Excuse the poor photo. Cool to see Pierre, SD native and Austin TX musician and record producer Chris Gage playing mandolin and organ on Austin City Limits Hall of Fame Show, here with Nico Case and also with Elvis Costello!
Whether it’s the next appointee for Ambassador to the Netherlands, White House spokesman, Secretary of Defense or even Chief of Staff, here’s the next “must have” for the Trump White House…Nathan Thurm.
I need your help. I’ve talked to 20 people in the last two hours, and no one has EVER heard of Eggnog-flavored ice cream. One of those people was the Dairy Manager at Hy Vee, and from the look on his face he though the very idea was on par with Dead Mouse and Thistle-flavored gelato. I feel like a mad stranger in an even crazier land.
I KNOW it existed, and I just remembered where. Bridgeman’s Ice Cream and Restaurant was a fixture at the Apache Mall in Rochester, MN in the 1970’s. I remember clearly that when the Plainview High School Choir travelled to sing Christmas tunes at the Mall I had a double-scoop sugar cone. Or two. I haven’t seen a Bridgeman’s Restaurant in 30 years, but Bulk Bridgman’s flavors are still made. However, I went to their website and….NO EGGNOG FLAVORED ICE CREAM. Am I trippin’? Have I uncovered the first clue in an alien plot to take over the planet? Help a brother out if you remember the flavor…know who still makes the flavor…or if a flavor fave of yours (holiday or not) also fell victim to the genetically superior occupants of Ceti Alpha 5.
You can’t make it up: In December 2014 I built this table. It was one of my first pieces made of reclaimed materials (in this case an old hog oiler and a lower shelf off of an otherwise destroyed Queen Anne table). I always liked it, and struggled whether to keep it or sell it. I sold the table to an antique dealer at a garage sale April ’15 for $65 dollars. Flash ahead three years: Last Saturday I had a couple of extra minutes after work, so I stopped by an antique mall on my way home. I walked in, and there to my immediate left was…the table! It was marked down from $175.00 to….$19.99. Apparently the general public didn’t think much of the table, but I still like it a lot and bought it back! I’m chalking it up to good Karma.
Thanks to friend Lucy Quinlivan for sharing this. A lot of hard-working folks took Mr. Trump (“Trust Me…”) at his word that he’d take care of the little guy, “drain the swamp”, “Make American Great Again”, etc. A lot of hard-working folks also voted and elected Republican House and Senate members to represent them in Washington.
Forgetting for the moment Russia, sexual assault, ethics, threatened nuke launches, etc.: If you voted for or currently support Mr. Trump, and/or the Republicans in Congress, and consider yourself “low-middle” or “middle class”…please read this carefully, put whatever “automatic retort generator” you have on hold, and tell me WHAT YOU THINK.
If it gives us nothing else positive, the Republican tax plan—and, in its Senate form, the health-care repeal—at least provides clarity. There is no debate. The middle class will, in the long run, pay more in taxes than under current law, and the rich will pay less. For a brief moment last week, there did seem to be space for discussion, in the form of a disagreement between the centrist and highly regarded Tax Policy Center and the Tax Foundation, a pro-business group that is generally seen as more biased. Even if poorly matched, having two groups with similar, boring names set the stage for the appearance of a two-handed tax debate. One side says it helps the rich, hurts everyone else, and will lead to a bigger deficit; the other side says the opposite. Our media and political system has long viewed economic policy—and, especially, taxation—as the equivalent of “American Idol.” There is a group of judges, loudly disagreeing, and the home audience can pick whichever side they like, based on whatever criteria they have. In past tax-news cycles (2001, 1993, 1990, 1986 . . . ), there were enough serious, respected economists on both sides to make it seem like there was a real, substantive fight over the impact of taxes on jobs and economic growth. (While each individual economist appears to know everything with certainty, as a group, they are surprisingly unsure of the impact of taxes on a nation’s well-being. However, most surveys of economists suggest that virtually none accept the simplistic notion that raising taxes on the rich will cripple an economy.)
Surely, we will have other debates in the future with thoughtful arguments on every side. But not this time. The numbers are in and it’s clear: this tax bill helps the rich and hurts everybody else. Just ask the very people who wrote it. The U.S. Congress Joint Committee on Taxation is run by the chairs of the House Ways and Means Committee and the Senate Finance Committee—Representative Kevin Brady and Senator Orrin Hatch, respectively. The Joint Committee’s reports of this week make startling reading, or as startling as a series of spreadsheets of tax revenue data can be. The report shows that this bill is much like a teaser rate on a new credit card: there are some goodies in the first couple of years, but those disappear fairly quickly, at least for those below the median income. In 2019, the first full year that this bill would be law, the benefits are concentrated on the bottom of the income stream, with middle-class people, on average, paying just under ten per cent less in taxes than they would if the law weren’t passed. With each passing year the benefits shift upward, toward the rich. By 2021, those making between twenty thousand and thirty thousand dollars a year are paying considerably more in taxes, those between thirty thousand and two hundred thousand see their benefit shrinking, and those making more start to see their taxes falling. By 2027, every income level below seventy-five thousand dollars a year sees a tax increase, while everybody above that level sees a continued decrease, with the greatest cut in taxes accruing to those making more than a million dollars a year.
