Wednesday, May 31, 2017

High on Sugar

There are a lot of people who do business in the middle of intersections here. There are the folks who look as if they are homeless. No way to tell if they are or not, but when I'm stopped at a light and I see them coming, I suddenly find the architecture opposite them very interesting. There used to be newspaper vendors who stood in the middle of traffic. I don't know if there still are since I don't drive to work in anymore. And of course there are the charities that target a specific weekend to interfere with traffic. You'll see them at every intersection with their colorful vests, and even if you've given at the last intersection, you feel guilty not giving again. Actually, I don't, but I'm sure some people do. I don't hand out money to anybody while I'm driving. It's like feeding a stray cat, you're only encouraging them.

At the intersection of Peterson Avenue and Western Avenue, there is a man who sells cotton candy. He walks up and down between the cars, with a tower of cotton candy. He has been there every single day that I can remember since we moved to Chicago. What I find very odd is that he never seems to sell that cotton candy. There is never an empty slot where a cotton candy cone once was because he sold it. All the little slots that hold the big billowy pillows of spun sugar are full, always full. Yet he must have a good business there in the middle of the street. He's always there. Why else would he do it? What kind of profit is there in cotton candy, especially cotton candy that isn't being sold? Unless, he isn't in the cotton candy business. Just a thought, but he could be selling something else besides that cotton candy. Hmmm.... maybe I should make a purchase. Maybe those cones that are topped with cotton candy are just giant spliffs.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017


"Bwaaaaaaaahhh... my phone, bwaaaaaah."
It was coming from the other room. Mark was having another meltdown. His beloved iPhone wasn't working. Unlike me, Mark had spent the big bucks last year so that he could have the coveted iPhone6, just like all the other cult members. I spent seventy six dollars on my phone and it does everything that Mark's iPhone does for him. We are a couple of old farts who talk on the phone, text with the phone, and take an occasional photo with the phone. That's all we need. So anyway, Mark's phone isn't working and I suggest we take it to one of those famous Apple Stores with the genius bar. Right off the bat I'm not liking the Apple Store. It's in one of my least favorite shopping malls (Which they all are, since I hate all shopping malls.), and I can't find a parking space near the Apple Store. I drop Mark off as close as I can and I park the car. After walking about two miles from the parking lot, I see Mark standing outside the Apple Store.
"They told me to check back in with them in fifty five minutes. They're very busy."
"Okay, maybe there's a place we can eat.... "
"Oh look. There's a Williams-Sonoma!"
So we don't go and find something to eat. Instead I am teased by all the food displays at Williams-Sonoma. After about twenty minutes Mark decides to go back to the Apple Store and give them my phone number so that they can text me when it's his turn.

"Let me see, what was that name again?" The green shirted 'genius' asks.
"Mark, Mark.... "
"Oh yes, here you are. I would say come back at about one fifty five."
"Okay, but can I give you my friend's phone number?"
"Oh no, I can't edit the entry once it's entered." Said the 'genius'.
So Mark and I wandered off again.
"How about that food? I'm hungry.."
"Oh look. There's a Pottery Barn."
Again, I don't get to eat. We stroll around the Pottery Barn until nearly one fifty five, and I tell Mark that we should go back to the Apple Store.

 "Let me see, what was that name again?" The green shirted 'genius' asks.
"Mark, Mark.... "
"Oh yes, here you are. Just wait over there and we'll find you when it's your turn."
So Mark and I wait, and we wait, and we wait.
"Ask him again." I urge Mark. But the 'genius' with the iPad taking names is very busy putting other people on the list. Mark stands there waiting and waiting. Finally he gets the attention of the 'genius'. Mark is not happy and his voice is rising to that high pitched, bitchy sound that I hate. I start to walk out of the store because I know what is going to happen next. In fact I could write the script. Sure enough, as I head for the door I hear Mark loudly ask for the manager. I wait outside for about five minutes. When I walk back in, Mark is sitting on a stool. Quiet but ready to blow.
"All these people in here do different things. They all have the green shirts on, but they don't all do the same thing. And, that guy. The 'genius'. Every time I talked to him my name got reset to the end of the list. The manager tried to tell me that I had just checked in ten minutes ago. We got here over an hour ago, but that moron kept resetting the list."
Finally a nice young lady 'genius' in a green shirt, came over to help Mark. With a quick look at his iPhone, she pulled out a few small tools and started picking at the base of his phone.
"There's your problem" She said as she pulled a giant wad of lint out of the power jack."
"Wow, just like when the doctor pulled the ear wax out of your ear." I added.

So Mark has his phone back and it's working. But I have to ask, what is the big deal about iPhones? You spend six hundred dollars just to look cool? Like I said, I spent seventy six dollars on my phone. When it started acting up I tossed it and bought another one, and it only took me about fifteen minutes to do the whole deal. I did upgrade though. I spent the big bucks and got the ninety nine dollar phone. It texts, takes photos, and I can actually call people and talk to them with it.

