Thursday, May 26, 2016

The Genius' Back Hurts

             The Genius has a noon dental appointment. My dentist doesn't fuck around so I will be there four hours while he tears my tooth apart and then puts in a new crown. I hate going to the dentist, however, I hate pain more. Therefore, I will make my blog short and hopefully sweet.

         Yesterday I tossed my golf clubs in my car and went to Jackson Park. Not only was it a beautiful day, but there was nobody in front of or in back of me. After three holes my back started stiffening up. I stretched before each shot. It was frustrating -- I can still hit the ball (although I'm now significantly shorter than I used to be) but the back thing won't go away. The candy-assed rich-fucks that run the USGA changed the rules on putting this year. No anchoring the putter against your body. A stupid rule; so I had to change my technique. I still use the long putter but I hold it under my chin. It's actually working better than when I anchored it. If I couldn't use the long putter I'd have to quit because the bending over  would be too hard on my back. If the USGA wanted to really improve golf they'd go after slow play. 
           I think part of my back problem has to do with my myasthenia gravis. It didn't feel like this last year. True, in the winter my sedentary habits are not helping me stay in shape; ideally I'd spend my winters in Florida. 

          After I finished playing golf (I love playing alone when I'm trying to get my game in shape) I got caught in a monsoon on Lakeshore Drive. When you are driving during rush hour in a downpour there are polite forms of etiquette that need to be observed or civilization will quickly relapse into a state of bedlam. Pedestrians were darting in and out of traffic, and trucks and busses were recklessly cutting in and out of their respective lanes. 
        After a brief nap and some frozen curry I took a hot shower and hobbled down to the Ale House. No sooner did I enter the bar than it started raining again. The Cougar, who'd been there earlier returned with a bag of taco's. She seemed extremely pleased with herself. Dressed in a lovely form fitting dress that showed her tits to great advantage, she sat down next to me. She was displeased with her tacos. "I should have gotten the fish ones."
         Ukraine Mike sat down on the other side of her. After he said something that displeased her she leaned over and whispered, "I find him very annoying."
          Cougar said her friend Faith is arriving in town and she's looking forward to seeing her. While we were talking I looked out the window and saw Craig the Drunk walking down the street with his dog. Actually staggering down the street would be more accurate. He was barefoot and shirtless; I couldn't tell if he was in soiled underwear or dirty gym shorts. Street Jimmy thought this was very funny.
            "Craig the Drunk really be fucked up."
            The Cougar was impressed with one of the comments someone made on my blog yesterday. I told her she has a big following on my blog, and that most of the comments are well thought out and insightful.
             She didn't leave until one. I slept well. I will continue to try to whip my aging body back into shape.  So now I'm off to the dentist. 

