Thursday, March 31, 2011

March 2011

So long March, you’ve been an interesting month this year. I’ve had plenty of other March’s that were pretty nonchalant. I mean other than St. Patrick’s Day, March is usually pretty blah. If it were a man I’d probably say March was a milquetoast.

This March however was pretty decent. I can’t complain too much, I got a promotion at work and will soon return to the glories of working downtown. Plus I met a nice girl whom I’d like to get to know better (we’ll see how that goes).    

March has been interesting for lots of reasons; in fact on this day in 1889 the Eiffel Tower was dedicated in Paris. Yes, hundreds of Parisians looked skyward and shrugged. "Ce n'est pas une grande affaire. J'ai du vin pour boire."

Also on this day and something I find incredibly interesting, Abigail Adams, wife of John Adams, wrote the following in a letter to her husband in 1776, "I long to hear that you have declared an independency. And, by the way, in the new code of laws which I suppose it will be necessary for you to make, I desire you would remember the ladies and be more generous and favorable to them than your ancestors. Do not put such unlimited power into the hands of the husbands. Remember, all men would be tyrants if they could. If particular care and attention is not paid to the ladies, we are determined to foment a rebellion, and will not hold ourselves bound by any laws in which we have no voice or representation."  You go girl. And thanks again History Channel.

Of course it took 150 years from that letter for women to receive the right to vote with the 19th Amendment. But hey, that Abigail was something else. A woman well ahead of her time for certain. Rowr.  (Wink, wink)

What will April bring I wonder? Well if March was any indication, I think it’ll be pretty darn good and I’m excited to get there. I just hope Mother Nature takes it easy on us for a while and lets the world pull up her boxing trunks and fix her hair before the next big environmental sucker punch.

Anyway, Thanks March 2011 for not being a total jerk. If I see you in the hall later I will totally give you the old "what's up", head nod. 

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Fonzie was a Punk

After having a wonderful Tuesday evening I woke up this morning with a good punk song in my head. “Judy is A Punk”, was hot on my lips as I dragged myself to the shower.  I know it was originally a Ramones song but I like the Screeching Weasel version better and that’s the one that was in my head.  In fact, it’s still in their now.

I do so enjoy when a really great evening rolls into a really good morning. You might as well call me Katrina and the Waves because I’m walking on Sunshine.  I know it sounds cheesy but it’s true. All I have to do is shake a little sleep from my eyes and I’ll be Captain Awesome for the rest of the day.  Which for me is a nice change from Captain Shut-up.

Captain Shut-up usually complains and whines about every little thing endlessly until someone finally rolls their eyes at him and says, “Will you please shut-up!”
Having been put in his place Captain Shut-Up then cowers in a corner mumbling to himself about the audacity of so and so to yell at him. He’ll plot his imaginary revenge and then seemingly forget about it half an hour later.

Captain Awesome however is completely relaxed and super chill, happy to deliver a kind word and get you to laugh about something. Yes, Captain Awesome is just that, awesome. Although Captain Awesome can be different for everyone I suppose. My version of Captain Awesome is a lot like Fonzie from Happy Days it would seem. Of course, I’m dating myself with that reference.  But Fonzie was the epitome of coolness back in the day and we all wished we could be just a little more like him. Without the blue shorts and the shark jump.

I always imagined God is a little like Fonzie, not like the Church of the Fonz, from Family Guy. I’m talking about the regular Catholic God and his sameness to Fonzie. The God Fonzie is always willing to help you out, but he’d rather you learn your lessons yourself first. He’ll keep you out of trouble and can work the jukebox just by creating one out of thin air. (He is God after all).

Suddenly I’m possessed with starting a band and naming it, “God Fonzie”. That would be awesome. Captain Awesome even.  

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Am I Caucasian American then?

I was watching WGN news this morning and they reported on the upcoming Senate hearings on Muslim Americans and the rise of bigotry since 9/11. Then last night on a re-run of Real Time with Bill Maher they were talking about the rise of the Mexican American population in the U.S. according to the census. I’m also sure I heard at some point some references to African Americans. When did we stop being plain old Americans?

I’m proud of my Irish heritage and appreciate a lot about my culture but I don’t refer to myself or any of the Irish that I know as Irish Americans. And if they’ve lived here their entire lives they are simply Americans. So why do we have to break this country down by racial or hereditary lines still? I thought those days were gone. Perhaps it’s my big city naiveté. Maybe I’m just a little more used to different types of people hanging out together and don’t really see the problem.

I know this country probably still has a long way to go before we can truly just call ourselves Americans without the epithetic race or heritage identifier before it. It’s only been some forty-three years of civil rights in America and before that it was even worse. But come on everybody, we’re better than that. We’re a country based on the freedom of the individual and we should judge people for what they do and not for what they are.  

I also think it’s time for these groups of people that do identify themselves in this way to accept their Americanism and let go of the petty heredity based or racial titles. I’m looking for someone to stand up and say, “I’m not African American, or Muslim American or even Mexican American. I am American”.  

