Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Thumpa, Thumpa

The music is pulsing, all the young folks are smiling and grooving, my head is throbbing. So what is an old fart like me doing in a loud night club? Well, I’m not in a night club. I’m in a goddamned restaurant, a very nice restaurant with very good food. Unfortunately I can’t enjoy my meal because they have the music turned up, and because of the lack of good acoustics, every sound, every musical beat, reverberates off the walls. After forty minutes of this manic meal I have finally excused myself, and retreated to the restroom. I figured that I could get some relief in the toilet, and by that I mean relief from the noise. My mistake, I belly up to the urinal, but there is no quiet in here. They have a speaker directly over the urinals pounding out the crazed music even louder than out in the dining room. Now it could be that I am turning into that grouchy old man who bitches about everything, but the fact that the people I went to dinner with were complaining about sore throats from shouting across the dinner table makes me think not….
Or both could be true.

Monday, July 30, 2012


There was a time when if you saw somebody walking towards you, and they were talking loudly to no one in particular, you would give them a wide berth. No need to get too near a crazy person. Then about fifteen years ago I started noticing more and more crazy people walking around town talking to themselves. I mentioned it to Mark at the time, and he informed me of ‘Bluetooth’.
“What the hell is that, some kind of pirate with bad teeth that drives you crazy?”
“No, it’s a device that lets you talk on your cell phone hands free.”
So over the years I have got quite used to seeing numbskulls walking around, shouting into their Bluetooth, and sharing their personal business with everybody. During our stay here in Chicago however, I found that there are still homeless people with mental problems walking around, talking to themselves. Either that or the more boorish of Chicagoans tend to wear dirty clothes and neglect their personal hygiene.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Photo Friday, Black Keys

Thanks mom,  for the use of your van.
It's 17 years old and has 49,000 miles on it.
It also has a strange odor in it.
But then again, so do I.
The PT Cruiser was in the shop... again.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Wednesday, July 25, 2012


When I was a kid my mom had a big pressure cooker. I remember that it had a little valve on top that constantly spit out steam. I was so fascinated by it that once I reached up and gave it a tug. Damn that steam burned. 

Right now I am using my little blog as sort of a relief valve. At the moment Mark and I are bitching and screaming at each other because I left our car at a Chrysler dealer near here to get the a/c fixed. Unfortunately I didn’t check with ‘Yelp’ for reviews of this place. It seems that it rates a one star out of five. From all the reviews I have read I’d say that I turned my car over to a den of incompetent thieves. Incompetent because after three days they still can’t fix my car, and thieves because it seems they over charge often. Mark doesn’t go anywhere without checking Yelp, whereas I plunge headlong into everything. We still don’t have our car back, but when it is time to pick it up I am turning everything over to Mark. It should be interesting. Remember, he grew up in the Bronx and New Jersey.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Bus Fumes

I love riding the bus. Can you smell the sarcasm in that sentence? Actually it isn’t so bad, at best it is entertaining. Yesterday morning while standing at a bus stop at Western and Peterson, the man standing behind me farted, a loud and generous fart. I know it was him because we were the only two people there. I turned around, and looked at him. He just continued staring down the street, looking for the bus. After we boarded the bus I noticed something. Up front are seats designated for cripples like me. I never use them, for that would be admitting my shortcomings. Instead, I continue towards the back of the bus and sit with the rest of the rabble. Not so for certain people, people who are not really handicapped. I’m talking about fat people whose only handicap is that they eat like they were born on an Iowa pig farm. This morning there were three humongous sows taking up six handicap seats. This would normally piss me off except that the farting man sat down right next to them. Unfortunately, they probably couldn’t even smell the aroma over their own.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Chicken Shack, Mail Sack

I find humankind to be divided between the stupid, and the intelligent with a number of humans to be floating somewhere in between, sort of like free electrons drawn to whatever looks shiny. I know that at times I am stuck between smart and stupid, but I like to think that most of the time I drift towards smart. It’s when I have to deal with the bunch mired firmly in the stupid camp that I am driven crazy. Saturday we ordered chicken from Harold’s Chicken Shack. Mark ordered on line, and put in the special request space the words, “Please include some ketchup.” Well, an hour later our chicken arrived. It was smothered with ketchup. Not only the chicken, but the fries and bread were also completely covered in ketchup. How goddamned stupid do you have to be to not figure out that Mark wanted ketchup on the side?

So that was Saturday’s stupid. On Sunday one of our tenants called and told me that nobody had received mail for over a week. Mr. ‘O’, our Korean mailman had struck again. Mark and I put our mail on hold before going to Chicago. We made a point of telling the people at the post office that Mr. ‘O’ does not understand English, and he needs to be told not to hold all the mail for the entire building. Either they didn’t tell him that, or he is so goddamned stupid…..  wait a minute, let me catch my breath here.