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

The Genius Strikes Out Once More

            The Cougar was gentle but firm; her heart still belongs to her boring ex-boyfriend. This was not a shock. When a lust object looks you directly in the eye and says, "did anyone ever tell you you look like Alfred Hitchcock," you know romance is out of the question. I've understood all along what an unsophisticated dunce I've become, but when it comes to pussy I'm as unrealistic as the next guy.  Having executed this delicate task with great skill, the Cougar offered this parting advice, "you really should try computer dating; it would be great material for your blog."
            It was almost exactly a year ago to the day that the Actress kissed the Genius goodbye. So I'm presently 0 for 2 in my Quixotic quest for one final romantic adventure. In baseball a hitter that bats 1 for 3 will make it into the Hall of Fame. If you hit for power, or are good defensively, 1 for 4, and a 250 batting average will earn you a lot of money in the big-leagues. 1 for 5 is below journeyman, and means you'll soon be back home in Bum Fuck Nebraska selling used cars. So I still have a chance to get into the Hall of Fame, but the clock is ticking. I certainly don't want to strike out my next time up with my bat on my shoulder. I will definitely swing for the fences if given the opportunity. 
            After the Cougar broke the news to me, she described her walk home with Street Jimmy the previous night. "He was really surly. He told me I talked too much. When I told him about the man following me home in his car he asked if he was black. When I said he was he became even more surly. I don't know what I did  that has him so pissed him off."
         "He probably wanted more money. Jimmy is a very mercenary street beggar."
           While we were talking about Jimmy the unmistakable sound of glass breaking could be heard. A number of us immediately went out the door to investigate. Inside the vestibule to the condos next door, an agitated young couple was staring back at us through shards of dangerous looking glass. When the Cougar asked the girl if she was all right she made no response. Nor did the guy. I looked for blood but didn't see any. When I told the guy I was calling the cops he indicated, most disrespectfully, that I should mind my own business. That said he unlocked the door to the stairway and disappeared up the stairs with the girl. A few minutes later the man who lives on the first floor came down. He said there'd been a lot of fighting coming from the third-floor apartment during the past weeks. "We've cleaned blood out of the hallways several times."
           It took at least twenty minutes for the cops to come. After they talked to the couple they left without saying anything to me. The Cougar was livid. "You know something happened. Why wouldn't the girl turn the guy in?"
         "Maybe she's the violent one."
           Street Jimmy was sleeping soundly on the raggedy couch next to the dumpster during all the commotion. At one point the Cougar tried to wake him. "When he opened his eyes and saw me he said, 'go away, you talk too much."
          The owner of the condo is presently living in Singapore. His nephew is renting the condo from him. When the nephew arrived he told the Cougar to mind her own business. The Cougar had no intention of minding her own business. When the kid and the girl came down the stairs with a broom and a dust pan, the kid and the girl told the Cougar to go back into the bar and have a drink. By now I was in the bar having a beer. When the Cougar told me what smart asses the kids were, I said, "Cougar, you should have told them what tough guys they were. Knocking around girls, and getting in your face. Punks are easy to ridicule…"
          "You have more experience with these types of situations."
           Another upstairs neighbor called a board up company. They showed up faster than the cops. It's going to cost those kids a lot of money by the time the glass is finally replaced.
          Earlier in the evening I was talking to Juke Box Joe and Officer Bill. One of our favorite characters was a little Italian guy named Lee the Plumber. Lee, who was a life-long three pack a day smoker, was also a serious alcoholic. He had a reasonably long drive home every night. Juke Box Joe expressed wonder how he never had an accident. "I followed him a  couple of times on the expressway and he weaved a lot, but always managed to stay in his lane. When someone told him he should join AA, he said in that scratchy voice of his (Joe imitated Lee's unmistakable voice) 'AA is for quitters." We all found this funny. A few minutes later Street Jimmy left the bar with his scooter. As he was scooting out the door I said, "see ya, wouldn't want to be ya." Jimmy then answered, "likewise." Officer Bill and Juke Box Joe were impressed by  his display of wit. So was I.

           *

           Jimmy was sitting on the old chair next to his couch when I arrived at the bar this morning. While I was counting the money McHugh called. I hadn't talked to him in over a month. He said he avoids driving anywhere farther than the nearby golf course he frequents. McHugh used to work in TV after he left the newspaper business. A mutual friend, Ron Majors, is retiring from his anchor man position at ABC tonight and McHugh was lavish in his praise for Ron.
          After I hung up the phone I heard shouting coming from outside the bar. It was Street Jimmy. Two white bums were ensconced on his couch. Jimmy is very territorial and made it clear he  wanted them to vamoose. 
         I had to raise my voice to get Jimmy's attention. The bums were classic skid-row alcoholic types. Probably in their late forties, they had that fresh scrubbed look they get after a shower and shave at one of the local missions. They didn't seem particularly threatening , but there were two of them and they showed no indication that they were about to leave the comfy couch. When I finally got Jimmy back in the bar he was still furious. "They take my shit…"
          "What shit, your bag and scooter are in here. Chill, they'll be gone in a little while. I don't need anymore cop incidents."
            Ten minutes later when Jimmy gathered up his belongings and exited the side-door I heard him talking to the white bums. He was stern, but less demanding. The two bums simply stared at him. Accustomed to socialize with a rather primitive spectrum of society, I'm sure their interaction with Jimmy was fairly routine.
            

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

The Genius Is Out Of Shape

            I was just awakened from my first nap of the day by a small group of old black lady Jehovah Witnesses. They didn't ring the condo bell once, but three times! To make matters worse I was in the middle of a highly erotic dream. I don't get these dreams much anymore, so I was understandably annoyed when I opened the front door and stared out at the over-dressed women at my condo gate. With an air of sweet insipidity one of the ladies started pitching me on the wonders of Jehovah. I cut her short.
          "Ladies, I am no fan of the baby Jesus or his non-virgin mother. He was a pretentious-goody-two-shoes, and a false prophet. If you read your scripture carefully, like I have, you will realize that John the Baptist was the true messiah, and it is highly likely that Jesus was jealous of his superior cousin and was complicit in John the Baptists getting his head cut off."
          Scratching the top of her head with much irritability the women said, "if you'd read our literature you might change your mind…"
         "Pure propaganda." Adding by way of illustration, "I have no problem with people believing whatever they want if they don't impose their primitive beliefs on others, however, your religion kills kids by not letting them have blood transfusions. Shame on you."
          Turning to her friends the woman remarked with some irritability, "I think we better go."