For too long it has felt like being “an American” was a bad thing or that you’d have to be a middle aged white man to be a simple American. I know that’s not the case and I hope others realize it too. Although there’s a lot of folks that would have you believe that, I want to say that it isn’t true. Hard work and a sense of common decency are universally respected no matter what your background is, and I think most Americans respect that above all race or creed.

As revolution takes hold all across the Middle East and around the globe we should take the opportunities to take a good look at some of the “standard” practices our own country has adopted and take a stand. I want all of us to be unified in the fact that while we all come from somewhere else, we’re all just Americans; doing what we have to do in the pursuit of liberty and justice for all. 

On a side note, are there African Canadians? Muslim Canadians? Mexican Canadians? I’ve never heard anyone say that, ever.

Monday, March 28, 2011

It’s amazing we’ve gotten this far at all.

I was thinking about us this morning. “Us”, in the human race kind of way, a general overview of humanity you might say and I am truly amazed. I say that because I find it really amazing that human beings can get along with each other at all and accomplish anything without everything breaking down into greedy self-serving desire.

It kind of struck me this morning as I was lost trying to get to work. Yes, I got lost in my own neighborhood trying to navigate my way around a blockage at my normal expressway entrance ramp. I got to thinking about human achievement as I weaved my way through one way and dead end streets all throughout my neighborhood, cursing the street planners for making it so gosh darn impossible to get from one side of a neighborhood to the other. (That and I couldn’t remember the name of the street I wanted to go down for my alternate route. It was Keeler damn it.)

But as I relaxed and figured it out, still not sure how I screwed it up so badly, it occurred to me the amount of planning and design and thought that so many individuals had to agree on before any steps were taken to actually pave or build those streets. I then thought of it on a larger scale, from neighborhoods to cities, to states, to countries to the whole world.  All of it, so planned out by groups of human beings finding the ability to put aside their own personal interests and make something for the greater good. Even if it is a tad confusing at times.

I worry, however, when human beings get too caught up in anything, be it religion, politics, fundamentalist frog gigging, or jazz, that they might lose touch with what it means to be a successful species on this plant. And that is cooperation of course. When humans disagree on a grand scale we usually end up in a military conflict that might span decades. But when we put aside out differences we can accomplish incredible things, even miraculous I would say.

So as I’ve said, I am amazed that we’ve survived as a species and the only reason we have is thanks to the human ability to compromise. Without that ability we never would have left the deserts of Africa or the caves of Europe. We would have likely killed each other off in meaningless contests over women, land or game. But human beings, in their very nature are not selfish. We’ve only become selfish as we’ve become further removed from other human beings and more reliant on technology. It’s interesting to see our greater, more decent characteristics come out after a natural disaster. Then we can really see the human being as a compassionate puzzle piece; a piece that completes the puzzle of humanity.

Now if only I had thought about it before driving up and down Elston four times. I’m amazed I’ve managed to survive. 

Thursday, March 24, 2011

What’s in the box?

Since last night and all of this morning I’ve been trying to come up with a fun topic for today’s piece. Nothing has come to mind. Really, it’s just empty up there in Ye Olde Thought Attic. Well, not empty. I mean there are old rocking chairs and dust covered chests, old lamps and boxes and boxes of unidentifiable memories.  Oh, let’s dust one off and see what we get.

Ah! My first big stage laugh. Now this is a classic. When I was young, perhaps seven years old, my family and I were at church for mass. The box doesn’t seem to indicate if this was a Sunday service of the Saturday night quick mass. I’m guessing it was some important Sunday mass on a high holy day. There was a young priest who was very charming and had a great way with the mass. He was the first priest I ever saw get down off the pulpit during the homily and really walk and talk to the members of the congregation. He was a gregarious fellow and most of the parishioners thought he was the bee’s knees.  Word came down one day that he was to leave our parish and move onto a far needier one, or maybe he was going to the Navy? I really can’t recall. Again this was just the first memory in the box. I’m sure there’s more detail underneath all these faded photos but I don’t really have the energy to dig through it all.

So this priest was giving his final Sunday homily and he invited all the children up onto the “stage”. I’m not sure what that area just beyond the old communion rail was called, I guess that area around the altar. So all the children came up to the front and (by the way this wasn’t so odd way back when) and we all stood around him as he was talking. I stood near the front with my sister and looked out over the rather large congregation. This priest then asked all of us children some question and he wanted us all to think about it very hard.  Well, this is where the comedian in me was born. I thought, not about the question he asked, but how to look like I was thinking very hard. So as I had seen in so many countless cartoons and Marx Brothers movies, a person thinking hard about something always folds their hands behind their back and paces back and forth until that Eureka moment.

So after the priest asked his difficult question, I did what one is supposed to do when thinking hard, I folded my hands behind my back and started pacing back and forth in front of the whole church. There was an eruption of laughter from the people in the pews. The priest laughed too. I looked out at all the laughing faces and I was hooked. That laughter was now the most important thing in my life and I’d do anything to get it. (much to a lot of my teachers chagrin) I’ve been a laughter addict ever since and I hope there’s no cure.

