The Dü, finally getting their due… but losing Hart

In the late 70s and early 80s, the frozen tundra of Minneapolis was a hotbed of musical innovation. The Replacements brought the raucous rock, Prince brought the funk, and Hüsker Dü brought the punk.

Now, hot on the heels of the release of a remastered box set of Hüsker Dü’s early recordings comes word that drummer Grant Hart has passed away at the age of 56.

Jon Wurster, the drummer for Superchunk who also mans the drum kit for The Mountain Goats and former Dü member Bob Mould, wrote a great tribute to Grant on Rolling Stone’s website.

And at the center of the sonic hurricane was Grant Hart, arms flailing, feet flying, laying waste to every drum and cymbal in his path. 

His drumming alone is enough to secure Grant Hart a place in the alt-rock history books, but that’s only part of his story. Grant was a top-shelf songwriter, penning and handling lead vocals on Hüsker Dü classics like “Terms of Psychic Warfare,” “Diane,” “Green Eyes” and “The Girl Who Lives on Heaven Hill.” 

And what a voice. His was arguably the best to come out of the post-punk/hardcore/alternative scene: sweet and angelic one minute, menacing the next. Grant also handled much of the band’s visual side, designing Hüsker Dü’s album covers and helping other bands with theirs, most notably the Replacements’ 1983 LP, Hootenanny.

My favorite Grant Hart tune is the lead track off his first post-Dü release, “2541”… and I’m not alone. This Minneapolis writer feels the same way.

R.I.P. Grant, and thanks for the great music.

You know your area has a bad problem when…

… the local newspaper, the Cincinnati Enquirer, has a reporter like this:

Yes, sad but true, her only beat is reporting about the scourge of heroin. Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky have been hit hard. According to the CDC: In 2015, the five states with the highest rates of death due to drug overdose were West Virginia (41.5 per 100,000), New Hampshire (34.3 per 100,000), Kentucky (29.9 per 100,000), Ohio (29.9 per 100,000), and Rhode Island (28.2 per 100,000).

Cincinnati is in Hamilton County, and the ‘burbs are Butler and Warren counties. All of those counties make this chart from a June NY Times article.

Where’s the miracle solution? There isn’t one. But this article has some good suggestions about stopping the cycle. And this one has some for reducing overdose deaths. Gotta start somewhere.

I ain’t gonna work on Maggie’s Farm no more

My daughter Leah wants to be a farmer – she thinks it’ll be fun. I could probably find dozens of local farmers who could disabuse her of that notion faster than you can say “sunk costs and unpredictable weather.” Actually, I could only find a handful of local farmers these days – there aren’t nearly as many of them as they used to be. To rework the old joke about the music business:

Q. How do you make a million dollars in farming? 

A. It’s easy – just start with two million dollars. 

But no, in this case, Dear Old Dad (emphasis on the “Old”) isn’t going to be the dreamcrusher.

After all, she already has her plans drawn up:

Looks a whole lot better than an office cubicle, doesn’t it? Perhaps I can join Leah on her farm… be the Eb to her Mr. Douglas.







You can’t judge a book by looking at the cover…

… but you can judge a LinkedIn request by looking at the profile summary. Here’s an easy “accept” one:

Executive recruiter from Columbus? Sure, why not? I’ve never met him, don’t know him from Adam, but my LinkedIn bar is very low (it’s like Facebook “friends” but without the cute baby pictures). Maybe he can help me land my dream job (replacing Alex Trebek as host of Jeopardy. Buy American!)

Whereas this one is a no-go:

I appreciate the e.e. cummings lowercase style of the name. Thanks to my company’s Diversity & Inclusion training, I have a much better understanding of — and appreciation for — the fact that different cultures and backgrounds have different societal norms. Perhaps in Brazil it is customary for professors to wear clothes that in the U.S. would be considered “sleazy nightclub” outfits. But my gut is telling me no, unless I want to wind up becoming the plot of a Lifetime movie (working title: Extra Credit: The Abduction and Kidney Harvesting of Dubbatrubba) or a Van Halen video.





Here comes the sun… and the savings will follow

We had 23 solar panels installed on our roof this past week.

I’ve always been a tree-hugger, but I’m also a cheapskate. Thanks to a federal tax credit, I can deduct 30% of the cost from this year’s tax bill. Thanks to the state of Ohio’s ECO-Link program, I was able to knock 3% off the loan rate, so my loan percentage is lower than most 12-month CD rates. And the way our house is positioned, the panels are on the back part of our roof and can barely been seen from our backyard, so the missus is OK with the lack of aesthetic appeal. Besides, Elon Musk’s solar shingles are several years away from getting to the Midwest.

My electric bills will go down immediately. Conservative estimates show the system paying for itself within eight years. After that, it’s all gravy.

23 panels aren’t going to clean up all the dirty air that coal-loving Duke Energy is spewing into the Cincinnati area… but you gotta start somewhere.

If Germany can get 7% of their energy from solar and 35% of their energy from renewables, why can’t we?

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