      *
           
            Yesterday was the kind of Spring day you dream about all winter. Forgoing my nap I wrote my blog and then headed for the Jackson Park Golf Course. I was surprised to find the first tee open. A man in a beard walked up to the tee just as I was getting ready to drive. I asked him if he'd care to join me. His name was Armand. It turns out he taught theology at Lewis College. He was a pleasant chap and a decent golfer. I got off to a very good start. I was three over par going into the fourteenth hole when my back stiffened up. After the fourteenth hole things got ugly. I am determined to walk when I play. The problem is that I've only played twice in the last two years and I'm terribly out of shape. By the time I drove back home I was so stiff I could barely get out of my car. After my nap I had some leftovers for dinner and a hot shower. I arrived at the Ale House a little after eight. 
          I was chatting with Lynn and Mitt while drinking a cold beer. Lynn said her brother is a good golfer. "He's a real asshole, and extremely irritating to play with." She then described just how irritating her older brother was. While Matt was bemoaning the horrific traffic jam he'd just endured while driving back to the city the Cougar walked in. There was a certain vulnerability in her demeanor I hadn't witnessed before. She said the blog I'd written earlier in the day was quite insightful. She then disclosed several deeply personal stories. Not trusting myself to speak, I merely nodded and remained silent. She wiped a number of tears from her eyes as we conversed in whispers. 
           After the Cougar finished the dirty martini that Mike made her, her voice exuded a lusty, sexually adventurous tone. Shortly before midnight she said she was going home. Instead of calling Uber she asked Street Jimmy if he'd walk her home for two bucks. When Jimmy eyed her suspiciously I said, "Jimmy, grab your scooter and scoot her home, and I don't want to hear of you trying to shake her down for more money."
          With feigned reluctance Jimmy grabbed his scooter and headed out the door with the Cougar.

          *

           I over slept this morning. I think if I played golf every day I'd definitely sleep better. When I arrived at the bar Buzz Kill was leaning against the bar smoking a cigarette. Street Jimmy was snoring peacefully on the old raggedy couch somebody dumped next to the dumpster. His scooter was strewn carelessly on the sidewalk.  I grabbed the scooter and made a lot of noise to see if Jimmy would perceive his scooter was being stolen. He did not. After I woke him from his slumber I said, "Jimmy, you won't have your scooter much longer if you don't protect it."
         "I'm just wakin' up," he said rubbing his eyes.
          After I opened the front gate and the three of us were inside the bar I said, "so Jimmy, did you get the Cougar home safely?"
         "She talk too much. She say some man follow her home one night. She talk so much no wonder somebody wanna chase her home."
            "Jimmy, that's not nice to say about the Cougar. She's not going to like it when I tell her what you said."
             "I don' care."
            "The Cougar has always been nice to you. Are you sure you didn't try and ask her for more money?"
             Jimmy was impelled by a number of considerations, not the least of which being my relationship with the her, to moderate his criticism of the Cougar. "She okay, she jus' talk too much."
             Jimmy needed a hole punched in his new belt. "You got anything I can make a hole with."
            I handed him a box cutter from behind the bar. When he started trying to cut the hole with his belt still on I said, "Jimmy, for fucks sake, you're going to cut your dick off, then you'll be Jimmy no dick. Take your belt off and give it to Buzz Kill."
           Jimmy said he talked to some bums that live under the underpass at Montrose Ave. "They gots tents an' they lives good."
          "I'd have to worry about people stealing my stuff."
          "Guy say they gots booby traps."
           The ants managed to get into the honey I use for my tea. Dozens of dead ants were now floating in my morning tea. "Jimmy, why would the ants commit suicide like that?"
           "Cause they don' know no better. You gonna drink your tea with all the dead ants in it?"
            "No, no I'm not. I don't like swallowing kamikaze ants, do you want my tea."
              "I ain't drinking no ants."
              
               The Cougar, Pub Crawl Liz and I were supposed to go The Girl and the Goat tonight. Liz knows one of the bartenders. Liz just informed me that her friend is off tonight so we're going next week. The owner of Girl and the Goat, Stephanie Izard, is going to have a baby any day now so she probably won't be there when we have dinner. Hopefully I'll get to meet her some other time.

           Anthony was in Vietnam filming Parts Unknown last week. He had dinner with Barack while he also was visiting Vietnam. That's going to be a very interesting conversation. 

Monday, May 23, 2016

The Cougar's Still Broken Heart

             Street Jimmy was standing in front of the Ale House Saturday night straddling his scooter. Lemar, who was working the door, was outside smoking a cigarette. When Jimmy described how he broke his foot Lemar asked him why he didn't apply the brake when he spotted the large crack in the sidewalk.
             "Wha' brake?"
             "The one on your scooter."
              Jimmy looked at the back of his scooter. It was a puzzled look. "Tha's a brake?"
              "Yes, " Lemar tittered.
               After pressing the newly discovered brake on his scooter several times  Jimmy said, "damn."
              I sympathize with Jimmy's inability to understand how simple mechanical objects work. 

