Saudi Tour

SUMMER (1993): The nonstop flight from Chicago to Zurich began with flight attendants distributing warm cotton washcloths. These towels had a distinct odor reminding me of the  towelette packets at KFC. Being unfamiliar with international travel, i was perplexed. After all, there had been no eating as yet. So in order not to attract attention, i waited to see what the passengers would do. Soon everyone was wiping face and hands with the fragrant rags, so i did the same. And with that we were underway. However, i felt strangely of out of place because apparently the only people speaking English on the flight were my bandmates and this guy sitting next to me.

The Zurich to Zagreb flight was different. We rode a bus to the causeway with fellow passengers. The mood in the bus was dark and active. Sex, drugs, and rock-and-roll probably not on the minds of the people hailing from war-torn Balkans, i assumed they had less frivolous matters on their minds.

I had previous experience in developing environments, and from that experience, thought i knew what to expect in the Balkans. I expected everything to be drab and run-down. To my surprise, Air Croatia was the best flight, service, and food we experienced that whole day. In fact, once crossing the Atlantic, food in general got much, much better… hmmmm.

As previously mentioned, Air Croatia’s in-flight meal was splendid, but the introduction to European cuisine was only just begun. After arriving in Zagreb, we were invited to a UN party sponsored by the Canadians. The gourmet nibbles consisted of treats such as this: Thick Dutch crackers, lightly covered with some sort of mayo/cream cheese goop, topped with a mini sweet pickle chip, petite stuffed green olives, and lightly salted anchovies (very interesting).

After the party, we trekked to a bistro in Zagreb to dine on pizza and warm Tuborg. The pizza was un-sliced and completely devoid of mozzarella but it was great. Also, in contrast with standard US expectations, the warm beer was an eye opening experience. I wondered if the US beer had to be served cold in order for it not to suck… ūüėČ

Oh, on the way to the bistro, we picked up three attractive Swedish hitchhikers. We were in rare form (as an American rock band we had an image to uphold), and it seemed everyone but our elder statesman, Jerry (the sax player) was vying for the attention of the fair Swedes.

Toto… WTH?
What a place! According to our guide, the economy here is so bad doctors make sixteen times less than the U.S. minimum wage… he said around $150 per month. Hard to swallow because the civil infrastructure (roads, bridges, buildings) didn’t look bad at all.

So far Croatia reminds me of Kansas. Wheat, corn, and oats grow in the fields, and were it not for mountains in the background, the environment and people would look like mirror images of each other.

There were, however, some clear indicators that we weren’t in Kansas anymore. For example, few had access to the household gadgetry taken for granted in the US. I could tell because over the edge of apartment balconies were line upon line of drying laundry. Oh, another long since seen sight… TV antennae on rooftops… nearly *all* of them.

Gotta go. It’s night time here; almost 10:00pm. However, I don’t really feel like going to bed since it’s only 2:30pm in Hays.

Bye!

BEWARE OF LANDMINES!!!
Slept like a rock last night. I did get up a couple of times to whiz, but thankfully never had a problem going back to sleep. The latrine was about a city block from our tent, so i planned to grab a coffee can for the nights with beer on the agenda.

The place was secure… in a way. After all, there were¬†spools of concertina (razor) wire in some places, and there were some sandbag bunkers, mostly at checkpoints. We were given information on how to survive the visit. For example, in the initial briefing, we were told to stay on well-worn paths in order to avoid stepping on LAND MINES! They also warned us to stay away from the Croats. Because, we were told, the Croats had two Russian MIGs in their camp. If we were to venture too close, the guards would shoot first and ask questions later, rock star or not… hmmm.

Rockin in Zagreb:
The Croatian experience was great. Brits were a blast, and the troopers dispatched to keep an eye on us did a killer job. I don’t recall a time when we couldn’t get a beer, food, water, or anything else for that matter. Most everyone showed up for all four performances. I don’t remember all the nationalities represented, but the ones i do remember were: British, French, Dutch, Jordanian, Swedish, Russian and Canadian.

