Tuesday, September 26, 2017

How The Gays and Harry Caray Saved Wrigley Field and the Cubs

Re-post from nine years ago. Since I wrote this the Cubs have done much better and the neighborhood has changed even more. In some ways for the worse. The new owners of the Cubs are now Disney-fying the area immediately around Wrigley Field. I'm not sure I like it. I kind of miss the old rough edges.

Notice the rail road crossing. Dad and I walked along those tracks from my apartment on Lakewood to Wrigley Field in June, 1984 to see a game. It was so hot and the Cubs were losing, so we walked back along the tracks to my apartment and watched the rest of the game in air conditioned comfort. Also, the beers were much cheaper at my place.
Thursday, October 2, 2008
How The Gays and Harry Caray Saved Wrigley Field and the Cubs 
If you were born after 1984, you would probably think that Wrigley Field has always been filled with deliriously happy fans, slugging down beer and having a great time. It was not always so. There was a time when people didn't sit on roof tops across the street, and there weren't virtual street parties spilling out of taverns all around Wrigley Field. Back then you could park within a stones throw of the stadium, walk up to the box office, and buy a ticket for that days game. Back then the Cubs were lucky to draw five thousand people on a week day, and not many more on a weekend. In the 1970's The neighborhood around Wrigley Field was in decline, and there was much talk of moving the Cubs to a new stadium.

One great thing about being gay and childless, is you can be an urban pioneer. We don't give a shit about good schools and playgrounds. A little crime doesn't bother us, as long as we can move into a neglected architectural gem that we bought for a song. So it was with the north Lakeview neighborhood, (the real name of Wrigleyville). Amid Puerto Rican gang wars, and drug pushers, the gays started moving in. Clubs and boutiques sprang up, and soon the poor people and gang bangers were squeezed out. Lakeview became safe enough for straight folk and their families to stroll down Clark Street without fear of being mugged.

In 1981 the Cubs hired Harry Caray as their game announcer. Up until that point, Jack Brickhouse was the play by play guy. Brickhouse was, to be kind, just a little less dry than a slice of melba toast. Harry Caray on the other hand, was an entertainer. All juiced up on Budweiser, he would extol the beauty of Wrigley Field and go on and on about the fun of a game at the old ball park. With each inning, Harry would get just a little more buzzed on beer, and with each error or strike out, he would berate the Cubs players for being so crappy. That's why the fans loved him, he didn't try to paint lipstick on a pig.

So the Cubs lost last night. The fans still had a good time, drinking and partying in the safe neighborhood of Wrigleyville. For that you can thank the gays, they made it safe. The fans saw the game in a great old ball park that many had written off as an anachronism. Harry Caray saw it as a party place and was its booster, even if he was usually too drunk to realize it. So enjoy the playoffs Chicago, and remember, all those bars on Halsted are gay.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Oatmeal Cookies

When I was a kid and autumn would arrive, it meant that Mom would start baking. Lots of apple pies, apple sauce, apple everything. We had seven apple trees in the back yard. She also made cookies. My favorite being oatmeal cookies. Big, chewy oatmeal cookies with raisins. So on Friday afternoon, when Mark informed me that he was going to make a batch of oatmeal cookies, I was pretty happy. Although.....
"Really, you're going to bake today?"
"Sure, why not?"
"It's ninety five degrees out. The air conditioners are barely keeping up."
We were experiencing record setting high temperatures in Chicago, possibly because of that climate change hoax Trump keeps talking about. Never the less, Mark got out all the necessary things needed to bake cookies. It's amazing, who knew you needed that much crap to bake oatmeal cookies? A few hours later Mark called me in to clean up the mess. It was a major undertaking, but the reward was worth it. There, sitting on the cooling racks, were about three dozen oatmeal cookies.
"I added dried cherries to the recipe in addition to the raisins."
"Daffs goob" I replied as I jammed one in my mouth, "I neesum milk."
After washing the first one down with half a glass of milk, I continued on eating at least four more. I really do like oatmeal cookies. Unfortunately I had forgotten something. Gas. Oatmeal cookies chock full of raisins and the additional dried cherries, give me gas. Not the occasional burp or little poot out the rear, but non-stop, uncontrollable farting. The dogs cowered under the dining room table in fear of being blamed for the noxious fumes. Mark cried out in disgust, but there was nothing I could do. Finally, by Sunday morning, the fruit fueled gas attack subsided. But, by Sunday afternoon I was once again stuffing my face with cookies. I think I now understand what people mean by addiction.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Won't You Be My Neighbor?

Mark thinks that I'm too nosy. Just because I know a lot of things that go on up and down our block, he calls me Mrs. Kravitz. It is true that I know that the Vietnamese family that bought the house from the fireman at the end of the block, is buying the house next door from Pedro, who is from Peru and wants to move to Florida, but can't because his family is now scared since all the hurricanes hit, so he'll probably end up moving to Skokie instead. But I'm not nosy. All that was freely told to me by all involved. I only prodded a little bit. Okay, so I just might be a bit of a busy body. I like my neighborhood and I like my neighbors. I don't know if they like me. They might think I'm a bit odd. For instance, I planted flowers on my neighbor's front porch so that it wouldn't look so forlorn next to mine. It turned out that they liked the flowers. I sure do, it keeps the place from looking like a slumlord owns it. I also have been known to walk up and down the block with a big, orange Home Depot bucket, picking up trash. I cannot stand trash on the street. Then there's the neighbor on the other side of me. For the first month of summer last year, I watched as his grass grew longer and longer. I would mow my lawn and from the street it looked stupid, so I mowed his lawn. I've been mowing it ever since. Most people think I mow it because the guy is old and works like twelve hours a day, but that's not it. I'm older than him and I don't give a shit how many hours he works. I just could not stand seeing all the weeds and long grass anymore. Maybe next year I'll stick some flowers in front of his house too.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017


The bearded man seemed nice, even though he gave off the vibe of a serial killer.
"Hop up here on this slab and put your foot in that little saddle. Here's a pillow for your head."
I was getting a MRI on my sore ankle. I took the poor excuse for a pillow, doubled it over and shoved it under my head. At home pillows are big fluffy things, not all flat and hard like this one.
"You'll have to hold your foot completely still. You can move any other part of your body, but do not move your foot. Here, take these ear plugs. You'll need them."
I opened the cellophane packet containing the ear plugs and shoved them in my ears.
"Okay, here we go."
It sounded a bit like a jet liner getting ready to take off, then it started banging. 'Bang, bang, bang.... ' I looked up at the little control panel above my head and saw a clock counting down. It showed under two minutes. Hey, not bad. I can take two minutes of this. Sure enough, when the digital clock reached zero the banging stopped. Then a whirring sound, a very, very loud whirring sound started. The clock came back on, this time it showed four minutes. 'Bang, bang, bang, whirrrrr..... BANG!', then repeat as needed. When the countdown clock reached three minutes the ear plugs popped out of my ears. I shove them back in. They popped back out and onto the floor. Whatever, the clock was down to fifty seconds now and I knew I could take just a little more of this. Sure enough, it stopped again. Moments later the clock came back on. Five minutes and thirty seconds. As soon as the banging and whirring started, the clock started counting down again. By this time my back was killing me, my head felt like it was laying on a rock, and I had the irresistible urge to start moving my foot. Suddenly the machine stopped.
"Sir, you moved. I'm afraid we'll have to start that one over again."
Five minutes and thirty seconds showed back on the clock.
Aaaaarghhhh......Son of a bitch.