         *

          I voted for Bernie Sanders in the primary. I agree on most of the issues he's promoting, however, it is becoming clearer by the day that the man can't win the Democratic nomination unless Hillary is indicted. It has also become clear that Bernie is a bore, a man of limited vision, and has fallen in love with the attention his simple-minded adulators continue to lavish upon him. This would not be dangerous if the political stakes in the US weren't currently so high. It sickens me when pollsters say there are significant numbers of Bernie-Brats that will vote for Trump if Bernie loses to Hillary. I think it is more likely that these low-information chumps will simply not vote. 
          I have never liked Hillary. I've heard intelligent people insist that she's likable in person. Its possible, I suppose, but highly unlikely given all the evidence to the contrary. The former Goldwater Girl is a unrepentant hawk. When she was Secretary of State she hired Holbrook to be her top advisor. He was smart, a cold-war-warrior and a pathological hawk. She has always surrounded herself with these types of unscrupulous people. Had she not voted for the Iraq war it is highly doubtful Barack would have taken her on in the 2008 Democratic primary. Her judgement has always been bad. The Iraqi war vote, and the stupid decision to use her own server for government business are just a couple of the most publicized of these moronic decisions. Her recent declaration that her husband would run the economy was a particularly imbecilic  thing to announce -- Bitch, you're going to be the president,  not Silly Willy.
        That said, she's all we have to fend of the wave of racist, know-nothing, anti-intellectual swine that make up todays Republican Party. I have no problem voting for Hillary simply to prevent another neo-Nazi from being appointed to the Supreme Court. But the bitch makes it hard. Whoever dressed her in that overly tight powder blue pants suit the other day must have been a secret Trump supporter. What worries me the most about Hillary, (other than her desire to go to war every five-minutes) is her track record of knowing how to lose. It took an expert on losing to screw-up the nomination in 08 to a black man with the middle name, Hussein. Although I would have loved Elizabeth Warren to have taken on Hillary, I understand why she didn't. So now we have to deal with the goofy-assed Bernie Brats. "I didn't get my way so I'm taking my ball and going home. Waa, waa."
           It would be fun to live in a country where people made an effort to be informed and voted their self interests and not their prejudices, but instead I live in a country where half the citizens are too lazy to vote, and where less than one-percent of the population  controls almost half the wealth. So we are presently engaged in trench warfare with a group of people who don't accept the science of climate change. This is no time to be pure. If you have to hold your nose to vote for Hillary, than hold it hard, but at least think about the future generations and vote for fuck-sake.

         *

         Yesterday was lovely. After my nap I took another long walk.  I ran into Ranalli again pushing his walker down Clark Street. He says his hips feel worse. Ranalli bought some paintings years ago from some political big-shots sister. He wanted me to come over to his apartment to have a look at them. "I've never really liked them. I'd be happy to get my money back…"
        "How much did you pay for them?"
        "I think for all of them I forked over about six or seven grand."
          As we took the elevator up to his high-rise apartment overlooking Lincoln Park I told him that the rule of thumb when buying art is to never purchase on speculation. "If you like the painting, fine, then you're getting some enjoyment out of them regardless of their value."
        Unfortunately the paintings were grotesque. I told him I'd check out the artist. I'll wait a few days and then tell him to donate them to charity. How he could have looked at these monstrosities for so many years I can 't fathom. He want's to put up more of his Cubs memorabilia on the walls. We talked for over an hour. His apartment is filled with pictures of old friends. Taking one of the framed photo's off a table he said wistfully, "everyone's dead but me, and my days are numbered."
         
