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Saturday, April 01, 2006
activism and the beave
Listening to:the Charlie
Reading:Wisdom of Crowds
Weather:58, mostly cloudy
I've lived in this house almost 10 years. When I look out any of the windows on the front of my house, or out my kitchen door onto the porch, I can see Brains Creek, which runs through the lower part of my meadow and across the corner of my property. In the time I've lived here beaver have built dams near that corner about 4 times, and they've always eventually washed away in a good rain. The dam that is there now is truly an amazing bit of natural architecture, and ain't going nowhere anytime soon. This time they got the placement close to some scrubby vegetation on either side, which shores up the dam even more.

In all these years and all these dams, I've never actually seen any of the elusive critters. I've tried, believe me. They're slick. But finally, now that there is a giant pond behind the dam, I actually saw one of them this morning!!! My eyes were still a little bleary, just moments after I got out of bed, I looked out the front window toward the creek, like a do everyday. And I saw the water rippling a little over by the fence. So I continued to try to focus, and after a few moments, I saw a little animal splashing and swimming around! So cool.

Hello beaver, goodbye Duff. My friend and legendary local leftist (say it 3x fast, g'ahead) is leaving Motown after 33 years. I first encountered Duff when he was bass player for the late great motown punk band Th'inbred. I was a shiny 18 year old freshman music major at WVU, living away from my mom for the first time, finding my way into the scene in motown through the gateway of The Underground Railroad. Stu Archer, Linda Gurney, Spuds, Robert H, Lisa Sarno, Carla Daruda, Peter Shapiro, Al Anderson, Velez Manifesto, Run for Cover, Gene Pool, the Larries, so many more. A truly kinetic time. It was 1984. Th'inbred was my favorite, and Duff was their bass player. Though I guess really I should say I encountered Duff before I discovered Th'inbred, because he made most of the posters each week for the Underground. They were awesome, punk poison pen style bits of graphic art, and I looked forward to them as much as I did the amazing local and national bands who played there.

Of course I was at the perfect open age to excitedly drink it all in. But I think even from a more objective perspective, this was the golden age of the morgantown music scene. I was just lucky to get plunked down in the middle of it.

Fastforward, Duff has been holding the far left corner of politics in motown ever since he got here in 1973. There are scads of liberals in this town who think of themselves as being on the left, but they have to turn their heads hard to see Duff many steps to the left of them. I supposed he's more anarchist than anything else, but he's been known to powow with the Sweepers (Jason Huber's affectionate moniker for the Socialist Workers Party folks who used to have an active presence here), and other anti-war, anti-racism, anti-death penalty, and social and economic justice groups. On common ground issues, anyway. We'd cross paths working in or with ad hoc collectives around stuff like the imprisonment of Mumia Abu Jamal. He got arrested protesting the IMF (I think?) a few years ago in Pittsburgh. And so much more, everyday, in between. Lately we've been gathering with a few folks on the 2d friday of every month at the Mon Co Courthouse Square at 4pm rush hour to protest the war; we call it PeaceFriday.

Anyway, I'm going to miss running into Duff at the Blue Moose, it's always a pleasure to see him. I'll miss seeing him protesting and helping organize collective actions. But all of motown, whether folks are conscious of it or not, will miss his leftist spirit. The whole town just shifted a little to the right without his anchor. Stay in touch, Duff, and the left coast is lucky to get you. Anchors aweigh.

And speaking of activism, have you seen this cartoon? The numbers are apparently real, too. It's been sweeping through email inboxes like a September brushfire. Whatever your stance on a woman's right to choose, you gotta love this kind of creative activism. Many times I've gotten sterile Courier font emails with politicians' phone numbers saying call and tell them bla bla bla. I rarely respond, even if it's an issue I'm down with. But this, such a clever way to slam the message home.

The hand-drawn original is currently on Ebay.

permalink posted by cat 7:38 AM

read 2 comments

Hi Cat, you mentioned some of my favorite friends and musicans. including Linda Gurney, Lisa Sarno, and Peter Shaperio all of who I Played music with back in 1984-85. anyway I've been looking for Linda for along time and wondered if you new how to find her.

Cheers Porter

Can reach me at
The band's complete discography (including 3 unreleased studio songs) has finally been reissued officially on Alternative Tentacles on CD & on 2 limited edition color vinyl LPs

Please pick it up on our site or in your favorite punk rock store!

A Family Affair LP:
Kissin' Cousins LP:

Rock on! Jesse
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activism and the beave