Parties after the gigs were a blast as well. I got thrown in the water blivet on the second night (a right of passage i guess). On a couple of occasions, Mo (the bass player) and i partied till morning with the holdouts… good times.

On the 4th of July, a couple Croatian skydivers landed in the compound square. The event was planned, and there were two other divers… both high ranking US officers… they didn’t even come close… lol. It was a gala celebration of independence… ūüėČ

Sometime during that 4th celebration, i got into smack session with one of the Brits about who was the baddest. He was saying something about how his countrymen were stationed near Bosnia with the express purpose of kicking ass! He said something like the following: “They’re sending Brits because we’re (the Brits) not known for losing.” I mentioned something about one that they did lose, so he said, “Oh yes, but that was for the greater good.” I quickly checked my wallet… yep still there.

Indeed, we had a good time on the 4th. Here’s an interesting note… during our stay in Croatia (one week), we rarely saw a French soldier, even though they were the biggest contingent in the camp. Apparently the French were bad boys at the camp, always starting fights and all. I actually met some friendly Russians at the Independence day party, but not hide nor hair of the French… hmmm.

MASH:
On our last night in Croatia, i was taken on a moonlight tour of the MASH hospital with one of the more adventurous nurses. She was bold, and urged me to explore the full experience. Of course, being a proper ambassador for the church of Rock and Roll, i dutifully complied. As we explored the MASH’s secret places i felt strange, but still sort of familiar in the light of the Croatian moon. It was sort of eerie, and i couldn’t shake the feeling of d√©j√† vu. I was expecting Hawkeye, or BJ Honeycutt to appear, martinis in hand teasing us with witty one liners and cat calls.

The next morning, we flew good ol’ Air Croatia to Frankfurt Germany. In Frankfurt we spent the night… and what a night! You see, we figured that it would be our last chance to party because our next stop was Dhahran, Saudi Arabia (no booze is allowed in the land of Allah).

So… the decision was made. We would get dressed and ask one of the German cab drivers to take us to the BOOZE & WHORES! For a few marcs, the cab driver took us to a quaint looking, off the beaten path square (now we’re talking). It looked like we’d been transported back in time. The streets were old cobblestone and narrow… very narrow. We ended up in a place that looked like the Cavern Club (the one the Beatles made famous)… of course, it wasn’t the Cavern Club, this one was called “The Irish Pub.”

LISTEN:
When it occurred to us that we were in a place called the “Irish Pub” (in Frankfurt); with a California “Valley Guy” performing a solo act; a place where most of the clientele carried pocket German books; a place where bartenders and wait-staff brandished “I hate Americans” scowls that the cab driver had stiffed us. We were in a place with booze, but there were no red lights, pimps, dope dealers or opium dens anywhere. Oh well, we managed to have a good time anyway (i don’t think Jerry was up for the whores thing).

It was fun. The Irish Pub was fairly empty when we showed up, but it filled to capacity when we began singing harmony to the songs the Valley Guy was singing. We sort of stole his show, but he loved it… he raked in the tips.

Goodbye Europe… Hello Saudi Arabia:
Anyway, when it was over, we caught another set of cabs back to the air base, did laundry, and crashed. With dreams of dancing camels in our heads we drifted off for a couple hours rest before hopping a military flight to Dhahran.

Before the end of our first week in the Arab World we were provided an opportunity to experience Riyadh’s downtown bazaars, and in effect, thrust into the most strange and compelling world i had ever experienced… but we’re jumping ahead… let’s start from the start of the start shall we?

No one escapes the Government of Allah:
Our trip through Dhahran customs was the first blow. Upon arrival we were briefed by people on the military air base. The form we were compelled to complete had an important detail highlighted in blood red print.

WARNING!
Death to drug traffickers!

Scary huh? What about my No-Doze? What about my funky vitamins? That was only the beginning however. When we got to the civilian airport, there was a line. No, there were four lines all the way to the rear of this gigantic room (the size of an airplane hanger). Almost everyone in those four lines were ether Pakistani or Indian… half of them were squatting. Some were well dressed, but the rest looked just like those people you see on those “save the world” commercials… emaciated and filthy.