        *

         I didn't get to the Ale House until after eight. Ukraine Mike was sitting at the bar. There was an empty stool next to him so I sat down. "You know Bruce, I think you misinterpreted me having dinner with the Cougar the other night, it was just a friendly get to gather…I can't believe she was seething when I was hitting on that nice young girl…"
        "Mike, a gentleman doesn't go out to dinner with a lady, and then walk in a bar and immediately start rubbing his hand on a young chicks thigh."
        We had a philosophical argument about the pros and cons of trying to score for a piece of ass after a date with another woman. While we were thus engaged the Cougar walked in. She insisted that they had not been on a date, and that she had no problem with Mike's hitting on the young chick. 
        "Cougar, you were on a date." We then looked up the word date in the dictionary.  Of course I was correct. "You see Cougar, going out to dinner together was a date." After Mike revealed the Cougar lied and he had paid for the meal I looked at the Cougar and said, "Cougar, what a silly girl you are. Why would you lie about going Dutch? Far be it from me to offer you any worldly advice (actually this had been my initial intention)  I will get straight to the point. You were very irritated by Ukraine Mikes behavior…"
         The cougar bared her fangs. "I hate it when people misrepresent the truth. I was not 'seething' like you wrote in your blog."
          "Really, how would you describe the way you were looking at him?"
          "Surprise, I know that girl and she's loopy and insipid, so I was surprised that he'd be all over her the way he was."
           Mike came to the young chicks defense, "she was very sweet. I can't imagine why you'd say she was loopy."
          "Cougar," I interjected, "she was quite cute. I certainly would have fucked her."
          The Cougar eyed me sternly, "you two have really bad taste."
          Alarmed by the violence of her emotions, and desirous of leading the conversation back to the point it had strayed, I said, "Cougar, your seething is now being directed at me. This is a classic case of transference. I am now the object of your censure. My crime is that I obviously hold myself up to a higher moral standard than the two of you."
           An animated conversation followed. The Cougar confessed to having allowed herself to stay in an abusive relationship for a number of years. She did not like it when I suggested she had a problem with self-esteem. With condescending politeness she thanked me for my brilliant insight into her character. "You're so superior with your high moral ethics…"
            "Thank you. Cougar, I've learned a lot about you tonight…"
            "What have you learned?"
             "You are human, and you have fallen victim to one of those peculiar contradictions of emotion which are  common to us all. Although your ex-boyfriend is a  boring creep, you still love him."
           With an air of weariness the Cougar sighed, "maybe it's true. I can't wait to see the poems in your blog tomorrow."
           "I think Sunday Morning by Wallace Stevens would be especially appropriate. Next week I might have to dust off Neutral Tones by Thomas Hardy." I proceeded to recite Neutral Tones. When I stumbled over a couple lines she took out her iPhone and read the poem along with me.
          "It's a beautiful poem," she said smiling. 
           "Make sure you read Sunday Morning."
          "I will."
           At this point I was tired and bid the Cougar and Mike goodnight. 
            

           
        

Saturday, May 21, 2016

The Female Mind?

             It's always sad when someone you know has a meltdown because their already deeply flawed sense of humor malfunctions. It's especially offensive when they blame it on someone else's deficient sense of humor. "Laugh, and the whole world laughs with you, cry, and you cry alone." Wise words, I wish I could remember who wrote them.

    *

        Yesterday I confused Tennyson and Milton. Shame on me. The quote should have been as follows:      
                   Haste thee nymph, and bring with thee,
                   Youthful jest, and jollity,
                   Quips and cranks, and wanton wiles,
                    Nods and becks and wreathed smiles.

