Short Little War

For a war to have any chance of succeeding, the citizenry must be sold on its efficacy. But should wars that need to be sold ever be started? As Superpower Team USA—which is what we have become since WWII—we rarely fight wars of necessity but instead fight wars based upon theory. These theories must be sold. Example theories:

• Communism is monolithic. (Viet Nam)

• Getting rid of the evil dictator will solve the problem. (Iraq)

• Democracy (voting) is a cure all. (Entire Middle East)

• Everybody wants our system.

One of the main selling points for many of our wars is their purported brevity. Because of our overwhelming force, this will be over in no time, says the leader. The reality seems to be that you don’t really get over war. Our own civil war, which ended 150 years ago, still seems to be chugging along. The rebel flag still flies in many parts of the South.

Wars are not short. But they are lucrative. According to a 2012 study by Deloitte, the U.S. aerospace and defense industries employ over a million workers and pay about double the average national salary. They generated $324 billion in revenue in 2010. According to the Council on Foreign Relations study, our U.S. military spending hovers around $700 billion annually. Our country spends close to 40% of the world’s total military expenditure. With numbers like these, an endless series of short little wars seems inevitable.

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Suburban Dad

All day at the office he dreamed about getting home, changing clothes and mowing the lawn. The smell of fresh cut grass. The feeling of accomplishment that you could see with your own eyes.

His co-worker, Larry, asked him what he was going to do this evening after work.

“I’m going to mow, Larry,” he offered, with a gaze toward middle distance. “And what are you going to do, Larry?” Like he gave a shit.

““My Norway Maple tree is dropping helicopter seeds like crazy,” said Larry.  “I’m going to clean the helicopters from my gutters.”

Our hero goes home and finds that he needs to go to the hardware store to pick up some village lawn stickers for tomorrow’s pickup.

“Hi, honey. What’s for dinner? I’m going to Ace then I’m going to mow.”

“I’m leaving the house for a pack of smokes and never coming back,” she joked.

But she was serious.

The next night he went to his kid’s game and spilled the beans to some other suburban dads about his wife not returning home. They went out to a sports bar for a beer and watched the game out of one eye while our hero told his story in more detail.

“I never even got to mow the grass.”

They ordered another round of Miller Lites. He would mow tomorrow. And get out the leaf blower afterward. Then water everything real good.

(song from a live performance by Under The Kitchen. 4-14-07)

The Status Quo Has Got to Go

“If we want things to stay as they are, things will have to change.”

The Leopard (Sicilian Novel by Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa)

Political systems can become rigged to accommodate those already in power. The wealthy become wealthier. Those at the lower end of the scale tend to remain there. Organized society, no matter which economic system, creates opportunity for privilege, cronyism, nepotism and undue process, mechanisms that often seek to keep things as they are—the status quo.

Fairness and justice is not the concern of the status quo. Nor is change. Those at the top wish to maintain or solidify their position. They mock change and may use tactics of fear and obfuscation to make their point.

Social mobility is not a concern of the status quo. Only a continuation of the current order.  The re-imagined past is golden.

“Too much regard for the good old days caused the downfall of Rome,” pronounced Harlow Gaylord, one of my history teachers at Hinsdale High School. This is not an easy concept to grasp at 14 years old but it remained with me until I was able to grasp it.

Those fearful of change or pleased with their status tend to back political candidates  who pledge to maintain it. Or strengthen it. Any attempt at tinkering with the order is scorned as dangerous.

Those not at the top of the system may become disgruntled. They too would like some of the man made rules to bend their way.

Sooner or later, The Status Quo has got to go.

I wrote this song about three years ago. It’s my attempt to be straightforward about this universal, ongoing battle.
UTK performs Status Quo at Fat Tone Guitars in January 0f 2012.

A Night at the Gallery Cabaret with UTK

This is the place….

The Gallery Cabaret at 2020 N. Oakley in Chicago’s Bucktown neighborhood.

The Gallery Cabaret is a corner bar with live music 7 nights a week. And never a cover charge. It’s the best place to catch UTK, aka Under The Kitchen. Next Show: April 13, 2013.

The meaningful paint job puts you in the mood before you even enter.

Snazzy side view

Stay tuned for our next performance here. You are most welcome.


In the groove

The interior lighting adds to the atmosphere. We are in a laboratory— a  petri dish of existentialism.

Vassili G captures the garishly dim lighting vibe

The place is anti-pop. You know you’re not in the suburbs anymore when you’re in the GalCab. You’re far from the boondocks, too. The nearest wild animal is a rat.

View from the floor

This would be a likely spot to take a tourist from New Zealand.

For those with hair, it’s a good place to let it down.

UTK fans toast your health

The walls are littered with art done by folks.The bar staff handles the action with a style that ranges from wacky to nonchalant. Kenny is the owner.  In the next photo he’s way at the end of the bar, though looking away from the camera.

Portraits of James Joyce and Edgar Poe hang above the bar

The patrons are music aficionados, hipsters, daily drinkers, musicians, out of work comedians, and assorted misfits who may or may not have a reason to get off their barstool. Everyone is out to have a good time.

UTK has played about 10 gigs at the Gallery Cabaret. It makes for an entertaining night out.

UTK galfans

Sir Plastic Crimewave offers caricatures during recent UTK gig.

Suffering from mildew buildup of the soul? UTK can help.
Rocks harder than other leading bands

Here’s a verite video that will allow you to experience the flagrant relevance of this corner bar. Our cover of Champagne and Reefer

Note the harvest decor gracing the portal.

For more UTK vids: