Friday Homestead Dispatch

Insufferable Agelast Maven

Quote for the Week:
“That’s what I believe,” said Ruth. “Peter didn’t. Here was a man who was given everything. Talent, love, a peaceful place to live and create. And all he had to do was appreciate it.” – The Long Way Home, Louise Penny

My wife Connie introduced me to the architect E. Fay Jones this last week mostly due to viewing online his acclaimed buildings; the Thorncrown Chapel, in Eureka Springs, Arkansas and the Mildred B. Cooper Memorial Chapel in Bella Vista, Arkansas. Wowser!

Jones had the honor of an apprenticeship under Frank Lloyd Wright during the 1950s and was also an educator at the University of Arkansas School of Architecture for thirty-five years. For much more information on the life and work of Jones go here and here.

I will have to say that I’ve harbored minor regrets about not studying architecture during my flailing college years but it’s possible I just may be the Art Vandelay of Tucson.

For those of us who have rifled through refuse for years, it’s not news that so much useable stuff gets tossed aside. Our culture encourages the newest and the greatest of everything we consume…just toss away that old, out-of-date/fashion thingamabob and get a brand new shiny one!

The appropriately named Anna “thetrashwalker” Sacks is making news using social media, TikTok and Instagram, to expose just how bad it is in NYC alone. Sacks, a former investment banker, takes her pushcart, some bags, and puncture-proof gloves and hits the streets three-four times a week.

The Guardian reported that In the spring, Sacks left her job at ThinkZero, a zero-waste consultancy firm, and is working on building a coalition focused on passing legislation that would make donating “the obvious choice“ for corporations, schools and other groups looking to offload unsold or unused goods. “If you don’t make it a law they’re not going to do it,” she says. “My overall goal [with the coalition] is for it to be bipartisan and common sense.”

Then there’s Treasures In the Trash, an unofficial museum of 45,000+ artifacts housed in the massive second floor of Manhattan East Sanitation Garage Number 11. Retired sanitation worker Nelson Molina collected refuse between 1981 and 2015, while he was on active duty in Carnegie Hill and East Harlem, in an area bordered by 96th Street, Fifth Avenue, 106th Street, and First Avenue. City sanitation workers are prohibited from taking their finds home thus the collection ended up in an active garage. It’s jaw-dropping what people toss out.

The Washington Post reports that “As a resurgent coronavirus is forcing states to address soaring cases and hospitalizations, Republican Sens. Ted Cruz (Tex.) and Rand Paul (Ky.) denounced health mandates against the virus at a time when the nation recorded its highest single-day number of new cases since January.”

Meanwhile, as Charlie Pierce reports, Texas Governor “Greg Abbott is one of those guys who not only refused to initiate common-sense pandemic precautions, but also signed a law that made it actually illegal for other authorities to mandate them.” And not to be left off the ship of fools, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis objects to COVID vaccine mandates at hospitals and says school leaders' salary may be withheld if they require masks. Sleepy-eyed and fog-brained Missouri Governor Mike Parsons appeared on Fox News declaring his state would never enact a mask mandate so long as he is in charge, along with our very own Arizona Governor Ducey, Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds, Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts.

Is there no bottom for these elected dopes? At least some school districts across the country are defying these orders, requiring masking. But without the blessing of the state, along with the current laws in place, many of these local mandates may not hold up.

We don’t eat ‘fast’ food that often but when we do, we want a fat-filled, grease-soaked Jesusburger. The Washington Post reported last week that many of your favorite chains have conservative and Christian roots. Oh, the horror-derv!

Rich Snyder, who inherited the In-N-Out Burger chain, was a prominent fixture and supporter of the Calvary Chapel megachurch in Costa Mesa and was also known for his support of Republican politicians. It is now run by Lynsi Snyder, a devout Christian who sports tattoos of Bible ­verses.