           *

           Street Jimmy refuses to let his recently fractured foot from intruding on his present lifestyle. He loves his scooter, and where he goes, it goes. "Bruce, thanks again for gettin' me the scooter."
          "I didn't get it, the Bibliophile got it for you…"
          "Yeah, but you put it on your log tha' I needed it so I couldn' have gots it without you doin' tha'."
            Jimmy seldom expresses gratitude for anything, so there was comfort in this acknowledgement. Before I opened the gate this morning Jimmy showed me where Nicolle had smeared chalk on the front of the bar. "She say I should tell you she did it, don' be mad 'cause she give me five-dollar… she didn' mean no harm…"
         "I hope we can wipe it off with a wet rag. Nicolle gets nutty sometimes."
           "She okay."
           I told Jimmy I was tired. "I didn't get home until late again."
           Jimmy thinks my lady friend - aka the Cougar - is the reason I've been staying out lately.
            "She's certainly one of the reasons."
             I had decided to show up at the Ale House a little early last night so I could go down in the basement and get ready for my next group of bar portraits. When I walked into the bar I immediately noticed Rick Kogan and the lovely Stephanie sitting in the window. Of course I joined them. They had finally worked out a deal so Rick can do one of the voiceovers for Stephanie's upcoming audio tour of Old Town. They seemed to be in a celebratory mood. Rick was impressed about my possible TV deal with a cable company. "You'd be great. I can help you with guests."
          "We're just in the discussion phase. I should know more Monday or Tuesday."
           Rick is not only one of Chicago foremost journalists, he's had several popular radio shows. Stephanie has been in TV for a number of years, and knew the cable station that was interested in me. 
           Whenever I'm with Rick we invariably start reminiscing. Stephanie seemed to delight in hearing about some of our most eccentric mutual acquaintances. 
           "You guys should do a TV show together."
           Rick seemed highly amused by this suggestion. 
           After Rick left the Defense Attorney and the Inventor joined us. The bar was crowded and we had commandeered the big table. After I made some innocuous comment the Defense Attorney shrieked in her absolutely shrillest tone. "Bruce, when the Inventor dies, you know you guys are all going to want to shtup me."
           "I dunno, you're getting up there, kiddo. I think you better hope the Inventor doesn't croak."
           "Dispense with the jesting."
           "I reproach myself most bitterly."
            While I was talking to Stephanie Pretty Boy Jake came in. "Bruce, I had to call the Cougar because she wasn't answering my texts. I think she's mad at me for bringing my date in here last night."
           "Your date was a cutie pie, Pretty Boy."
          Pretty Boy nodded, "so when I talked to the Cougar she said she was going to dinner and possibly a play, but would be in later."
           "Well, thank you for the information, Jake. Hopefully I'll be gone by the time she gets here."
            Stephanie, after stretching her arms out and stifling a yawn, said she was tired and going home. Before she left she promised to not wait so long before her next Ale House visit.
           No sooner had Stephanie walked out the door than the Cougar and Ukraine Mike walked in together. The female mind continues to remain a hopeless mystery to the Genius. Perhaps the Cougar thought this was a clever way to seduce an older, sensitive fellow. 
           "Well, Cougar, what a surprise. Pretty Boy Jake said you wouldn't be in until much later."
           Ukraine Mike did his best to ignore me. There was a pretty young waitress from one of the joints down the street sitting on the corner bar stool next to the side window. She was wearing short-shorts and had several unusual tattoos on her legs. At first I thought the tattoos were stocking designs. The Cougar, who was standing next to me leaning against the railing, could not avert her eyes from Ukraine Mike as he began stroking the young girls hands.
         "So Cougar," I said observing her staring at her dates present object of desire, "do you ever think of possible consequences  before you go on a date?"
          "It wasn't a date, Mike just called me up and I said I was going to Topo for dinner and so he said he'd join me."
          "Sounds like a date to me." As Ukraine Mike continued to stroke not only the young girls hands, but her thighs, I said, "you know Cougar, I may be old fashioned, but if I've just had dinner with a lust object, I really wouldn't walk into a bar and start pawing a much younger chick. There has to be at least a few rules of decorum in a civilized society." 
           The Cougar was sitting next to me when the Bibliophile and her husband walked in. The Bibliophile was in a black mood. The Cougar tried to console her, "having kids is not fun, I've had two so I can only imagine what four must be like."
         For five-minutes the Bibliophile described her week from hell. She finally smiled when she said she'd witnessed Street Jimmy on her daughters scooter the previous day.
          "Bibliophile, it's Jimmy's most prized possession."
           As soon as the Bibliophile said goodnight, her husband, who was shit-faced, started horning in on Ukraine Mike and the young girl. This was in poor taste and so I tapped him on the shoulder and said, "Mike is trying to get laid, why fuck it up."
           The Cougar's husband lacks basic social skills, especially when he's wasted. He accused me of wanting Ukraine Mike to bang the young girl in order to piss of the Cougar. Not satisfied to screw-up Ukraine Mikes action, he immediately switched his attention over to another couple on the make.
          "You know, Cougar, I have nothing but sympathy for the Bibliophile. No wonder she's depressed."
          This seemed a conclusive argument to the Cougar. "Men are such pigs."
           When Ukraine Mike and the pretty young girl left the bar together both the Bibliophile's husband and the Cougar forced smiles.  It had been a long night and the Genius was tired.
           
         
           

Friday, May 20, 2016

Is It LA, Or Is It Los Angeles?