The US nationals in our line started telling stories about people who are body cavity searched for looking suspicious and wrong. And, oh yes, we looked suspicious and wrong! A particular story that caught my ear was about a Brit who had been taken to jail and given a haircut… wtf? With my 16″ ponytail in full view i began to feel a tightening in every muscle. You see, nearly everyone in the airport was looking at us with expressions that can only be interpreted as disgust… i felt confident we’d be run through the mill.

It didn’t help that i was carrying an M-16 bullet (just the bullet… not the cartridge) in my hip bag (something I’d picked up in Croatia). Contemplating the bullet and knowing that my every move was being watched made me shiver with “the fear.” Luckily i stayed calm and nothing bad happened. We were run through customs without so much as a bag being opened… great day in the flippin’ morning!!!

The next day we hopped another military flight to Riyadh. The local flyboys gave us a ride downtown, and that’s how we learned about the “Allah Lane,” “Double Headers,” cheap gold and the strange and exotic world of the Riyadh Bazaars.

Taking a Bite Outta Crime:
You see, i thought the practice of chopping a person’s head off as a crime deterrence policy was ancient history. However, it is not. Every Friday, in the Riyadh town square, people actually get their heads, hands (the right one see… they wipe their bums with the left), or their fingers lopped right off. These festivities are open to the public, and whenever US nationals are present, they are pushed up to the front of the gawking crowd. You see, Arabs want Westerners to witness Allah’s brand of swift and terrible law enforcement first hand (pun intended).

After shopping for gifts at the bazaars we began the journey back to the base. On the way, we saw many people engaging in what our guide described as normal behavior (with the blessings of the Government of Allah, of course).

First, in the car next to us, it looked as if the woman in the passenger seat had committed an unforgivable breach of social grace… she had the nerve to actually gaze at a busload of US GIs and rock musicians (that would be us). Of course, the guy in the driver’s seat promptly slapped the shit out of her… twice.

Later, after dark, we observed several families sharing quality time together by the side of the road… in the dirt… women sitting in a circle on one side of the car, and men, standing in a circle on the other side of the car. This, we are told, is considered quality recreation time… In one of the richest countries in the world… THEY SAT CROSS-LEGGED… IN THE DIRT!!!!

Hot Hot… Hotter Than Hell:
As I penned this entry the band was unwinding following a performance in Riyadh. Somewhere between 9:00-10:00pm… the outside temperature was around 89f. Very cool compared to the daytime temp of 115f… We are told that 115f is not bad for this area. You see, the hot season hadn’t started yet.

We set up our gear just as the sun was going down… still hotter than a ByGawd. How hot was it? It was so fucking dry-hot my “fast fret” string lube, which usually lasts weeks, was drying out within minutes… MINUTES!

Rockin’ in Riyadh:
The gigs were lackluster to be kind, but it really wasn’t that bad… the crowd was every bit as immobile as we were. You see, these people average 60 hour work weeks in this blinding heat… needless to say, when they have time off, they don’t move much.

Let’s Hear it For The Troops!
I had come to the conclusion that these people are truly resilient! I also wished i could do something for them other than slogging through half a gig drinking water like it’s going out of style.

Anyway… it felt like Hell and there were two weeks left on the tour’s itinerary, but i was proud to be playing for the gulf troops.

–Good Night–

Camel Meat!!!!
July 13th, 1993 (2:00am): We played our final gig in Dhahran… and now we had a day off. Our visas allowed only one trip to Bahrain (the one Arab city in our agenda that allowed booze), so we’d spend the next day exploring Downtown Dhahran, saving Bahrain for later. Suzy (our guide) thought we could find a place that served camel meat, so we’d shop at the Dhahran bazaars then settle down for some native cooking (yum).

At the time i was acclimating to military life in Saudi, but some things still seemed strange. Like the fine line that separates a person who is free, from one who is in jail or worse… chop chop!

