Sunday, July 02, 2006

Don't even ask...

Had an early morning e mail from JB who worked the ambulance duty (he is an EMT) at Summerfest, Milwaukee's "Big Gig", (Be forwarned, this is not a totally happy piece).
For those who don't know, Milwaukee is a Native American word meaning meeting of the three rivers; and, indeed, three rivers meet just before flowing into Lake Michigan. But I am sure that in some obscure language it means Podunk and, in another, The City that can't. Anyway, he asked how I liked the concert last evening.

Summerfest is a great happening if you like rock, crowds, loud rock, beer, really loud rock and the chance to stand in long lines to over pay for food you usually wouldn't eat. Yesterday, there were at least 2 drunks, one nonresponsive ,and a child trambled by a drunk carried away. This is by way of introduction, because since its inception, when the music was jazz, I don't go to the "big gig". Call me an old foggy.

On the summerfest grounds is a rather large amphitheater with 2/3rds under cover and the rest grandstands and grassy areas. It was to this venue that Paul Simon (Still Crazy After All ... and Going to Graceland....etc.) came last night to give a nearly sold out concert. The man must be near 70 years old and looks and sounds like he's 40. He is a great talent with a story-telling style of singing. And...the musicians were fantastic. I wish I hadn't gone.

The acoustics were supplied by speakers larger than most mother ships that have been spotted in the area (by near-nonresponsive drunks). I could not understand one word the man said, or sang, in spite of knowing many of the lyrics. More over, in the wisdom of the type of talent that runs the city where 3 rivers meet, smoking is allowed. So, Lady Linda (who has a touch of asthma) had to endure the couple just ahead of us enjoy their smokes.

Never mind, I did enjoy the African syncopations the group used, a truly unique sound, and I made the best of it. Then we went to drive home.

We sat in a small fenced in lot with one exit, a lot we had paid extra for because it is closest to the theater. We did not move, I mean not an inch, for 20 minutes and would still be there had not some of the citizens left their cars, gone to the exit and pushed aside the talent-challenged lady who was supposed to be directing traffic.

I won't bore you with the fact that every expressway in the area is torn up, blocked or rerouted and that the city that can't had virtually no signage to help us (never mind the out of town suckers) to the grounds. Well, not totally true, there were some signs that you saw when you had already gotten within a few blocks.

With exception of Med school, internship and air force, I've lived my entire life (so far) here in podunk. I have the best friends in the world, many paddlers, and family in the area. I have Lake Michigan, the only venue other than the other grea lakes and the oceans that is worthy of sea kayaking. I know how to get things done here and who to call. I know the medical community. We have a huge extended family here...and I hate this place.

But, hey, don't let me keep you from moving here. After all, we do offer, incompetent government which has nearlly bankrupted the city and county, a sewage district which taxes the (literally) sh*t out of us and dumps turds into the waters off our beaches, the highest taxes in the nation and Summerfest.

Hey, I feel better. I hope I wasn't too political, it's just that I am ticked off. And, I hope this won't put you off from returning to read future blogs, I promise to let this go now. I going to start organising my stuff for the Door County Sea Kayak Symposium and the Great Lakes Sea Kayak Symposium...neither which is held where the 3 rivers meet. Okay, but that was the last barb. Except...I had some nice pictures for this edition, but blogspot refused to work properly and would not upload them. They're not in Podunk, are they?

Paddle safe


JohnB said...

Just to clarify a point in today's blog, I actually didn't work Summerfest, I worked the streets. I dislike Summerfest so much that in the 27 years that Oz and I have lived here I can count on one hand the number of times I've been, and so when I had the opportunity to work the grounds and get in for free, I passed it up. I even have some free tickets that I haven't bothered to pick up!

Ok, get to the point. . .the crews that work the big drunk, pick-up the "sick and injured" and bring them to one of the gates where a street crew comes "racing in" (figure them odds) and rushes (again figure them odds) to the hospital. I was driving yesterday, and as bad as that may sound trying to navigate an ambulance up to a gate at the big drunk, through crowds of people who could a give a crap less about emergency vehicles, even with their emergent lights on, streets that were there but are no more because of the barricades--I could go on but I won't--driving was better than being in the patient compartment with underaged drunks who are spitting on you, and throwing-up all the crap that they ate and drank! I wish now that I had taken the opportunity to insert the nasal airway though. I'm sure I'll get another chance on the 4th when I work the streets again.

I feel really bad for the young child who was trampled by a couple of drunks and has most likely had surgery to fix a fractured femur by now.

Besides our squad responding to the grounds, there were many others, we were but one in the ugly city yesterday and last night!

So, why do I subject myself to 16 to 24 hour shifts? Believe it or not, I'm enjoying it--you always have to take the bad with the good. And, I'm gaining valuable experience--now I have to hope that I won't ever need to use it on a close friend or family member.

Ya'll stay heathy now ya hear!

Thanks Dick for sharing your experience, there are more of us than there are of them!

And, I can't believe they allow smoking at the Marcus!

I've said it before, it (smoking) should be against the law. And, how about those that do smoke are not eligible for health insurance until they have been off the stuff for 5 years! And, the taxes on a pack of smokes be raised to $15 with the monies going to a fund to provide special health insurance to the children of smokers, as long as the children remain a non-smoker. Yes, another soapbox.

Silbs said...

I sense a new blog writer :)

Greg Fojtik said...

Dick, didn't anyone tell you? Nobody goes to Summerfest anymore. It's too crowded.

leslie said...

WOW!! I usually don't go to Summerfest and if in a weak or bored moment I do go I have a 2 hour tolerance for the crowds. I will say the fire works last year were great. So was the freeway flier that had me back at Bayshore (not running this year) in 15 minutes.
Try Sawdust Days in Oshkosh. Good music, (some of it Cajun) and it is free.

derrick said...

ahhh, milwaukee. . just like venice. .

Buncher said...

May I suggest movine to Cincinnati?