Wow, nice one box. I might have to take this box downstairs with me and see what else is in there.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Now that’s fame.

When I heard on the radio this morning of Elizabeth Taylor’s passing I felt a pang of sadness in my stomach. I knew this day would come of course. The old Hollywood is slowly fading away.  I then thought how appropriate it was that I heard about it on the radio rather than all the splashy coverage it’ll get on TV. I’m sure for the next few days every entertainment TV show will start running their tributes, honorariums and scandal sheets, complete with flashy titles and graphics. I would rather just a quick word in the paper and that’s it. I don’t know if days and days of coverage is appropriate, considering the headlines in the rest of the world. I’m sure Libya won’t stop for a moment of silence. Although she was pretty amazing, who knows?

I am awed at her fame. Her last role was doing voiceover work for a failed Fox TV cartoon, “God, The Devil and Bob” in 2001. Yet she’s quite possibly one of the most famous women on the planet. She also spoke Maggie Simpson’s first word in 1992.  Her last film role, according to IMBD, was Pearl Slaghoople in 1994’s The Flintstones. She made a TV movie, “These Old Broads” in 2001; which was her last TV performance.  However her body of work and talent is incredible and indelible.

I first became aware of Elizabeth Taylor thanks to Family Classics on WGN. They were showing “National Velvet” and I watched it. I’m pretty sure I had a crush on her in that. Of course I wasn’t aware that the movie was made in 1944. But I’m pretty sure it set me on a particular course regarding my attraction to certain kinds of women.  I think I next saw her in “Giant” and I must say that film is still up there with my top ten.  I fell in love with her all over again in “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof”, sultry and steamy and wearing a nightie  through most of the movie. Certainly set part of my standards I’m sure.

Ms. Taylor had been a Hollywood fixture for seven decades, starting in the 1940’s till the present. I can only hope for a small part of that kind of fame. I guess I’ll have to marry well and not get divorced so often.  I also doubt my own line of fragrances would be so popular, “White Guy”, just doesn’t seem like it’d be a hot seller.

I certainly wish old Hollywood wasn’t dying off and it’s only going to get worse as the years roll by. But there’s very little we can do about it except sit back, cozy up with Robert Osborn on TCM and get reacquainted with all the movie stars of a rapidly disappearing era.

So long Ms. Taylor, say hi to Richard for me.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

It’s pretty weird out there

I wonder if there really is a thing as Spring Madness. I know there’s March Madness as it applies to college basketball, but there does seem to be some real insanity going on with people lately. I mean people have just been irrationally crazy. Maybe as people crawl out of their winter hibernation the madness is starting to ooze out with them.

Some of the phone calls I’ve received recently at work have been of the completely insane variety. A literal absence of reality in certain people’s thinking and reasoning. Some of these people have made obnoxious demands and requests that simply cannot be completed or found in this universe. I’m starting to wonder how much brain damage people really do have. Did TV really rot their brains as so often predicted? Were people always this dumb and greedy? I don’t think so. If they were then society probably would have crumbled with the Etruscans. (No Dennis Miller jokes okay)

It’s not just the calls I’ve been getting today, but some of the so-called, “regular people”, have been acting quite out of their gourds. The weather’s up and down behavior might be driving people insane. Of course who am I to judge another person’s sanity? Oh wait, I am perfectly qualified because I’m not a crazy person. I’m filled with delicious rational thought and sweet ass logical action.  

I wonder if madness can spread like a disease, transmitting from one person to another. I know actual brain disorders are most often not viral in nature, but what if there’s something new, causing even the most rational of individuals to start seeing bridge trolls riding giant spiders across Michigan Avenue.

I’ve seen panic spread through a crowd like a wave and I wonder if insanity can do the same. I mean angry mobs often fall into a collective consciousness and act as one, even if the goal is crazy, like flipping a car through a perfectly good window of a business that has nothing do to with the mob’s ultimate goal. The action of the individual is lost in the sea of society. So I wonder if, as the madness spreads, if more people will act as part of the collective and less as an individual.

I bet it really does have something to do with all that Super Moon stuff and the tides and the lunar cycle. I bet the Earth passed through some cosmic patch of crazy radiation, or Crazdiation, as I will now call it.

I certainly hope it starts to calm down. It’s getting exhausting being a rational man in an irrational world. Let’s keep it calm everybody, keep calm and carry on as they say. Plus I don’t want you people spooking my giant spider.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Time for Coffee?

My goodness it’s been a busy Monday morning. I only just got myself that first cup of delicious, eye opening java juice. It’s so fresh it’s too hot to sip just yet. Got to blow on it a little first.

Speaking of things that are extremely hot and need to be blown on, I must say that I’m concerned about all the Middle East unrest. I’m of course very pleased that those long dormant societies have finally felt the clarion call of freedom; but it still makes me nervous. There are things happening there that sends a mild shiver down my Christian spine.