Similarly, Catholics Carl and Margaret Karcher, friends of the Snyder family and founders of Carl’s Jr., used their wealth to fund an array of faith-based institutions and guide their company. Carl's Jr., Domino's, Waffle House, and Chick-fil-A have all expressed their love of God and Republicans.

Some folks just can’t help themselves but when there are soooo many fabulous local food joints to choose from, why would anyone support these yay-hooz anyhow?

I was a sixteen years young when the Jerry Hahn Brotherhood album was released in 1970. I still have my original copy plus another I found in a cut-out bin some time ago (when there were record stores). Most of the stellar songs were penned by Topekan Lane Tietgen but they snuck in an Ornette Coleman song because they COULD. It was a time of experimentation and these guys were all over the map with jazz, country, blues, rock, and gospel in a strange brew of fresh sounds. They were Jerry Hahn on guitar, banjo, and vocals, George Marsh on drums, Clyde Graves on bass, and the amazing Mike Finnigan on vocals, organ, piano, and harp.

My brother Greg, of course, turned me on to these guys and, like The Band, my eyes were bulging and my ears were on fire. Rawk (Cream, Zep, etc…) never did much for me but this stuff…holy cow. In those days I was doing everything I could to cop licks from George Marsh. Oddly enough, we are now Facebook friends.

Here’s one of my favorite cuts from that album, Time’s Caught Up With You.

Y’all know who Bill Champlin is, right? Sons of Champlin, fifteen years with the band Chicago. That guy. Great singer, keyboard player. Jake Feinberg, a music fan and archivist here in Tucson, had interviewed Champlin in 2013 and he had this to say:

Let me tell you a story about The Jerry Hahn Brotherhood. I'm sitting around Marin County and it's really just a bunch of rock bands. A lot of music going on but nothing like The Sons. We were at the top of the game, just for a minute. Just like anybody else we were enjoying our “big fish in small pond 15 minutes of fame.”

I was pretty full of myself which 20/21 year olds have a tendency to be. "I'm the blue eyed soul guy, playing B-3 and singing RnB." I was still nice to people but I was getting full of myself a little bit. In that neck of the woods people were starting to buy our bullshit.

Somebody said, "hey you got to go hear the Jerry Hahn Brotherhood. I went to see them at the Inn of the Beginning in Cotati. There's George Marsh and Mel (Graves) and Jerry and they're all "jazz balls." Then I look over and there's this Hammond Organ with a tractor seat for a bench. This tall 6'6' guy (Mike Finnigan) with Oshkosh overalls on comes out and they start to play. I said, "oh boy, there's a new sheriff in town.” Then he sang and I said, "oh my god, whatever I thought of myself just went down a whole lot."

I thought, "well that's cool, now I can get off of this bullshit and get around to just doing music. Not try to walk around with my head up my ass.”

Finnigan went on to form Finnigan and Wood, with Wichita guitarist Jerry Wood and a cast of great R&B musicians. They released Crazed Hipsters on Blue Thumb Records in 1972, another one of which I have a couple copies. Wore out the first one. The list is few who could match those golden pipes of his. My God, that man could sing, along with his stellar, lean style on the Hammond B3.

I only met Finnigan a time or two but our mutual friend list is extensive. We were ‘friends’ on Facebook and I was a big fan of his razor sharp political commentary, and it was plainly obvious he did not suffer fools. After he went silent a year or so ago, I knew it had to be something serious to keep him from posting.

When I got my first SLR camera in the mid-70s, one of my very first shoots to test it out was a Finnigan and Wood gig at Off-the-Wall Hall in Lawrence, Kansas.

His last gigs, I believe, were his shows with Bonnie Raitt and the more casual shows, pre-COVID, at Bill and Maggie Lynch’s Write Off Room in Los Angeles with Bill on guitar and vocal, James Gadson on drums, and Abe Laboriel on bass. Witness greatness as Bonnie hands over the reins to Mike…

RIP, Mike.

And now…