A waterfall in Massachusetts. A waterfall in Massachusetts.

Alright, Observers. This month has been tough. I don’t think you need to hear anything from me about what the loss of Roe means, the harm it is already causing, and the actions available to us. So I’ll just say this: I follow the longtime, seasoned activists who say, “Of course this isn’t over.” Horrifying, damaging, and hard to overcome, yes. Over? No.

I want to mention also the tragic deaths discovered in San Antonio on Monday night. I can hardly imagine anything worse than what those people went through. I hope their families can find peace to the maximum extent possible, and that we can continue the desperately needed work of making immigration laws (and the global economy) fairer, more humane. Tall orders, but absolutely necessary if we give a shit about life.

OK — now I’ll share my little Observations notes with you.

Thank you. Please hang in there!

May faves

  • The smoky smell of the Horween Leather factory wafting into the Hideout patio. 5-12
  • Putting away my winter coat now that Chicago has had several days of 90-degree weather. 5-13
  • Recording a choir of “mouth synth” (the band imitating a slowly sweeping sine wave with their voices) under blue lights, dimmed. 5-4
  • Watching the sun set over gorgeous Colorado mountains. 5-5

  • The wifi router on the green room ceiling, which someone had signed, discontent with merely signing the wall or the ceiling itself. 5-6
  • Staying up all night post-show to make our 8 AM flight home. 5-8
  • Eating a delicious lobster roll at a suspicious, bowling-alley-attached restaurant. 5-25
  • The tiny orange lizard on our Massachusetts hike. 5-30

Dad, Sammy and me hiking in Massachusetts.

  • Sleeping at a friend’s self-built cabin in the middle of nowhere, Vermont. 5-30
  • The hearts designed into the roofing shingles of a church steeple in Montpelier, Vermont. 5-31
  • The bird whose call sounds like an eight-bit arcade blip. 5-31
  • Thunderstorms lighting up the pitch-black dark outside our temporary cabin home. 5-31


  • Ameena Walker’s story about the practice of Caribbean-American people shipping goods to their relatives — in 55-gallon barrels. 5-15
  • How to Plant a Meme” by Joshua Citarella. 5-14
  • “Funkadelic’s Hardcore Jollies made the cut, as did Never Mind the Bollocks, Here’s the Sex Pistols and Captain Beefheart’s Trout Mask Replica.“ The Untold Story of the White House’s Weirdly Hip Record Collection.” [Via Nichole — thank you!] 5-15
  • Alan Jacobs: “I don’t expect that anyone will be reading my stuff after I die — I expect that I’ll be wholly forgotten before I die, if I live to a good age — but I almost never think about that. At the end of Middlemarch George Eliot says of Dorothea that ‘the effect of her being on those around her was incalculably diffusive: for the growing good of the world is partly dependent on unhistoric acts,’ and that captures better than I can my convictions on this point. Diffusive is the key word: an influence that subtly spreads, perhaps without anyone noticing. I find that model of influence more encouraging and comforting than any hopes for fame could ever be.” 5-25
  • Facing Life. 5-21

An Extremely Solid Sound

  • Day one: Kicking off the festival with an Ohmme pop-up among Amy Hauft’s installation. Wilco performing all of Cruel Country. The release of Cruel Country! 5-27
  • Day two: Playing with Liam to a super sweet, packed audience, the first show of the day. Lawrence Azerrad and me hosting the first in-person event for our Mirror Sound book, which came out in 2020: a self-recording demo with Sam Evian and Liam. One of Sammy’s first solo electronic shows ever, a pop-up inside the museum. 5-28
  • Day three: Playing cymbal and snare drum in Sam Evian’s “long tone” meditation pop-up performance inside the museum. Playing Liam’s new songs. Watching Sun Ra’s Arkestra led by Marshall Allen finish their set by marching off stage and continue playing music off stage for a few minutes, which moved me. Jeff Tweedy & Friends! David Byrne singing “California Stars” with us. 5-29

  • Visiting Casey at her first bartending shift ever. 5-9
  • Moonlight is sunlight. 5-14
  • Remembering when gas stations prohibited cell phone use because something about static electricity from their antennae could cause fires? 5-2
  • It still amazes me that airplane wings are meant to flex. 5-5

Thanks again ☺︎


A green hill beneath a blue sky, with artificially superimposed skywriting letters that read Spoons Store.