Now I’m not a Theologian, but I did read The Book of Revelations quite thoroughly as a younger man and in Revelations there are quite a lot of prophetical writings about unrest in the Middle East which creates a power vacuum in which the anti-Christ steps in and eventually brings about the end of the world. I’m sure I’m not the first to point out the apocalyptical potential of what’s going on in the Middle East but I wonder.  Add the fact that natural disasters seem to be on the rise and were kind of looking as some “Horsemen of the Apocalypse” themed events.  I don’t think they’ll be entering any Dressage competitions however.

I know some right wing nuts have really been pounding away at the idea that these are really the final days and I certainly don’t want to get lumped into their category. I’m not saying anything Biblical is actually occurring there, but it can make a Catholic a little nervous. I’m sure it is all really random coincidence and these are not the End of Days. That would totally blow anyway. I’m simply not prepared for the end of the world. Never even been to Ireland for crying out loud.

Plus I still want a family and I think it would just be really cruel to have a couple of kids and then be like, “Aw dang, really, the end of the world? Sorry kids, looks like no Disney this year.”

I’d be pretty mad if the End was coming. I certainly don’t feel all that accomplished and at peace with the things I’ve done in my life. And there are still a lot of things I’d still like to do and ask for forgiveness for later.

My coffee has cooled enough to drink and I’m able to take a sip. I hope the Middle East goes like that; it’s hot now but soon it’ll be cool and delicious, but will likely still keep you up at night.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

It’s St. Patrick’s Day so shut your gob and drink

As an Irishman, or as the off the boat Irish tell me I have to say, as an American of Irish descent I’m very proud to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. Here in Chicago we’ve been lucky enough to get a quality 60 plus degree and I’m already contemplating leaving work a little early to get a jump on the festivities. But before we get to the festivities however, how about a little fun history!

St. Patrick's Day is celebrated on March 17, his religious feast day and the anniversary of his death in the fifth century. The Irish have observed this day as a religious holiday for over a thousand years.  On St. Patrick's Day Irish families would traditionally attend church in the morning and celebrate in the afternoon. Lenten prohibitions against the consumption of meat were waived and people would dance, drink, and feast—on the traditional meal of Irish bacon and cabbage.  Mmmm, Irish bacon.

The first St. Patrick's Day parade took place not in Ireland, but in the United States. Irish soldiers serving in the English military marched through New York City on March 17, 1762. Along with their music, the parade helped the soldiers to reconnect with their Irish roots, as well as fellow Irishmen serving in the English army.

So obviously there is a long Irish tradition of parades, drinking and partying and I am happy to participate in such a wealthy heritage. Now all I have to do is catch a Leprechaun and everything will be just fine.  I suppose I should try and catch myself a fine Irish lass as well and sing her some Irish lullabies.

I also want to make it clear that the real Irish folks don’t go out on St. Patrick’s Day with the intention of getting completely faced. We just go out looking for a good time with friends and family, so please try to be respectful of each other out there so everyone does have a good time.

Gluais faicilleach le cupan làn.
(Go carefully with a full cup.)

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Okay Wednesday, what have you got for us?

Wednesday slowly opened her left eye. She just wanted to peek out from under the covers and make sure the coast was clear. She opened her right eye to check the other side of the room. She lifted her head up, now with both eyes open and scanned her bedroom carefully. No monsters.

The sun was streaming through the blinds on her window creating a familiar morning crisscross pattern in the opposite corner. She stretched and tossed the covers off. She turned and sat on the edge of her bed and scratched at her rib cage. She stood and stretched again and started toward her door. As she stepped across the hardwood floor of her bedroom she suddenly stopped and gasped. She had stepped in something cold and wet.

Her first instinct was to turn and dive back into bed and pull the covers back over her head as she had last night. When the monsters came. Her only protection all through the night was the impenetrable blanket force field. Those blood thirsty monsters couldn’t get through the blankets. They were so mean those monsters, always snarling and roaring and dragging their long jagged fingernails across the floor. Wednesday wished they would just leave her alone but they just wouldn’t.

She had tried to find out where they came from. Maybe from under the bed or maybe the closet, but there was just no way to be sure. She wished she still had a video camera and then she could document the monsters. But then she didn’t have a night vision lens on it so it probably wouldn’t do much good.

Wednesday gulped hard and looked down at the floor, she had to make sure she wasn’t standing in a puddle of blood. She looked down at her left foot and there was nothing there at all. The floor was just cold. She sighed with relief. Those hardwood floors do seem to have some odd cold spots.  She took another step forward and was reassured that it was just the cold floor under her bare feet that had so startled her.

How silly it was to believe in monsters. Monsters aren’t real. There’s no such thing.  Wednesday is a big girl and big girls don’t believe in monsters. She got to her bedroom door and opened it in to the hallway and headed for the kitchen. It was time for breakfast for sure and all that hiding last night had made her hungry.

She got to the kitchen and climbed into her stool at the countertop. But there was no bowl or spoon or even milk placed out. That was unusual as every morning those things were there. She looked around the kitchen and noticed how very quite it was. The automatic coffee maker hadn’t even come on.

She got off the stool and walked down the back hall toward Monday and Tuesday’s room. She knocked on the door but didn’t get an answer. So she turned the doorknob and pushed the door open.