Okay now let me go on. I guess we need people like that to show us just how brilliant we are. I just hope we brilliant people are at least marginally in the majority.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

It's a Shit Heat

“Gasp, choke… air, give me some goddamned air.”
It’s hard to believe but that’s me and not Mark begging for some relief from this heat. I’ve lived twenty three summers in South Florida, and I’ve never felt this bad because of the heat. What the hell is it with Chicago heat? It’s not a dry heat, it’s not a wet heat. What it is, is a air polluted, throat inflaming, chunky kind of heat. Mark is not taking it well. He has respiratory problems and this shit is really aggravating it. I’ve suggested we throw in the towel, and just drive back to Florida, but Mark says no. He says he can’t do it. So I guess we are trapped here in Chicago until the heat breaks, and we can actually breathe air again instead of this hazy, brown, gunk.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012


Is it possible that the drug companies are employing ten year old children to design their packages? I know that when I was that age I could spot a fly landing on polka dot wall paper from five hundred feet away. Now I have trouble seeing a semi truck closing in from fifty feet away. Yesterday I went down to the Walgreens at the end of the street, and purchased a bottle of allergy medicine for Mark. When we got it home, after struggling with the ‘child proof’ and ‘tamper proof’ packaging, I handed Mark one of the pills.
“Are you sure this is the right dose?” he asked.
“I don’t know, let me read the label.”
I picked up the package, and all I could see were varying length, black lines. So I put on my reading glasses. Still, all I could make out were solid lines.
“I think that might be writing, but I can’t really make it out. Give me that magnifying glass.”
Still, I could read nothing. Old age really sucks. No matter how hard I squinted, I could not read that goddamned label. Either the drug companies need to print those things in bigger type, or I need access to an electron microscope.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Learned Things

This post is about poop, so if that bothers you stop reading it now.

 I learned two things on our drive to Chicago last week. First, that my dog has a really good memory. At our first hotel in Georgia, I took Chandler out for walkies, and after fifteen minutes of searching he found the exact spot that he had pooped on the year before, so he pooped right on that spot. Twenty four hours later, at our hotel in Nashville, after five minutes of walkies, I realized that he needed to find last year’s poop spot. Sure enough, after I walked him across the street to the rival hotel, Chandler pooped on their lawn.
Another thing that I learned on our drive to Chicago this year is that you should not take a laxative the night before you leave for a long drive. About two hours into our trip last Wednesday, I found myself sitting in a temporary roadside toilet facility. It seems that the Florida Turnpike Authority had decided to rebuild the bathrooms near Fort Pierce. So I sat there in the bathroom trailer, bouncing on the toilet as each semi truck roared by, relieving myself like a Kennedy Space Center booster rocket. It wasn't pretty.

Another thing I learned is not to believe (redacted) when he says he feels fine. I know, I said I learned two things, but this is something I already knew. It is Sunday and we are sitting in an emergency room in Chicago. Apparently (redacted) didn’t feel as good as he thought he did when we left on Wednesday.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

The Job Creator Joke

 Hi everybody! Welcome to one of my rare political posts. Mark had Fox News on this morning, and instead of throwing a hammer through the television I thought I'd let off steam this way. Enjoy.

David Koch is sitting in a large wing-back chair at a lavish private mountain lodge in Utah. He looks over to Mitt Romney who is sitting across from him, and asks "Do you know who we are?" He then gives his brother Charles a sly wink as Mitt says, "The Koch brothers?"
"No!" he says, followed by a little chuckle, "We're the job creators." David Koch holds two of his gnarly fingers up on each hand to put air quotes around 'job creators', and then all in attendance give a big laugh.

I was listening to some republicans this morning going on, and on, about the job creators and how we should not raise the taxes on those who make a lot of money. Their reasoning was that the taxes would take away from their ability to hire workers, to create jobs. They said that if we don't make the Bush tax cuts permanent, the uncertainty would keep small businesses from creating all those new jobs. That is bullshit. I owned a small, very small, business for three years. In that time I never once made a hiring decision based upon what I paid in taxes. It never even crossed my mind. I made each and every hiring decision based upon how much help I needed, how busy we were, upon how damn hard it was for me to do things without some help.

Let me make it a bit more simple for those who still don't get it. If a man and woman make fifty thousand dollars per year, have two children, and they get a three percent tax break or $1500 less that they have to pay in taxes, they will spend every penny of that money. If a rich man makes 100 million dollars per year, but only spends ten million per year to keep up his lifestyle, and he gets a three percent tax cut, giving him an extra three million dollars, he will still spend only ten million dollars that year. Not one job will be created by the rich man, but many will be created by the money the middle class family spends.

Now if you really want to help foster small businesses, and help start new ones, give us universal health care. The scariest thing about starting a small business, and leaving your cushy corporate job, is the fear of not having health insurance.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Now Where The Hell Did I Put That?

"Where are my keys?"
"Where are my glasses?"
"Where oh, where has my little dog gone?"
These are classic questions. I know where the little dog has gone, on the floor in Mark's bathroom. The rest of the questions? Well usually the answer is that the thing you are looking for is lost in Mark's vast expanse of clutter. It's not enough that I can't find anything in this house, now Mark has gone and bought a new table cloth that literally swallows things whole. I challenge you to find the keys, the glasses, and the pen in the photo above.