Strange.

Our guides were treating us well. They seemed genuinely interested in our mental and physical well being. Case in point, it was Suzy that found a doctor when my bladder infection kicked up (damn water blivet). In addition, she was on the lookout for things to keep us occupied when not working. We owed her a lot. On top of it all… the next day?

–Camel Meat!–

Bored in Dhahran:
And we did it… we finally got a hold of some camel meat. It was awful, but at least we tried it. My infection was pretty much gone by then, but i still needed to finish the meds. At this point in the journal, i thought i had something important to say but forgot what it was…. lol… losing it… ūüėČ

Ready to go home…
July 13th, 1993

Sadam’s Speed Bump:
Moving on to Kuwait… we were given a tour of the city. Kuwait City looks like many waterfront US cities (burnt out buildings, bomb craters and all). If only our guide would stop looking under the bus for bombs, we could relax and feel at home.

You see, according to our military guide, the base for which we had provided entertainment (“Camp Doha”) would be no more than a speed bump should Sadam decide to make another push toward Kuwait. I asked our guide what we should do in the event something as unlikely were to occur. He said they would hand us M-16s and invite us to join the festivities.

He was a glib fellow… i wasn’t amused.

Anyway, he gave us a tour of Kuwait City, and we ate lunch at a Sbbaro (the kind found in most U.S. malls). The food was killer, and i passed up a great photo opportunity. This sheikh looking dude was sitting across from us. Of course i chickened out: I didn’t even ask to take his picture. It turns out he was a minister in Kuwait’s parliament. Rex (the sound man) stood by him at check-out. Rex said “hi,” and the sheikh dude said to Rex: “Looks pretty busy today aye?”

Damn! I missed out.

We’re told many Kuwaitis are educated in the US, and so understand westerners and their ways. When their education is finished they come back to Kuwait and, according to Muslim law, can have as many as four wives (if they can afford it). The oldest of the wives always sits up front when the family goes for a ride. There is a definite pecking order.

There are other differences from the heavy mood of Saudi; Kuwaitis don’t lopp each others heads off. Nevertheless, the Government of Allah still prevails.

Also… we were told Kuwaiti drivers are wild. They careen through the night without turning on headlights! We are told the Kuwaitis believe keeping the lights on would run down the batteries (i think we are being fed a pile of camel shit). However, there are hideous accidents on the Kuwaiti highways.

July 18th, 1993 (6:00 AM)

Mohammed and the Hand Jive:
On our first night in Bahrain, a guy named Bob took us to a “country music” bar filled with Americans and Brits. There were Filipino waiters and one or two Arabs.

YES………!

They played country, and the band did a pretty good job. The songs were pure, down-home Americana, but the stage banter was PROPER BRITISH. (What is wrong with this picture?) The place was small, with an even smaller dance floor, but there were times when it (the dance floor) was filled with Brits and a smattering of Americans doing the LINE DANCE….. arrggghhh!! Needless to say, neither Mo nor i were happy campers, in fact we were plotting revenge as i penned this entry. Jerry looked like he didn’t care, Mark (keyboards) was engaged in a stimulating conversation with a blonde British flight attendant, and Rex was doing the two step with an assortment of Aussie girls. Later, when we realized there was no escape, Mo and i loosened up and began watching the festivities. It’s funny the things you notice when you aren’t preoccupied with escaping. The moment that came next is one that will live in my memory forever.

LISTEN:
The band was playing a Bo-Diddley sounding number and there were cowboys on the dance floor doing the “Hand Jive” with zeal. In the background, across the railing and somewhere near three nice looking US girls sitting at the bar, was an Arab gentleman. He was dressed in his whites, headgear and all. Yes, he was doing the “Hand Jive” too. It was incredible. Mark said the Arab gentleman looked like an antichrist dancing a jig. Jerry said he’d never seen a proper towel-head do an “American” dance step, and i was happy to see a gap between the Arab World and ours melt before my eyes. I wanted to hug the sheik and dance with him. The whole thing was one of those moments… epiphanous, i guess.