The monster looked up at her with strings of Monday’s flesh hanging between its teeth and howled. Wednesday tried to scream but no noise came out. Tuesday was hanging off the side of the bed, covered in blood. He was trying to speak to her.

“Run baby, Run!”

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Really? Still on my mind?

“The quiet glow of her gently sleeping face.
Her soft, content breathing lulling me to her.
Her sleeping sweetness makes me think of
bliss, peace and happiness lost.

A sleeping loveliness I will cry
over for ages and wring my hands
wishing I was a better man,
worthy of her waking eyes.”

That’s a poem I wrote a few years ago that rushed back into my memory this morning. I made a few editorial changes as something about it didn’t seem to flow quite right. I think it’s a little better now. It’s a funny thing; heartache. It’s amazing how its ravenous claws, so lax for so long, suddenly tighten and clamp down causing a quickening and nervousness in the chest.

Sleeplessness arrives to accompany the heartache and all you can do is roll around in the bed, once shared, and try and force yourself to think about something else. No plate tectonics or climate change could seem to shake her from my sleepless brain.

It’s pathetic I know. I certainly should be well over her. It’s been years and there’s a gulf of time between us, a mountain range of time, the distance from the Earth to the Sun. There is no rhyme or reason for the curious fear and longing that has so swiftly risen in my soul. It’s as if Cupid woke from a long dream and upon waking remembered to turn my heartscrews to hellfire.

Hindsight passion is also a strange animal. I often wonder why I was never this emotional or expressive with her when I had the chance and only now see how deeply she had become part of me. I must say that love, for all its splendor and glee, can be quite the powerful anchor dragging you to the bottom of the sea.  – Hey, that rhymes.

I digress; (shaking my head too) I know this is a sappy and trite piece of melodramatic high school longing. A self-serving, muddling, whining, diatribe without any purpose other than to try and steel myself against the nothing that will happen. I know nothing will happen. I’m pretty sure nothing will happen.  But it’s a hard thing to get out of the mind without actually putting the metaphorical “pen to paper” and allowing the release of thought to carry on.

I’ll be fine. I’ll wipe the tear from the corner of my eye and carry on. I have no choice in the matter. A love lost is truly that, lost. For all time.  And no matter how hard we wish to go back and bathe in it, reality just doesn’t allow it. Time only moves forward, it’s the constant in nature. There is no going back.

There is only forward and I should look to that future with a happier lilt. It’s a fool who wallows in his shortcomings and doesn’t look up from the puddle of self-contempt to see that the Sun is shining and birds are singing and this heartache will cool with time. I only wish I knew how long because it’s kind of a drag. Seriously, a drag. One day though, I might actually be over it and then, look out Ladies. I'll be the proper gentleman of your dreams.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Have Nerd, Will Travel

The older I get, the more nerd-like I seem to get. As I was trying to fall asleep last night I started considering the effects of Plate Tectonics on Climate Change. Or rather, what plate tectonics have to do with climate change. I wondered if anyone had actually taken a look at that theory. I suppose it was on my mind due to the massive earthquake in Japan and the following environmental changes that have taken place since.

I chuckled to myself a little bit as I tried to wrap my head around the concept that the continents are still moving across the globe and they might not be in the same place they were 100 years ago. So I supposed that the weather conditions could have changed for certain places on the globe because the continent isn’t where it used to be when weather records were first being kept. 

I, of course, marveled at my own stunning intellect and internally confirmed my own genius. Then I felt embarrassed for being so self-aggrandizing.  I’m not sure if my incredible scientific discovery wore me out or what but I fell asleep soundly and had dreams about a friend of mine and I in a hotel room. I found it odd because it had nothing to do with science or plate tectonics. Well, there may have been some Earth moving however.  I woke thinking that it was such a nerd dream. I mean come on, nerds always dream about the hot chicks.

I was still thinking about it when I got to work this morning and I had to look it up and I found out all about it.

This is a very interesting article but it’s more about the “ancient climate change over geological timescales”; essentially climate change over a very long time, millions of years of geologic time. This of course is not exactly what I was thinking about but it was pretty darn close. The plates on the Earth’s surface move about three centimeters a year, which isn’t all that much and its actual effect on the climate is minimal, but when there’s a violent act, like a volcano or earthquake, then the effects on the environment become more obvious. When a volcano erupts it increases the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere thus increasing some of the Greenhouse effects of climate change.

“Whoa, slow down nerdlinger”, said the reader.
“What, I get excited about this stuff”, I replied.
“Yeah, but go back to talking about how drunk Friday got and how she spilled that drink all down the front of her blouse and everyone could see all her naughty bits”.
“Is that was you really want?”

Naughty bits. Fine.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Al Coholic

That guy. That guy is a jerk. Al.
He’s left me without interest or ambition.
I’m dry without him and smarter too.

I could do without, but what
Then, to do?

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Heartbreak Highway on the Radio

As I’ve yet to fully enter the 21st century, I still listen to regular old radio on my way into work. It sounds so barbaric these days, “You still listen to commercial radio!?!” I get it all the time, but that’s not my point today.

