was.
Two gas station attendants (women in mid 20's) are looking at me and pointing.
One says "It is him!" and slugs her friend in the arm.
That left me wondering if i really saw what just happened.
I went to walk towards them but one ran one way and the other went into the gas station booth and quickly closed the door.
I chuckled and continued walking. I think I might get on my tall bike and roll back through.
Maybe I will stop at a pump and ask for three cents worth of petrol drizzled on my tire.
I'm hoping that the slugging was a slug-bug kind of thing.
I see folks slug each other sometimes when they see us but mostly folks like to wave and yell.
It's a fine town to be a clown.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Political after the kid show

Quite often we do a kid show and then afterwards the kids play while us grownups talk.
 It can turn into a tiny town hall meeting. Today was like that. This discussion moved around between our gig, a coffee shop and a nearby park as we all drank coffee and ate bagels.
One of the parents had just got back from Austin Texas.
We were all fawning over how wonderful the city of Austin smells, the natural beauty of the landscape and the abundance of progressive ideas.
She was jealous of how Austin has a lovely river that people could actually swim in while our river is a sewage and industrial waste dump.
They stopped fawning though when they gave an account of seeing a group of Latino people protesting working conditions.
 She said the people in the cars in front and behind her were yelling epithets and cursing at them. So much for progressive humanity.
That led to folks talking about how many of them have conservative relatives who are awful to anyone who isn't white but pick a few people of color to "Forgive" so they can say they aren't racist. We see that a lot too. It's hard to understand since we live and work with people from all over the world. Our friends come from all walks of life and we can't imagine living in a mono-culture. 
I sometimes forget how much time and money is spent keeping people divided and looking at each other as the cause of their problems.
Also mentioned: family members who buy into Fox news and like to think everyone on welfare is getting a free ride (while ignoring corporate welfare, subsidies and corruption that is a much larger metric. People needed to mention how hard it is to see people they love so deluded. They actually think homelessness is some kind of good life. They give anyone grief for getting government help. That is until someone in their family needs public assistance. People are screwed in the head, part by the lack of good investigative reporters (internet killed the newsman) and people who seek out bad answers rather than allowing facts in. Such a nightmare.
 We don't ever hear opposing views because we all care about the future, we care about water, jobs, the climate, the schools, all those things that the conservative beta humans throw under the bus to follow a racist, authoritarian, plastic, alpha-ding-dong.

Thursday, May 04, 2017

1st rule of plumber's club..

1st rule of plumber's club...make sure you know plumbing before messing with some plumbing. 

2nd rule of plumber's club...don't bite your fingernails. 

The pipe out front of our house is spewing spew. I was gonna look at it but remembered that just because I'm a worker doesn't mean I'm qualified to do plumbing. We can let the pros chase that one out to the street. I will just sit here pretending we have a water feature in the flowerbed.

Monday, May 01, 2017

My account of Mayday 2017

My boy earned a top hat and goggles.
Not just for going to his first, real protest, he was in the saddle all day. We have been training him in bike commuting and today he went over 12 miles.

Not bad for a beginner.

First we had to go to good, old Lippmans Company to fill the tank. Folks online asked us to attend this protest and even raised about $30 for us to buy the kids balloons with. We were going anyway (as our civic duty) but it was great to have a plan and some cash. Also a great evolution that now lots of kids attend protests rather than the feral radicals like my kids were when they were little. Lots of mainstream folks care about the world and it's people. It's not such a radical idea these days. Lippmans filled a helium tank for us so fast it was warm when we got it. We stowed it on my tall bike, "Behemoth" and made sure to pack the brass parts separately.

Then we biked down the chilly esplanade to the park where everyone was meeting.

His first moments after a long ride and now not knowing what to expect. We could smell sage, hear loudspeakers, and the rest of Portland didn't seem to know or care what was up.

As folks filed in, I was able to instruct my boy on what was going down. Before, he was too young for me to share this stuff, "See them, those are lawyers ready to help folks if they are in  trouble. Next to them are the medics. Those folks are the communists, those are the Buddhists and those folks are Hispanic migrant workers. Oh and look there, those cats are anarchists, they get grumpy with those folks,  the riot cops, and the dudes next to them are the medics for the riot cops." It just went on and on with me explaining all the factions. Heh! We should start our own faction and say, "I'm with the Matter-of-faction!"
People spoke, gathered, and broke bread as we pumped out balloons.
We kept getting bulletins from runners and spies about who the alt right people and other agitators were. 
My son showing a heightened state of awareness made my day. He was very concerned as cops approached some folks and confiscated their shields. They had homemade shields. The police took them and said if the shield owners showed I.D. they could reclaim their shields after the event.