          It was quite a night at the Old Town Ale House. Earlier in the afternoon I took a long walk. Because the weatherman said it would be significantly cooler by the lake I decided to start out on Mohawk. The Inventor was sitting on his front steps when I walked by his house. While we were conversing a willowy young chick stepped out of the first floor door. The Inventors eyes lit up like a quarter slot machine. As the two of us watched her sashay down the street I said to the Inventor, "do you ever rent to not hot chicks?"
        Folding his hands behind his head he smiled, "you should see her roommate…"
        By the time I hit Oz Park I was almost sweating. I thought even if it was fifteen degrees cooler near the lake I'd still be comfortable so I  headed over to Clark Street. While I was walking down Clark Street I saw a frail old man hunched over a walker crossing Belden. It was Ranalli. 
         "Jerry, you seem to be moving okay."
           Ranalli looked up at me. His voice was slightly muffled. "I had a bad day yesterday, it was my hips. I try to swim every day but I can't kick my legs." He sat down on his walker. His litany of woes continued for several minutes. He'd been receiving money from the restaurants that had continued to use his name, "they say they're losing money… So now I'm going to take a big hit. You know I lost six-million when that real-estate deal blew up."
         "Yes, how could I forget."
           His girlfriend still stops by. He enjoys watching the Cubs. "I haven't had a drink since the fall. They say I can't have a drink for a year." There was a look of desperation in his eyes now. "It's been almost a year, maybe I'll stop by your joint and have a drink…"
          "Well, seven-months is almost a year. Sure, why not, neither of us is getting any younger."
           Ranalli looked me over for a moment; speaking more to himself than to me, he said, "you look okay. You're lucky you can still walk."
           This is not the deeply tanned Ranalli I used to see jogging shirtless through the park with a dumbbell in each hand. From where we were standing you could see the location where one of his former restaurants used to be. After I said goodbye to Ranalli I walked over to the park.
            In spite of the great weather the zoo was not too crowded. I bought an ice cream cone at Breuer's. I'm not supposed to eat ice cream anymore than Ranalli's supposed to drink. I'm not supposed to do a lot of things that I continue to do. While I was sitting on a bench next to the lagoon eating the vanilla ice-cream cone I noticed  a very old lady with a little dog walk by. She was a friend of Lois'. All of Lois' lady friends are flashy dressers.
          On my way home I stopped by the bar and talked to Anya. I told her I was meeting a TV guy from LA in the bar at nine. "They saw me on Anthony's show and want to talk to me about something…"
          Anya texted Rahul, her brother, who works in LA TV. Studying her phone, "he's heard of them, he says they are the real deal." 
          While I was talking to Anya Street Jimmy scooted in the door. Leaning his scooter against a chair he limped over to me.
          "Jimmy, you've missed two days of work…"
          "I busted my foot," he said handing me some hospital papers. The papers confirmed this. He had a fractured foot from his  recent scooter spill. "Well," I said handing him back his papers, " I can't imagine how putting all your weight on your now fractured foot as you scoot back and forth to the crack dealer could possibly do any further harm. By the way, doesn't it hurt?"
         Jimmy nodded. His face was curiously twisted, as by a spasm. "Yeah, it hurt bad."
           By the time I got home I was tired and hungry. Tobin made some delicious sandwiches and a potato dish. After I ate I took a nap. I got back to the Ale House around eight-thirty. The Cougar walked in shortly after I did. After she sat down she pointed at the window and smiled, "look, it's Pretty Boy Jake." Her smile immediately  faded, "oh, he's with some cute young thing."
          Jake seemed slightly embarrassed when he noticed the Cougar staring accusingly at his lovely young companion. "Hi Cougar," he said giving her a hug. He didn't introduce her to his date. Ten minutes later the Cougar nudged me. "Look, " she said pointing at Pretty Boy and the comely young maiden. They were smooching. "I think he's drunk."
        "Well, whatever he is, he certainly seems to have good taste in pussy."
         Cougar continued to stare at Pretty Boy Jake and the girl as if they were some extraordinary curiosity. At a few minutes after nine the Cougar pointed at the open front door of the bar and said, "I think the man you're supposed to meet is getting out of a cab."
         "His name is Stu."
          "He looks like a Stu."
          When Stu walked in he immediately recognized me. After I shook hands with him I introduced him to the Cougar. I then moved over a stool so he could sit down between us. 
           "Cougar said you looked like a Stu."
           Stu, who was a middle-aged man with a head of thick white hair smiled, "what's a Stu look like."
          Delighted with the impression she was making , the Cougar described her vision of someone named Stu in the most flattering terms. After Stu ordered a glass of wine he got down to business. He was representing the owner of a cable TV station. "It's not as big  as Bravo, or A and E, but they're doing a lot of interesting things. It's more artsy, and unique than some of the bigger stations." Stu seemed very interested in my relationship with Anthony Bourdain. When I mentioned Anthony was responsible for my book he asked if I had any copies. After I gave him one I told him to read the acknowledgments. 
            "I don't think I've ever seen those words together in a book." He then read to the Cougar, "and a giant fuck-you to the lawyers at Harper Collins." Stu went on to explain what the head of the station had in mind for me. "What are your thoughts about hosting a talk show from the Ale House. It would be once a week. You could tape them in advance…"
          "I'd need my go-to girl, Pub Crawl Liz. I'm disorganized, and rather lazy. Of course I think I'd be great."
          It was fascinating listening to Stu describe his career in TV. The guy was not only sharp, but likable, and he had a great sense of humor. While we were talking the Cougar brought a fellow wearing a baseball hat with LA emblazoned on it to meet us. He introduced himself as Alexis Rivera. The Cougar almost fell into a swoon as he described the difference between LA and Los Angeles. According to Alexis , LA was a pejorative term, and he lived in Los Angeles. Rich assholes lived in LA. He then complimented my art work. "You're the Genius, I'm the Loner Visionary." He went on to say he was in the record business; his French wife had recently been deported, and he had to commute to Baja to visit her. What impressed me the most was when he stated  Diego Rivera, the legendary Mexican artist, was his grandfather.
       "That would make Frita Kahlo your grandmother."
        "My step-grandmother."
        When he left the Cougar followed him to the middle of the bar.
         Stu was clearly impressed with the assortment of characters the Ale House was filled with. We discussed the type of guests I might have access to for a possible TV show. "Stu, if it's freaks, I know plenty, if it's celebrities and media types, most of the ones I know are retired or dead. I'm open to suggestions."
       Before he left Stu said he'd call me from LA either Monday or Tuesday. After Stu left the Cougar and the Loner Visionary returned. When the Loner Visionary describe the Cougar as the "Jacky O, of the Old Town Ale House," The Cougar's smile lit up the entire bar. The Cougar was totally enthralled with the Loner Visionary; so enthralled she invited him to stay at her condo when he said he had no place to spend the night.
          "I had my first kiss in Chicago, I was only here for twelve-hours, that was many years ago.   I haven't slept in three days, my plane leaves a six in the morning." He mentioned his wife frequently. He said he'd spent a lot of money on lawyers trying to get her back into the country. The guy was good, he had an amazing rap. I found his rap  mostly believable except for being Diego Rivera's grandson. A little after midnight the Cougar said she was tired. After I said goodbye to the Loner Visionary I headed for home, too. 
          