As I drove to work, listening to the commercial radio, I started get a little melancholy. It seemed like every song that came on was about lost love or missing love or wanting that feeling about love or love in general. It was starting to get to me. I recently found out one of my great loves of my life will be in town next week and I’m pretty sure we won’t see each other or even talk about her visit. We actually haven't spoken at all since August. I’m assuming the less I know about her visit the better. I probably shouldn’t write it down here as I’m probably not even supposed to know about it. I don’t know any travel details and I’m not stalking her. Or at least I’m not staking her any further than Facebook will allow anyway. But it kind of made me sad that she’ll be coming to my town and we won’t even see each other. I do miss her of course.

The last time I saw her was in July on a hot summer sidewalk in New York holding a large book I gave her all about the Eiffel Tower, a big pizza box from our early lunch and an overnight bag. She had so much awkward sized stuff to carry. It’s one of those memories that will always stick with me. I watched her walk down the street as I waited for a cab to take me to the airport. I think we looked back at each other at least twice before I got into the cab. That was the last time I saw her. And now to know she’s coming to town has my head all dizzy.

The songs on the radio didn’t help. Last night I had committed myself to just staying out of her way, letting her just do her thing with the people she knows in Chicago and I shouldn’t be a second thought for her; although I would like to be of course. But when Aretha Franklin started singing Say A Little Prayer for You, I got a little choked up and my resolve wavered and I thought that perhaps I should just send my old love an e-mail. Then song after song was about missing someone you loved and it just whaled on and by the time I parked my car I was ready to start bawling with the old heartbreak feeling fresh and new.

I trudged into the office and I saw I had a voicemail. I thought it was probably some crazy jerk claimant wanting me to give them money because they burped wrong while in a store and it hurt their throat. But no! Instead I was treated to another classic punk rock voicemail from a very dear friend and it was just the pick me up I needed. That punk rock song cancelled out all the sad, lovesick music of the morning drive and gave me a little hope for the rest of the day. So she’s coming to town, that’s okay. I’ll always love her and I’m sure she knows it and we don’t have to get in each other’s way. (Unless she wants to of course, I’m still a sucker for her.)

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Apparently "they" want me to work today

They’ve got some nerve asking me to do the job I actually get paid for. Who do they think they are? Well, I’ll show them. I’ll work really hard today and… ooh, something shiny.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

“Does this make me look fat?”

It’s Fat Tuesday and for all us Christians out there it’s one last day of indulgence before we enter the Lenten season. Mardi Gras is actually translated to mean “Fat Tuesday”.  (Hm, somehow I always thought it meant something different.) I guess my French is a little rusty.  Anyway, tomorrow is Ash Wednesday and the start of Lent. A time of sacrifice and preparation for the events linked to the death and resurrection of Jesus. Although these days it just means the fish sandwich is back on the McDonald’s menu. 

I haven’t been what I would call a practicing Catholic for quite a while. Sure I still have my core faith beliefs but I don’t go to Church or make any extended offerings to the Catholic community. I have a deeply ingrained sense of my faith and do not feel the need to go through the formulaic rites associated with the Catholic Mass. I appreciate the moral compass my Catholic upbringing has instilled in me and I do try to live by those basic of Catholic teachings, “treat others as you would like to be treated”, and those famous words uttered by Jesus as he hung on the cross,  “Peter, I can see your house from here”.

I also appreciate the history of Catholicism. I wonder about its early days underground in the Roman Empire to the horrors of the Crusades and the Spanish Inquisitions. Through the Puritan and Protestant derivations to the current Evangelical applications, Catholicism has had quite a ride through history. Sometimes I’m not sure I can be part of a religion that killed and murdered its way through centuries of armed conflict. I sometimes think I’m somewhat of a Caddhist, a Catholic Buddhist hybrid.  I certainly believe in God but I don’t think it has any desire for us to cause harm to each other, or even to those that don’t believe in what I believe in. That whole vengeful God of the Old Testament just doesn’t seem like my kind of God. Plus all the self mutilation in the early Bible is a little too much to take.
“I am the Lord your God, now cut off the tip of your Penis. It will please me”. 
“I’m sorry Lord, did you just ask me to cut off the tip of my penis?”
“I did. Was I unclear?”
“No, no. I just… like how much of the tip?”
“Oh, just that little bit over the top, that extra skin… you know.”
“You know.”
“I got it Lord! Man.”

I digress, today is about letting yourself feel a little of that hedonism we so often deny ourselves as we try to follow our own moral compass. I’m not saying it’s time to rape and pillage like a Godless heathen, but I do think its chance to have a little fun with your faith and flash your boobs. (By the way I’m having a boob flashing party later tonight so feel free to stop by ladies. God told me it might be cool so…. you know.)  And no, you don’t look fat Tuesday.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Fahrenheit 451, ouch that’s hot

I had a dream last night that was quite similar to the plot of Fahrenheit 451. For those that are unfamiliar with it, a future government bans all books and reading because they feel an educated populace is too hard to control. If you are caught with books or reading a book the fire department was called and they came and burned your house down and all your books.  Then you would be dragged off into the night never to be seen again.  It’s a classic novel by Ray Bradbury, which was turned into a rather groovy movie in the 60’s.