I had to tell him the truth. "These things can be rough sometimes. Here is a good rule of thumb: Your Dad is a badass and I have been doing this since your big sis was a toddler. I never let anything happen to her and I won't let anything happen to you. If you don't see me looking concerned then don't worry,  just keep your eyes peeled... If you do see me concerned, do what I say. If I get spooked, I'm headed over to where the Teamsters are. Last I checked, them and the steel workers are the baddest-asses-on-the-beach around here."
He was cool with that notion. Before (late 90's), these things would be mostly anarchists, radicals, war vets and college kids protesting. Now it's a rainbow of colors and persuasions. It's neat to see so many kids and families at the protest.
It's not for radicals anymore, it's for everyone who cares about the world and it's people. It's our patriotic duty.

Pretty soon we ran out of kids to give balloons to. 
Olive took our guy to a cafe.  They walked in looking colorful and amazing. She said everyone and thing in the cafe was shade of dull grey and brown. One person asked, "Hey kid, is it your birthday?" "No." "Is it your birthday?" Olive: "No, I'm a professional clown." My boy: "And I'm a professional kid."
They got back and we realized why there weren't so many kiddos; it had been lunchtime. They did show up right as the march was starting and we suddenly, became really busy pumping out balloons. Olive was really happy that so many folks wanted to connect with us. Lots of folks would see us and say, "OMG I need a hug." (We hugged lots and lots of people). It was great showing my kid the diversity of people that care about social justice issues.
Lots of hats today.
 Hard hats-Hijabs-hoodies-Balaclavas-vet caps full of glistening pins, ski hats, hats made of reeds, beads and palms; my boy earned his very own top hat. Amd he frikkin loves it... All kinds of races and vocations for my impressionable boy to absorb. They all care, and so do we. It was powerful. 

I've also never seen so many Hispanic folks at this in the past. I love the Mexican Indians dancing and the many Latino cultures represented. I regret not getting better pics of these amazing people.

It was wonderful. We formed at the correct time and started marching. 
When uncouth type reporters filmed me rolling by, I made sure to be swearing so the footage was unusable. I don't want to be part of their "alt-facts." The many reporters who were very nice to me (no goofy leading questions) got the straight dope from me with a smile. 

It was a adorable to see how many little girls surrounded Olive during the march. She had a full on tiny posse of youngsters marching and beaming at her. My boy was at my side most of the time. He was a little concerned about the Black Bloc marching nearby. They looked mean and lean, ready and pumped. I had to revel to him that the black block is our, order of clowns, closest political relative. I'm sure he knows a lot of them.
But I told him, if trouble breaks out and he loses me to run towards the Teamsters. Those ranks are full of Dads who don't take any guff. of coarse nothing did happen, it was a peaceful protest.

There are some people that I only see at protests. Folks so underground you would never see them on social media. It was nice seeing them.

We had been marching a long time and decided to duck out to debrief, use the loo and have some fries at a veggie place. Bruc was very happy to have experienced the day. 

Debrief time....


 Then we saw some commotion down the street. We went looking and found some folks had lit a newspaper on fire. Cops rushed in, and busted a bunch of people. They declared it a riot I hear. 
I knew it was gonna get spun somehow. Riot porn: what a joke. Thank you Sammy Black for the phrase. Riot porn is: the media huddled around a burning garbage can taking pics and throwing around the word "riot." Meanwhile if ya wanna see a violent gathering there is a carnival being set up a few blocks away. Every year there are stabbings, gang fights all kinds of mayhem all over. Because it isn't political it seems to be held to a different metric. I miss the days of real investigative journalism.
At least my boy knows what went down, he was there.

I like to play this game with trains. When a little kid notices me, I wave, then they tell a guardian but by then I'm hiding behind something while moving. I imagine the parents not believing the kid, "Sure you saw a clown on a huge bike... I think you need a nap kiddo." Lol.

Great Protest, great moments, I love my people. If I had to bitch I would say the spin the media put on the protest was gross, incorrect, irresponsible, there were not enough black folks and way way way too many cigarettes but other than that it was a swell time in Puddletown. 

 We said our goodbyes, hugged our good hugs and moved along. Today was full of teachable moments but our boy still has his algebra at home that we gotta teach him. 

We got the most awkward sound bite at the end.
 As we were going to the bridge headed home, a couple trucks full of riot squad rolled by us. One of the riot cops yelled to us in a very friendly voice, "My kids love you two!" Wow! Olive and I looked each other with knowing smiles-we silently realized that we're tied into everybody at the protest (not the folks at home watching it go down on the News) and we gotta own 'em all. That was such a riot.... wait no it wasn't. (wink)

And that is the miracle of Christmas...

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