          

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Mystery Meeting Tonight

               

                       I shot an arrow into the air, 
                       It fell to earth, I know not where.

             The Cougar is amazing to behold. Last night when she walked into the Ale House she was wearing a tight, black knit dress most eighteen-year-olds couldn't have gotten into, and if they did the results would not have been pleasing to the eye. 
          "Cougar, where were you in that remarkable outfit?"
          "Work."
          "You wear outfits like that to work?"
          "Yes, do you like it?" She said this with her fingers interlocked and folded over her flat stomach, gently rocking back and forth while pushing her perky tits forward, and her marvelous ass backwards.
             "Yes, very much."
             Hawkeye, who was manning the door,  was eying her with his mouth open; an agonized expression swept over his liver-spotted face  --- he reminded me of an over-sexed bullfrog.
            The Cougar pushed her hair away from her temples and gave me a long inquisitive look before sitting down on the bar stool next to me. "Bruce, I like your blogs when you insert poetry. I'm a big fan of Kipling. I loved your description of me yesterday when you pictured me sitting on the veranda of an Indian plantation drinking tea in a flowing white gown…"
          "With a cute, shirtless native boy fanning you."
          "Exactly."
          "I picture myself as Tennyson's Sir Lancelot. I can only think of a few snatches of Tennyson: 
                         Haste thee nymph, and bring with thee, 
                         Youthful jest and jollity, 
                          And there he filled her with a daughter fair, 
                          So buxom blithe, and debonaire.
At least I think that's Tennyson. Or is it Milton? Yeah, it's Milton."
           The Cougar is not much of a drinker. I can't remember ever having a girlfriend that wasn't a bad drinker. Most were not alcoholics, but simply women who couldn't handle their booze. Tuesday night James A., the man who married my girlfriend of ten-years after I left California in a hurry in 1976, called me and asked if I was at the Ale House. He is a prominent criminologist and was in town to consult with some McArthur Foundation people about how to reduce the number of prison inmates serving time in Illinois. James is from Wheaton, which is in Dupage County, the same right-wing county I grew up in. I always thought it ironic that Indy, my beautiful Dutch-Indonesian girlfriend, went directly from a criminal to a criminologist.  Sadly, Indy committed suicide about twenty-years ago. She discovered James was messing around with a black dominatrix. When I asked James Tuesday night what became of the black dominatrix he said, "I married her ten-years ago. She's living in Malibu with me."
          This shocked me. Last night I told the Cougar about my tempestuous relationship with Indy, who by the way, was a bad drunk. The Cougar listened sympathetically. She then described her recent breakup with her boyfriend of thirteen-years. She said it was far from the first time her heart had been broken. Cougar also chastised me for giving Pub Crawl Liz credit for coming up with the name "Village Idiot" for Chuck M. 
           "Bruce, that was my idea."
          "Sorry, Cougar. I'll correct it tomorrow."

            *

            Street Jimmy has not been seen in the last 36 hours. The consensus seems to be that he wiped out on his scooter. 

            *

           The Genius has a mystery meeting tonight with some LA media big-shots. A full report tomorrow.