My dream however seemed to take place in the present and seemed to document the slow rise of anti-intellectualism that sweeps across the country. (I might have been watching too much about Wisconsin government.) Somewhere in my mind I seemed to put together this idea that reading and learning was against the governments interests. That just like the book, the less people know the easier they are to control.  I remember dreaming that I couldn’t wait to get to a computer and start writing and expressing my extreme disgust with this practice.

I woke up with that thought still pounding away in my head and I was quite motivated, until I realized that I was just dreaming and reading wasn’t illegal. It did get me thinking again about our own government and their handling of the whole collective bargaining thing in Wisconsin. It got me thinking about Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address. He makes mention (and I’ll paraphrase) that this government is one “of the people, by the people and for the people”; any government institution that forgets who they work for and why is not deserving of our respect and should be heartily questioned. The people brought this government into existence, not the other way around. So we have the right to question and complain and demand reasonable answers.

So I have to ask the question and I don’t know if anyone has asked yet, is what they’re doing right and just for the people? Are the people’s best interests at the heart of this legislation? I haven’t heard anyone ask that. Or maybe I couldn’t hear it over the crackling of the flames speeding across the country, demolishing the words of reason and accountability.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Friday makes her move

Friday pushed the file cabinet closed and went back to her desk. She carried the large brown manila folder in two hands. It had put on quite a lot of weight over the years. She dumped it with a thud on her desktop and then dropped herself into her chair. She sighed and brushed her blonde hair out of her eyes. She wished she had some hair ties left. She always seemed to be running out of those darn things. She leaned over the folder and opened it to the first set of documents.  

The yellowed paper in the folder was almost brittle to the touch, but Friday had been thumbing through it for a very long time and she knew how to be delicate. Being delicate was one her specialties in fact. She had always been soft on those that needed it and there were so many that needed it. Each one of them was another piece of paper in her extensive collection of files. But they were more than just paper to her, she loved them.
Those she didn’t love were Monday’s problem.

Friday found the page she was looking for and bit her bottom lip as she thought about the last time they were together. It seemed like forever but it really had only been a week. She knew men loved her, she knew women loved her too, but this one was special. They had truly enjoyed each other and she was worried it was just a passing fancy. She shook her head at the silly thought. Of course they’d enjoyed each other. They’ve been enjoying each other for years and years. Then why was she suddenly worried about him?

She knew that crazy woman Saturday was always waiting to get her sweaty hands on him and sometimes she did. But Friday just didn’t want that to happen anymore. Friday wanted him all to herself and she finally thought she had a foolproof plan to make him hers forever.

She stood up from her desk and went to her window. It was raining out again. Friday thought she’d better have another talk with Mother Nature soon. That woman was totally out of control. She’s been PMS-ing for 65 million years or so and enough was enough. But for now, the rain was just fine; all for the better in Friday’s plan.  

He’ll never see Saturday again and Friday will have him always, now to work.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

A few thoughts for Thursday

Please, women with children or babies at home who don’t get out of the house too often. There’s no need to party like a 1980’s glam rock star at the local bar on your first free night in a while.  Yes, we can all hear you and we know how much you enjoy the RUN-DMC/Areosmith version of Walk This Way. There’s no need to take your shoes off and try and dance on the bar in your sock feet. Did I mention there’s no need to scream everything you are saying; even though I have no idea what it is you are trying to say? But other than that, have a great time! Watch the highs and lows though. It’s hard to go from dancing on the bar and screaming like an air raid siren to crying in the arms of your friend.  But again, have fun and we hope to see you again soon.


Border’s and Bankruptcy, that is unfortunate.  They have a huge 20% off everything sale going on so I thought I’d take advantage of that and buy some new books and maybe some cheap CD’s. (Yes, I still buy CDs if I can) I spent an hour in the store yesterday browsing, picking things up and eventually finding four great books and 2 CDs. I took them to the register and the nice young lady rang them up and even with the discount it was still a hearty sum. I took out my checkbook (no I didn’t blow the dust off it. I do use it for my rent and such) and was about to write a check when the clerk stopped and said they can’t accept any personal checks. It would seem that they have no bank to deposit them in. She asked me if I had cash or a credit card. I said I didn’t want to put it on my credit card and I didn’t have that kind of cash on me, hence the check. She said she could take a few items off and maybe get it to an amount of cash I did have. I said that wasn’t the point. I need the cash for later. So I ended up leaving without buying anything.

I was pretty bummed out about that. I was really excited to have some new books and a Beatles CD I never had. Sigh, so goes the way of the local bookstore, like so many Dodo birds on the beach of extinction.


Today is the 20 year anniversary of the beating of Rodney King by the Los Angeles Police Department. That means the LA Riots 20th anniversary is next year. I wonder how that will be commemorated. I will say however, that blurry video tape of Rodney King and the Police changed almost the whole of American society. It changed the relationship between the people and the police and the people and their justice system. What a decade the 1990’s were.