July 19th, 1993 (4:30 PM)

Ah… Bahrain and Beer:
We had done our first gig in Bahrain. Maybe twenty people showed up (a dismal turnout). We rocked their world anyway!

At this point in the tour, i was bored to tears. The Arab world was starting to grow on me, but i was more than ready to go home. Unfortunately, we still had a couple days before we could start heading that way. How bored were we? We were watching Arab soaps on the TV in the hotel room (no English subtitles). Yes… we did… that’s how bored we were.

July 20, 1993

Oh Give Me a Home…
The flight home turned out very interesting. We seemed to be stopping everywhere around the Mediterranean. First stop… Nos Sigonella in Sicily, then Naples Italy, then Spain. That’s where we were when i penned this entry. Our last stop before Philly would be some Atlantic Islands known as the Azores. It would be approximately 18 more hours before the home team would leave Hays to pick us up at KCI.

Yea… a long way to go.

When we hit altitude above Bahrain, i felt a tremendous pressure lift as i was no longer in danger of losing a finger… a hand or… [gulp] my head… i had finally escaped the Government of Allah. I wanted to scream but i didn’t have the energy. I slept instead. Besides… (i learned this on Arab TV) “Allah knows your inner thoughts. In addition, he knows your outer deeds and utterances. There is no escaping the Government of Allah, Peace be with him.”

After this public service announcement came the news, which was dominated by authoritarian Royal Family posturing. Believe it our not, i was trying to appreciate the Arab World. And though exposure to different cultures is highly recommended, a great contributing factor to global understanding, i arrived back in the US with a heightened appreciation of home… YES… Kansas!

Finally… homeward bound… on the second to last flight of our tour (Philly to Detroit), we had to spend the night in the airport. All the while silently singing “Home on the Range.”

As i penned this final entry, i was looking down at the rolling hills of Pennsylvania. It was beautiful!

Cheers,

Blameless


 
What are these tears and blood…¬†is it dust in your eye… or april’s flashing nighttime sky? Why do your eyes disobey you…¬†what’s the matter with your heart… ¬†you can’t tame the untamable, don’t you know?

And would you criticize your man then offer solace?¬† You know my soul from the sands of time and all its promise. And would you write this moment down for the sake of children… and answer the call of the hurricane… down to you… down to you………..¬† BLAMELESS.

Do you hear the distant call…¬†soaking toil in splendor… belonging to the night of endless dream? And do you carry weight of worlds summoning strength of billions… sending monsters to their doom?

And would you criticize your man then offer solace?¬† You know my soul from the sands of time and all its promise. And would you write this moment down for the sake of children… and answer the call of the hurricane… down to you… down to you………..¬† BLAMELESS!

How can you bring me down… my secret now revealed? From you there is no cure… my fate has been sealed. And how can I make it through the night when thoughts of you infect me… and turn my comfort into pain… and rob me of my sleep?

You know you can’t hide your lies… I saw you fall to your knees at the ruins. And do you do all these things then return to every day? Flags waving full in breezes… breezes… breezes…….

And would you criticize your man then offer solace? ¬†You know my soul from the sands of time and all its promise. And would you write this moment down for the sake of children? And answer the call of the hurricane…

down to you…
……..down to you………..
blameless………………..blameless

Confessions of a middle-aged “Bernista”