The report shows that the rich benefit and the poor are hurt in every way that it measures. For example, the effective tax rate—meaning the percentage that people, on average, actually pay after they take all deductions—changes in a precisely regressive form. The poorer you are, the higher your effective rate will rise. By 2027, only those making a hundred thousand a year or more will see an actual cut in their effective tax rate. And, as could be expected by now, the more they make, the greater the cut in their effective rate. By 2025, there is a direct transfer of money from the poor to the rich and corporations. This is not a flaw but the whole point, Harvard’s Martin Feldstein argues. Feldstein is, arguably, the single most widely respected Republican-leaning scholar of tax policy, and one of the few academics who came out in favor of the bill, in a Wall Street Journal op-ed. His defense, though, should not give much comfort to the bill’s proponents. He argues that cutting individual tax rates won’t increase economic growth and will add to the deficit—which, he acknowledges, is a bad thing. But he’s so excited about the corporate tax-rate cut that he thinks the bill should pass nonetheless. This is an odd stance, since the corporate rate cuts are about a third the size of the individual cuts.
That is the state of debate on this current bill. Its most respected defender acknowledges that three-quarters of the benefit are a wasted, harmful gift for the rich, but a quarter of the benefit goes to corporations, and we must assume they will spend it wisely.
I am very grateful today for 9 years, and mindful of the support, patience, understanding and forgiveness of family and friends. What a long strange trip it’s been…
In 35+ years in media I’ve never been what you’d call “star struck”. I’ve met a lot of celebrities and gained access to some remarkable locations, but never asked for an autograph and RARELY took a photograph. That being said, I have ended up in some pretty remarkable circumstances. This week’s passing of Dennis Banks, aged 80, Native American activist, author, educator, actor and central player in the 1973 occupation of Wounded Knee on South Dakota’s Pine Ridge Reservation, brought back perhaps the most unusual.
In February 1985 I had just turned 24 and was the morning radio host at KIOV-FM 104.7 in Sioux Falls, SD. A few months prior, Dennis Banks had ended 11 years in California and New York avoiding prosecution for his involvement in the burning of the Custer County Courthouse in Custer, SD, which preceded the world-famous occupation of Wounded Knee in 1973. Banks surrendered himself to SD authorities, and was sentenced to 18 months in the SD State Prison in Sioux Falls. After all those years on the run the world’s media wanted to talk with Banks. As I remember, he accepted two media offers. One was with French Television. The other was with KIOV News Director Jerry Dahmen, who was also stringing for NBC. After the interview Jerry casually asked Banks how he was spending his time in prison. Banks said he was leading a group of Native American prisoners dedicated to living a life of traditional diet, study, spiritual practice…and basketball. Jerry told Banks the station has a basketball team of its own, and wondered if the Banks-coached Native prison team would be interested in a game. Arrangements were made, and a game was set for February.
There was only one problem: KIOV DIDN’T HAVE A BASKETBALL TEAM. However, the offer had been accepted, so we had to come up with something, and FAST. We scraped together five volunteers who I think included GM Don Jacobs, Farm Director Tom Lyon, announcers John Jacobs and Dan Iseminger, and me. I also made an impassioned call to my long-time friend Lee Erickson in the Twin Cities with an offer he couldn’t, and didn’t, refuse.
So the Saturday in February arrived, and our rag-tag 6 met at the Pen. We changed into short pants and sneakers in an unused room at the prison, were lead through a couple of cell blocks, past the cafeteria, down a long tunnel, emerging in a cavernous, double-wide underground gym. There was one way in, and one way out. To our left was a boxing ring where two inmates were punching the bejesus out of each other. On the opposite side was the court, where 15 or so highly conditioned and disciplined Native young men were warming up. The crowd was very sparse. Program Director Reid Holsen, News Anchor Lori Scheel Martell and my brother Mike made up our cheering section/gang. A few dozen Native inmates were seated behind Banks and their bench. During the shoot-around I took a minute to stop, shake hands and introduce myself to Banks. As a 6th grader I’d followed Wounded Knee on TV and through the Weekly Reader (true). I don’t know if it was the nervousness of meeting this genuine historical icon, or the impending thrashing we were about to take on the court, but I have no memory of what I asked him or how he answered.