So Happy It’s Thursday.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Escape from the Gulag

After six long years languishing in Deerfield I’m finally on my way back to the glittering beauty that is the City of Chicago. I recently received a promotion within my company and I’ll be transferring to our Downtown offices.  It’s hard to describe the joy I feel at my long absence from the city I love. I still live in the city proper but I had to commute out to the suburbs every dang day and it was a mind numbing experience. I was bound to a train schedule for five of those years until I finally had enough of it and started driving. Commuting on the train was only a 25 minute ride but you were beholden to the trains schedule and often times, their delays and accidents. The car ride could vary from 15 minutes to two hours.

I also forgot about the 13 months of unemployment and the year I spent at a Spring and Stamping Company in the neighborhood. So really it’s been eight years since I’ve worked downtown and I can’t wait to get back.

I love working downtown. You can’t help but feel like a part of the action; that every major development in the city could occur right outside the window. All the rally’s and events and shows and sunny days spent using the lunch hour to stroll about the town. I can’t wait for it. Oh, and all the pretty downtown girls.

It’s a funny thing to persevere for so long in this suburban gulag and feel like your life is just a waste and every dream and desire is slowly turning into ash. But with this great opportunity to return to the bustling city I feel reinvigorated. I feel like the sun will shine and everything just might work out okay.

I’m sure in three months I’ll be writing about how terrible the job is and how much I hate everyone riding the train and wondering why everything smell like urine. But for now, I’m pleased as punch. I can’t wait for the first after work drink with all my old friends who are still working downtown, maybe catch a show or a great meal. Suburban Deerfield just hasn’t been the same since they closed the Bennigan’s across the street three years ago.

The other plus is that I’ll be making slightly more money in this promotion and that’ll help out quite a bit. I’m barely scraping by as it is and any monetary increase is easily welcome.  So I’ll have to tough it out here in the Deerfield for another 30 days or so and then I’m off to the big city to re-conquer my lost empire.

All Hail the Return!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

My, what a large planet you have

Last night I spent the majority of my evening watching the National Geographic Channel, or NatGeo as it’s called.  It’s always good to watch some of that stuff every once in a while and be reminded of how really huge Earth is.

Earth, while getting smaller in a communications and technology sense, is still really humongous. It’s a big place with an extensive collection of people, cultures and life. I was watching one show in particular, Explorer: The Lost Mummies of New Guinea. It followed a really lovely woman, who quickly won my heart, Ulla Lohmann, and her journey to Papua New Guinea to find these lost mummies. This woman was incredible. She’s a photographer and adventurer and brave. Really brave. It was something to watch her interact with the natives and really get them to open up to her about their culture.

In a broader sense however, while enamored by Ms. Lohmann, I was still amazed at this culture living barely a generation removed from wild savages in the jungles.  The tribe is called the Anga people and they are tropical dwellers who somehow developed a process for mummification in the dampness of the jungle. Mummification usually has to take place in very dry climates, like Egypt, but this culture figured out a way in their jungle environment to preserve their ancestors through mummification. It was amazing and I was just blown away that this culture even existed on this planet. Most cultures abandoned mummification long ago, likely due to the spread of Christianity in the world and burying the dead became a more common practice.

I had never heard of this tribe and my life would have likely gone on interrupted without hearing of them. But my mind was certainly affected; I was reminded of this precious oral and tribal history some cultures on Earth still have and this sense of being human. Even though I am culturally on a different planet than the Anga; I could clearly see their humanity and was easily touched by their desire to hold onto their cultural past and traditions. Their raw, untempered emotion was amazing to see.

When the tribal elder, Gemtasu, saw Ms. Lohmann after not seeing her for a number of years he openly wept with joy to see her again. He wept. He stood for the entire village to see and cried. Ms. Lohmann wiped the tears from his cheeks and I could feel his raw happiness. I was impressed with this small tribal people and felt a sense of loss for our own culture. I don’t think I’ve ever wept with joy, for any reason. I’m far to Victorian in my sensibilities to weep. Perhaps if I have a child I’ll be reduced to tears of joy but so far in my life I’ve not experienced that simple happiness. I felt the Anga people were somehow, luckier than me in my modern world.  I’m sure the idea of pain in the neck caused by stress is not one of their overwhelming problems.

I tried to imagine myself as some sort of worldly explorer and I just couldn’t do it. I won’t even go near a restaurant that has a funny smell. I couldn’t imagine myself squatting in the bush somewhere trying to experience a culture first hand. I’ve been made quite soft by this luxurious lifestyle. I’m what you would call institutionalized by my culture and the idea of even running barefoot anywhere scares the crap out of me. I might cut my foot, catch a disease and die and then giant jungle bugs would eat me. But I’m still filled with wonder and an eagerness to see this giant planet. I guess that’s why I’m happy I have cable. Take that Network sitcoms!

I suppose one day my adventurous side will come out and I’ll find myself scouring the Egyptian deserts searching for the Ark of the Covenant, but until then, I’ll be amazed at this planet from afar and keep my sense of wonder up my sleeve, right near where I should keep my heart.