Yes, I confess… I am a middle-aged, white, male Bernista.
Alas, Bernie did not get the nomination, so I have to make a choice, and I’ve also chosen to declare it out loud and in public.¬†I¬†am, without reservation, endorsing Hillary Clinton for President of the United States. Why?
FIRST…
I¬†want to make it clear that my endorsement is not merely due to Donald’s Trump wreck of a campaign. It does resemble a grisly¬†accident, the kind desperate news directors salivate over; sensational, provocative, lurid, even bloody at times. The Donald has, so far, received far more free publicity than anyone should ever be allowed, but so much for that. The truth is, I’d support Clinton’s bid even if it were¬†the lesser of two evils. For one, I believe The Donald is spectacularly unfit to serve as president of the United States, if for no other reason than his paper-thin ability to handle criticism.
Seriously… I want him nowhere near the red button.
LESSER OF TWO EVILS???
The Donald’s campaign may be a train wreck, and I may have preferred a Bernie Sanders ticket, but truth told, Ms. Clinton, is no slouch. In my opinion, she’s as or more qualified than any president serving in my lifetime (born in 1959).
YES… I WILL ELABORATE…..
But first I want to assure you, dear reader, I’m trying really hard to stay on the high road here. I could use some help, so please wish me luck. To start, I’d like to call everyone’s attention to the broken and bitter elephant in the room (pun intended). To wit, many Americans deeply distrust and vehemently dislike Ms. Clinton…. why? I suspect this animosity is a reflection of the ugly partisanship growing steadily since the “Fairness Doctrine’s” demise. The removal of the doctrine’s rules on public service broadcasting unloosed a tsunami of unfair, unbalanced right-wing bile, embraced fully by folks all ‘et up with fear and loathing for the declining supremacy of white middle-class males. The divide was further exacerbated by an unfair/unbalanced media fixation on a trumped-up “War Against Christian Culture.” This combined with relentless dishonest attacks against Ms. Clinton beginning in earnest with her first attempt to facilitate health care reform in 1993. Top all of that off with Ms. Clinton’s real¬†flaws, missteps,¬†and weaknesses, and you have an ideal witches brew fit for a perfect witch hunt.
BUT IS SHE A PERFECT PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE? NO FREAKIN’ WAY…
Clinton cannot blame a “Vast Right Wing Conspiracy” for all of her troubles. Ms. Clinton has earned a measure of suspicion and/or ambivalence. Cases in point, 1.) the closed meetings of first health care task force. 2.) The “Whitewater” debacle. 3.) The personal emails destroyed after leaving the State Department. 4.) Her reluctance to disclose a recent bout with pneumonia. 5.) The exorbitant cash earned on the speech circuit. And 6.) Her severe lack of personal charisma.
SO… WHAT DOES SHE HAVE?
TRUE GRIT… like Mattie Ross! I agree with the Washington Post’s assessment of Clinton’s career. I see it as a series of hard knock learning experiences preparing her for the environment. Example, when the walls came down on her health care reform task force, she did not give up. Instead, she reentered the fray helping to hammer together a more modest but essential reform expanding health-care access to economically disadvantaged¬†children.
GRIT EXHIBIT B…
Ms. Clinton’s¬†election to the Senate in 2000 also comes to mind. Those who remember the 1990s might think her justified in holding a grudge or two, especially toward Republicans who supported the relentless, lurid, and futile investigations against her husband in the impeachment and Senate trials. But it wasn’t to be. According to the Washington Post, colleagues in both parties found her to be, businesslike, knowledgeable, intent on results, working across the partisan divides, with little regard for personal credit.
WARTS AND ALL…
And though Ms. Clinton’s use of a private email server as secretary was misguided, in my opinion, it does not rise to the level of high crimes. Hell, who doesn’t want to simplify their email situation?? I have EVERYTHING forwarded to my private account, mainly because I don’t want two or more over-cluttered inboxes. I can barely manage one. But alas, I’m not dealing with highly sensitive classified information, and Ms. Clinton’s slow, grudging explanations worsened the damage.¬†I¬†also recognize Ms. Clinton should not have allowed an aide to go on the Clinton Foundation payroll while still at Department of State. This was a failure to maintain a clear separation between the foundation and the government; an integrity lapse she will not likely repeat.
STILL TRYING TO STAY ON THE HIGH ROAD HERE…
However, with all of her flaws and mistakes, The Donald makes Clinton look squeaky clean. She has released years of tax returns. The Donald will not. She has voluntarily identified her campaign bundlers. And The Donald? The Clinton Foundation actually is a charitable foundation … The Donald … well… he did get a lovely portrait of himself.
…TRUTH…
Ms. Clinton, as opaque as she sometimes appears, is Saran Wrap transparent compared to The Donald.
So … it is what it is: This white, male Bernista is committed to supporting Hillary Clinton for President of the United States … there … I said it out loud. Now, what do I expect from a Clinton presidency?
  1. Relentless commitment (even The Donald recognizes this),
  2. Seriousness of purpose,
  3. Flinty resolve, even in the face of powerful resistance, and,
  4. Good old-fashioned “public service” ethic, focused on achievements in the public interest.