Thoughts quickly returned to the contest when from one end of the court emerged about a dozen Native prisoners and a drum. The BIG drum. The 12 spread out around the instrument and began playing and singing. The deafening emotional echo of the two gyms only magnified the power of the song, and our sense of dread, now in full flower.
We stayed with Banks’ team for about one quarter. Then every five minutes or so a fresh five would come off the Banks bench and RUN, RUN, SHOOT and then RUN some more. They were gentlemen throughout the game, and showed us skill and exceptional sportsmanship by only doubling us up 120-60. We considered it a moral victory that none of our “Iron 6” barfed or suffered cardiac arrest until after the final buzzer.
A camera crew from KDLT-TV shot the event. Somewhere, all that remains from that day is a short TV story including me in short gym shorts and a fuzzy white-guy semi-afro talking with possibly the world’s most influential Native American activist inside an underground prison gym in South Dakota. However, from that point forward, whenever my friend Erickson and I got up a pick-up game with some dangerous dudes on an inner-city playground, we were quick to let them ALL know the skinny white dudes they were about to tangle with had played PRISON BALL WITH DENNIS BANKS FROM THE INTERNATIONALLY FAMOUS ARMED OCCUPATION OF WOUNDED KNEE. You can’t make it up.
Above: Joan in Boots, 30 years after her questionable decision to say, “I Do”. To me.
It rained a lot in Omaha last week. A LOT. Enough rain to turn an entire slope into a mud slide at the Omaha Zoo. It was bad enough that the zebra herd was replace with heavy earth moving machinery. Elephants however, stuck it out. The rain also turned parts of a lovely farm west of Omaha into a soup of mud garnished with the straw, plywood sheets and impromptu gravel which slowed, but did not stop, the faithful who came to celebrate One Man’s Junk.
Junkstock is billed as Three Days of Peace, Love and Junk, and like its 1970 inspiration Woodstock, it would take more than rain and mud to stop the throngs gathered to buy and sell the remnants of agraria from generations past, and the repurposed creations from artists and artisans from throughout the Midwest. Junkstock also featured a good chunk of live hillbilly music and creative eats, although the use of psychedelics appeared to be kept to a minimum. After some gentle prodding, my gal (above) thought ahead and brought her boots. While there were plenty of attendees sporting Wellingtons and other waterproof footwear, there were others whose dainty footwear will probably face a mercy killing.
We looked and talked a lot more than we bought, but that was the plan going in. While there were lots of interesting creations, the best may have been the apple-filled Chinese-style egg rolls, which the server augmented with hot caramel. My only complaint with them is that they disappeared too fast. Peace Out.
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Ever had one of those nights out when you make all the right choices and exceed every expectation by a mile? Me neither. Until possibly tonight. Joan and I are in Omaha celebrating our 30th wedding anniversary. We’re staying near the Old Market Neighborhood downtown, We took a total flier on a seafood restaurant called Plank Seafood and Provisions. Normally I don’t buy seafood when I’m about as far from the ocean as you can be in North America, but tonight we took the chance. Ordered the Blackened Catchfish Creole with Crawdads over Dirty Rice.
It was one of the Top 10 meals of my life. Maybe even top 5. Service was great, and it did not break the bank. But things didn’t stop there. Walking just one block away, we found this:
Yes, quite possibly the only late-night Antique Store, Record Shop, Candy Store and Movie Theater in, well, anywhere. While Joan scoped out the candy, I thumbed throw a smallish, but high quality, collection of LP’s,..and found THIS:
The Phones were a Twin Cities band I saw exactly once in the very early 1980’s. They were the first band I’d heard played New Wave-ish covers of bands like Squeeze, Joe Jackson, Elis Costello, etc. We had a GREAT time that night, good enough to still remember it some 35+ years later. I had no idea they ever released a studio outtake EP of originals, and if I had the last place I’d expected to find it was in an all-night candy and antique store in Omaha, NE. Joan, as usual, exhibited a great deal of patience with me through all of this. When patience grew thin, I was rescued by an ice cream shop near by.
If there is a heaven, I hope it can live up to this evening.
I am in absolute shock. Just learned the news that legendary musician Tom Petty was taken off life support about an hour ago and declared dead from cardiac arrest. Petty was 66 years old.
The first rock concert I ever attended was the Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers “Damn the Torpedos” tour in the summer of 1979 at the Met Center in Bloomington. I later saw Petty and the Heartbreakers both open for and back Bob Dylan, while also joining the Grateful Dead at their gargantuan “Dylan and The Dead” show at the Metrodome on June 26, 1986. The sound/acoustics at both venues was fair (Met) to extremely poor (Dome), but it really didn’t matter. I was with good, good friends at both shows, and joy was experienced by all.
Damn Tom. Sure wish you couldn’t have stayed longer. Right now we need more like you, not fewer. Vegas already made this a tough day. Paint It Black.