Monday, July 9, 2012

The Old Gray Squirrel

Chandler stops dead in his tracks, I keep walking and am jerked to an abrupt stop when I hit the end of the leash. It's another squirrel. I am sure they know that they are screwing with Chandler. They are just so sure that I can hold that leash. They skitter around on the ground, and up and down the trunks of trees, wiggling their bushy little tails. Well, they are right. Chandler will never catch them.

I actually live with a form of squirrel. He is a five foot, eleven inch, old gray squirrel. His name is Mark, and he squirrels away food, objects, magazines, just about anything you can imagine. It doesn't matter if he already has something, it is never enough. He is compelled to go out to the mall and buy more of what he already has. Last week I went through the entire kitchen, trying to compress it all into a more manageable place. I cleared the counters of all the crap Mark had stored there, and went through the cabinets tossing out cans of food that had expired half a decade ago. Despite tossing all that old canned food, it was remarkable how much was still there. No less than twenty five cans of tomato sauce, thirteen bottles of salad dressing, and fifteen bottles of barbeque sauce were in one of the cabinets. One good thing about going through all the cabinets, is that when I went shopping with Mark later in the day, I was able to stop him from buying at least half of the things he had on his list.
"But I need that for the Fourth of July cookout."
"Trust me, you have more than enough barbeque sauce at home."
"Okay, but what about that can of tomato sauce you put back on the shelf?"
"Same deal, you have plenty."
"Oh, I also need to get another bottle of vodka for the party."
"Maybe you should get two."

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Snap! Crackle! Kaboom!

Once again Independence Day is here, and in this neck of the woods that means crazy people with explosive devices. When I was a kid, one of my friends had only one hand because he thought it would be fun to hold on to a large commercial sky rocket, and light it with his other hand. I always thought he was kind of stupid for doing it, but I never actually told him so. Here in the South, having one extremity missing isn't considered a sign that you've done something stupid, just that you are now a likely candidate for a job at the carnival.

The Fourth of July used to be awful for my old dog Molly. She used to be terrified at all the explosions, and could hear a ladyfinger pop a mile away. She would spend almost an entire week hiding under my bed, quivering in fear. Not so, Mr. Chandler. He is not phased by anything, not fireworks, thunder, or large trucks. I can take him out and all hell can be breaking loose, all he cares about is taking a pee, and smelling what other dogs have left behind. Sasha is not so brave. The same little dog that wants to take on every large dog she sees, hates firecrackers, and thunder. It scares her to death. So from this morning, until probably Monday morning, Sasha will be peeing and pooping in Mark's shower. I just hope Mark looks down before he steps in there.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Black Friday

Friday morning, I was in the back yard fighting with the bougainvilleas, cutting them back before they totally enveloped the deck. It's a job that I don't like to do. Those bastards have inch and a half thorns that can stab right through the sole of your shoe. Anyway, I heard a loud roar over my head. I looked up into the blazing sky, and saw a helicopter hovering directly over me with a giant number ten on it's side. If you live in a city you know that when the television station helicopters are overhead, something is wrong. My first impulse when I see the helicopters, is to run inside because often it means a criminal is running through the neighborhood looking for someplace to hide. I didn't run inside, instead I walked through the house and out to the front. When I opened the front gate I was stunned to see three fire trucks, three ambulances, and police cars. Lots of police cars. How had I not heard any sirens? I walked out to the street where many of my neighbors were standing around, all looking in the same direction.
"What's going on?" I asked tall black Stan.
Before he could answer, some cops came strutting up the street like a gang of Mussolini impersonators.
"Get the hell out of here, get back NOW!" one of them bellowed.
Stan ignored them, and answered me.
"Guy shot himself. Quincy here was going to call the ambulance for him, and he just picked up a gun and shot himself."
I looked at Quincy.
"Why were you calling for an ambulance?"
"The guy had acid reflux that he never took care of. Wouldn't go see a doctor, had it about a year. It turned into something else and he quit eating. He was in bad shape, and every day I looked in on him he was weaker."
"Why didn't he go to a doctor?"
"He didn't have insurance, besides, he just didn't want to go to a doctor. When I stepped out of the house to call 911 he shot himself. Shot himself three times."

I didn't know the guy. I have lived on this block for eighteen years, and I never talked to him. Probably the only guy on the street that I never talked to. He was a bit odd, sure. I remember that he would sit in his brand new truck for hours out in front of his apartment, doing nothing. The truck is now an old truck with a faded paint job, and I hadn't seen him sitting in it lately. Even though I didn't really know him, it all kind of makes me sad. I don't understand suicide. I guess I've never been in a situation bad enough to contemplate it. I can't even imagine what it must be like to see death as a better alternative to living.

It's Monday morning. I'm going to go walk dogs now, and try to shake this sad feeling. The dogs are always happy to see me.