What else do I expect from Hillary Clinton?
As much as I expect from anyone else … the best she can do.

LOSING OUR MINDS AT THE END GAME…
Folks, this is a potentially historic moment, and I¬†find it deeply troubling that any woman would support a move to repeal the 19th amendment in effect denying women the right to vote. WTF? There is no excuse for this straight-up crazy talk. Even IF highly motivated to head off the prospect of Clinton’s supreme court picks.

C’mon folks… we’re not turning clocks back…. hello!?!?
I¬†see the recent¬†#RepealThe19th¬†as proof some of us have finally lost our minds. Please, close your eyes and try to imagine someone pushing a movement to repeal the 13th amendment… seriously… ?!?!?

Let’s keep moving forward…
Let’s elect Hillary Clinton…
Let’s make history!!

Cheers…¬†Loopcircus

Welcome back grade inflation

“There’s something happening here, and what it is ain’t exactly clear.” ~ Buffalo Springfield

At the close of the 2016 school year, news dispatches remind us that college can be a high octane pressure cooker. From complaints of racial discrimination against Asian Americans trying to get in:

http://www.npr.org/sections/ed/2015/05/20/408240998/is-harvard-showing-bias-against-asian-americans

asian-american-discrimination-college

To the sometimes acrimonious ritual of final grade reports spiraling out of control…

¬†…a real bad day in LA…

la_lockdownhttp://www.nytimes.com/2016/06/02/us/ucla-shooting.html?_r=0

The shooting started around 10 am, Wednesday, June 1st, 2016. Inside a small office in the engineering IV building of the UCLA campus, where hundreds of people were winding their semester down taking care of semester end tasks.

Once the bang of the gun and the jingling of shell casings were heard, people scattered and the campus was placed on lockdown. Text message and email alerts kept students with their heads down and hands up as local, and federal law enforcement agencies responded apropos to an “active shooter” event. Except it wasn’t an active shooter this time. It was a lone troubled student and a young engineering professor settling final issues, never to do so again.

Meanwhile in another “Shining City on the Hill.”

dtlumacki_plymurder

The body of another desperately troubled youth was pulled from a Massachusetts River near Gill.  Authorities believe 23yr old Tyler Hagmaier jumped from the French King Bridge into the Connecticut River about a mile upstream from Gill on may 6, 2016.  Hagmaier had earlier stabbed his next-door neighbor, a college professor, to death for motives not even understood by the killer as indicated in the confession note he left behind.

https://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2016/05/31/body-found-connecticcut-river-may-murder-suspect-tyler-hagmaier-police-say/3zXSTS0GPpVQu6h9NdTcsO/story.html

Here in the¬†Loopcircus…

College students and staff, as they do every year at this time, exhale and begin planning for the upcoming summer and fall sessions. However, this time they turn attention to an edict handed down by the governor and Board of Regents. To wit, college campuses, currently exempt from conceal and carry regulations making it unlawful to take weapons to school¬†unless you’re a licensed law enforcement professional in good standing with your respective agency, will now prepare for a day when the exemption is removed (July 1, 2017).