Thursday, May 25, 2017


I got an email from a friend in Fort Lauderdale, we'll call him...  umm.. Dennis. Now Dennis is a sweet guy, and I'd do a favor for him and his partner/husband/lover (Not sure what terminology they prefer.), no problem. The email read as follows.
"Hi, How are you? I hope all is well with you.
I need a favor form you, please email me  back as soon as possible.
dennis "

I, of course, sent him a snappy reply.
"The favor is to just email you back? Well, that was easy.

I should have known by the first message that Dennis' email had been hacked. Dennis is an educated man who would never ask for a favor form me. He also wouldn't have capitalized the word Regards, and not capitalized his own name. But I didn't even think twice about all that. A little while later I got a reply from Dennis.
"I am having such a frustrating ordeal right now.. I need to make an urgent deposit to a Doctor today, but I'm out of town until Friday. This deposit is for my Sister In-law who has an inflamed gall bladder. She's having a surgery today, because her condition now is very serious.
I need your assistance, please I need you to help me make this payment,  I’ll reimburse you once I get back on Friday, I promise!
Please let me know if I can count on you...
dennis "

First of all, Dennis has his significant other to make an urgent deposit. There is no way he would need me, a distant friend, to get involved in his sister-in-law's surgery. The only deposit I make with such urgency is usually right after my coffee in the morning. Secondly, a Gall Bladder operation is not "serious". My nephew just had one, it was out patient. They poked four holes in his side and pulled the thing right out. What happened is that my friend was hacked. Somebody got his email password and is going through all his contacts trying to scam money. It didn't work. But here's the thing, the scammer has my email address and because I responded, he knows that it is good. I fear I might be hacked next. So listen up my friends. I do not have a sister-in-law who needs surgery. Nor do I have a brother-in-law in need of surgery. If any of them do need surgery, that's what all that wedding bullshit was about. I don't ask people for money. Not my family, not my friends, not strangers on the street. I don't get into monetary trouble when I travel, I don't need money wired anywhere, and I don't know of any doctor who asks for deposits before surgery. I don't care if it sounds like I'm desperate for you to send money somewhere to save me. Don't do it. Just pretend you don't know me and tell the email scammer to fuck off. If in the off chance that the email is really, truly from me, and I am really asking you for money, tell me to fuck off anyway. It will amuse me.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017


The Flowers

I'm not the most energetic person, so when I get a bug up my ass to do some work around the house, that is newsworthy. First off, I mowed the lawn and planted some flowers among the bulbs in the garden. I was just trying to fill in the gaps and provide some color between the end of the tulips and the start of the lilies and gladiolas. After digging, planting, digging some more, planting some more, and getting myself quite dirty, I was satisfied. Somebody else was not, and that somebody berated me for not grouping the flowers to his liking. (I can't use a certain person's name again because I've been forbidden to write about that person. And no, it's not Mark 😉) 

The Window
My next project was to fix the broken window on my tenant's porch. It blew out last January during a storm. I quickly tacked a piece of cardboard over the broken window after the storm and it had been that way ever since. Now, with the window fixed, our home doesn't look like a crack den and my tenant can enjoy the lovely view of our alley.

The Bench

Next up, that somebody's park bench. Somebody in our household, can't say who, bought a park bench that the somebody wanted out on the front porch. I have to admit, it is nice. Trouble is, I had to assemble it, and I am not a patient man when it comes to assembling crap from China. Now that somebody can sit out on the porch and watch all the goings on here at our end of our street. In other words, the somebody can now be the busybody.

The Hammock
Finally, there is the hammock. A hammock was purchased for the backyard. I put that thing together and I like it, especially after a day of yard work. I can now lay out there and watch all the planes fly over on the way to O'Hare Airport. And when I'm not using it, somebody can lay in it and bitch about how I'm planting the flowers all wrong.

Monday, May 22, 2017


You get a bunch of old gay men together and inevitably the talk will turn to how great the old bars were forty years ago. Fact is, they were. The bars were more fun, I was more fun, and life was good. The thing is, I could sit at a bar and drink for hours without ever having to get up and go to the bathroom. It's a fact that I'd fall off the bar stool drunk before I would have to go relieve myself.

Yesterday Mark and I went over to an old friends house for a cookout. I had four beers during the course of the evening. Now if I had drank four beers forty years ago, I would have been drunk. I wouldn't have had to go pee, but I'd be drunk. For some reason that has flipped. Now beer goes through me without even stopping to say hello to my kidneys. For every beer I had at my friend Dave's house, I had to pee twice. Yet despite all that beer, I didn't even get a buzz. Nothing, it was like I had been drinking soda. On the way home it was more of the same. We live only a short drive away, but by the time we pulled into the garage I had to pee. Which I did. I then fed the dogs and walked them. Once around the block with Scout and I had to pee again. Once more with Chandler and I had to run back so I could pee. Somehow I was peeing more out than what had gone in. As bedtime approached I thought about my mom and what she used to tell me hours before I went to bed, "No more water for Alan." She was right of course, she was the one who had to wash those sheets. And may I add one more thing to what my mom used to say, "No more beer for Alan tonight."