The current exempt status is sensible and sane as college campuses are mostly populated by young impressionables just beginning to come to terms with raging hormones and the pressures of adulthood. It makes sense they should be prohibited from carrying firearms on campus, right? Not so fast podna. We got ourselves some wild west nostalgia addicts in Topeka, and they don’t care how it makes them look when guns are prohibited only in places that can afford expensive metal detectors at every entrance. Students and staff now must contemplate a future where EVERYONE brings their weapon. That’s right, Kansas has finally lost its mind, and the clock will be ticking through the fall and spring semesters 2016-17. Come July 2017, the exemption will be lifted, and those choosing not to leave Kansas for saner pastures have been asked to just “go along” with the law as handed down by the statehouse and subsequently blessed by the Board of Regents.

http://www.kansas.com/news/politics-government/article19296501.html

concealcarry

HOWEVER, it’s not over till it’s over…

Three-fourths of Kansans responding to a poll oppose legislation… and they most likely won’t go quietly into governor brownback’s 21st century OK corral. Look for some significant noise coming from the campuses. It’s gonna be a long year.

The study results are part of the annual “Kansas speaks” survey conducted by the Docking Institute of Public Affairs at Fort Hays State University.

WHAT’S THE NEWS:

Another loop in the human circus,
Stay tuned, this year is gonna get uber interesting.

Round and Round in Loops

The Donald is ordered to release documents in Trump University lawsuit…¬†

…and he’s not happy about it. The U.S. presidential candidate called presiding federal judge (Gonzalo Curiel) “a hater” and spent 10 minutes airing grievances about the 2010 case at a recent 58-minute appearance in San Diego. Trump accused the judge of bias and called for him to be removed from the case.

The court¬†order did not go over well with the booing trump-friendly San Diego crowd as rulings against trump¬†were cited. ¬†Adding fuel to the fire is the fact that Curiel was appointed to the bench by Trump’s “birther” conspiracy target, President Barack Obama. The announcement of the order came on the same day as the trump speech, but some of the material had already been presented¬†to the public.

“…some of the documents have already surfaced online. Online political website politico in March posted a 2010 Trump University playbook, which instructed employees to rank students by liquid assets to help determine what kind of course packages they could afford to buy.”

trump_u_lawsuit

WHAT’S THE NEWS?
A federal judge in San Diego has ordered the unsealing of hundreds of pages of internal documents produced by Donald Trump’s Trump University in connection with a fraud lawsuit against the company, the latest twist in the long-running lawsuit against the school.

For more, see source: Judge Orders Release of Documents in Trump University Lawsuit – WSJ

Stealin’ Loops

It’s just lazy.

Look, Kirby Ferguson is right, everything IS a remix, there’s nothing new under the sun. However, when producing music, if you need a vocal, sing it! If you can’t sing, find someone in the neighborhood that can. Seriously, in an age where you can’t swing a dead cat without hitting an “American Idol,” or “The Voice” aspirant it’s lazy to pinch, especially vocals, from someone else’s tracks. That said, if you must have “that vocal,” the least you can do is send props the original singer’s way or maybe, here’s a novel idea,¬†request permission for the pinch. It’s one thing to play or sing in the manner of someone else’s work, that’s homage, that’s a compliment. But to scrape it from the original artist’s track is, well, it’s just lazy.

Shame on you Bieb. Do better next time. After all, you’re are setting an example for millions of Beliebers, please, do the right thing.

WHAT’S THE NEWS (follow the link to compare tracks)?
Artist White Hinterland claims that Bieber stole parts from her song “Ring the Bell.”
¬†Justin Bieber Is Being Sued For Allegedly Stealing Vocal Loops In “Sorry”

Trump, Sanders explore an unconventional presidential debate

So, Sec. Clinton backed out of an agreement to debate Bernie before the California vote saying she didn’t think a Trump-Sanders debate would happen. Surprise!

Loopcircus doesn’t have a problem with this. The Clinton campaign and the DNC may have written off the Sanders challenge, but The Donald? Well, he’s not your average Redumblicrat.

WHAT’S THE NEWS?
Billionaire Donald Trump and Democratic Socialist Bernie Sanders on Thursday (May 26, 2016) explored staging an unconventional US presidential debate that would sideline democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton but creates a high-ratings television spectacle Trump should raise ten million dollars for charitable causes.

Source: Trump, Sanders explore an unconventional presidential debate | Reuters