Sunday, November 29, 2015

Black Friday Protest

           After I finished the bar I walked over to the "Black Friday" demonstration on North Michigan Avenue. I had no desire to join in the protest, but I was curious about how the cops were going to handle the demonstrators, especially with all the media present. It was an ugly day. Not only was it windy, there was just enough rain to make the forty-degrees feel like twenty. The reason I didn't want to participate was simple: Operation Push, which is a front group for Jesse Jackson, was sponsoring the event; also, the organizers were planning on preventing people from shopping. Blocking traffic is one thing, blocking people and workers trying to get into stores is entirely another matter. There are always going to be assholes at these events, but it seemed to me that there was an inordinate amount of assholes present Friday. 
         Most of the local black politicians that remained mute when the seventeen-year-old MacDonald kid was gunned down by the psycho cop thirteen months ago, were marching. It was vomit inducing to witness these political hacks pretending to care about the people who elected them. As I walked into the little park surrounding the old stone Water Tower, a white woman attempted to hand me some literature. When I refused  she scolded me in a brassy, shrill voice, "read it, you might learn something." She had a small, pointy head, enormous nose, goggle eyes, glasses, and tiny bluish-colored ears. 
           "And prey tell what might I learn , my dear woman?"
            "How the white power-structure is killing black people."
             "Okay, " I said taking one of the damp papers from her, "now perhaps you'd like to explain to me why so many black people are killing other black people?"
             Twisting her finger around a strand of tangled, wet hair, she appeared to lose patience with me, "there are reasons.."
             "Yes, I'm aware of the reasons, I just wondered if you were," I said handing her back her paper. "I have white awareness, not white guilt. I know what the long-lasting destructive consequences of black slavery on the United States are. The US economy was built on the cotton crop which was built on the backs of black slaves. That's where the capital to industrialize the North-East came from. I'm also aware that the systematic destruction of the black family, and their African culture during slavery put black people at a disadvantage that no other immigrant group coming to the US had to deal with. I get it."
            The religious hustlers from Operation Push were hooked up to a mic on the steps of the Water Tower. My hatred for Jesse Jackson grows by the hour. He's a photo-op activist of the worst type. If the demonstrators decided to show up everyday until Xmas, you would not see Jesse more than once or twice. It's been a tough time for Jesse ever since Barack became president. There was no longer a need for a Jesse Jackson after a black man from Chicago was elected to the presidency. That said, fortune almost smiled once more on Jesse: When his slightly retarded son, Jesse Junior, almost managed to buy Baracks vacated senate seat from the even more intellectually challenged Blago, who was governor at the time, Jesse Senior was faced with the opportunity of a lifetime. With Junior in the US Senate, the mayors office in Chicago would have been easy pickings for Juniors attractive, but enormously greedy wife, Sandy. Well, Junior got his dick caught in his zipper and as a result he had to do prison time, and now Sandy is going to have to do her own prison time soon. I'm sure not a night goes by when Jesse Senior doesn't cry himself to sleep thinking about how close he almost came to running both Illinois and Chicago.
              I was delighted to be present when a group of rowdy young black men appeared on the scene with bullhorns and disrupted the Operation Push Ego-Fest. A sharp-shouldered young black man with leonine mane of kinky black hair shouted down Jesse. When somebody from Operation Push said they were going to pray the rowdy young activists said they weren't there to pray, but to protest -- a loud cheer went up from the crowd. This was not only fun, but payback for the all the bullshit the hacks from Operation Push had inflicted on their people over the years. Operation Push is currently paying a nice chunk of money each month for Jesse Seniors "love child." Senior conceived the love child while he was counseling Bill Clinton about getting caught with his pants down with Monica Lewinski. Hypocrite is too gentle  a word to use when discussing Jesse Senior. I really wish some intrepid journalist would do a follow-up piece about Jesse's love child. The last I heard the kid was in California. I wonder how much time Jesse spends with his love child?
           I've noticed the manner in which Jesse is presently  articulating his words has become increasingly bizarre. I can't tell whether its some sort of an affectation, or if there's something wrong with his tongue. He's always had a peculiar vocal delivery, but lately it seems like he's speaking from inside a sealed coffin. 
           I remember one time pumping gas at a gas station in Hyde Park when Jesse's wife got out of her car and started pumping gas at the pump next to me. I told Tobin that it was Jesse's wife. "No wonder Jesse's a philanderer, that bitch is butt ugly. She's got a face like a shark." She must have had money. There's no other explanation for why Jesse would have married someone with such a grotesque appearance.
            As if to underscore his unpredictable, impulsive behavior, one of the young rowdies pulled the wire out of Jesse's microphone. After his mic was cut off Jesse's lips parted in a quick, tightly drawn smile. I've seen that particular smile before -- it occurs when Jesse is attempting to restrain a brutal impulse to inflict harm on an annoying interloper. I guess it's a self-imposed discipline carryovered from his Martin Luther King days.
           The well dressed black woman standing next to me had high cheekbones. Shaking her head in disgust at the antics of the rowdy youth with the megaphone, she said to no one in particular, "damn ghetto negroes."
         An older black man holding an umbrella to protect his brilliantined black hair said to another black man with a snap brimmed hat, "you see the look on Jesse's face." Both men then laughed.
           When I reached the corner of Oak and Michigan three scrawny white kids were mouthing off to a woman cop. Without a couple of hundred black guys to back them up, these kids would never have had the guts to belittle this particular woman police officer. With her jaw thrust out, and her shoulders squared she stared directly into their faces. In anything close to a fair fight I'd have bet a lot of money on the woman cop. Disgusted with their insufferable rudeness I tapped one kid on the shoulder and said, "how would you like to live in a city with no cops, asshole." I stood in front of him with folded arms and waited for him to say something. Another of the kids, with bushy, wind-blown hair, said, "I'd rather have no cops than live in a police state."
          "You don't live in a police state, moron. There are good cops, average cops, and bad cops. It all comes down to politics, we have shitty politicians, thanks to the idiots who elect them over and over, and the politicians appoint connected people to run the police force, and they put their hack friends and relatives in power, and as a result you have a seriously fucked-up police department. Even as fucked up as it is right now, I'd vote tomorrow to  have two-thousand more cops on the street…"
           The third kid said in a whiny tone, "two-thousand more killer cops! Yeah, that would be good." That said, he turned and walked away with his friends. He had a disjointed, wobbly-headed walk.
            The lady cop couldn't suppress her smile. 
            I didn't feel like walking back home so I hopped the Clark Street bus. 

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Fancypants Fired From The Old Town Ale House

            Fancypants had another altercation with Tobin's Belgian Attack Dog this morning and Tobin demanded I fire him. I have defended him through thick and thin for the last five-years, but at a certain point I had to ask myself was it worth another epic battle to save him from the inevitable. Tobin and I rarely converse anymore. There was no conversation this morning, she was speaking from an absolute position, and what followed was not a discussion, but a series of fixed recitals.  
           Danny has his flaws (who doesn't) but he is loyal, reliable and good-hearted. Yes, we had our share of quarrels over the years, but we had far more laughs. There was a two-year period when neither one of us missed so much as a day. Cleaning toilets in a dive bar is not a glamours occupation, but we tried to figure out ways to make it fun. Street Jimmy's antics, although highly irritating, were often a source of amusement.
            After he finished his cleaning I told him to sit down. When I broke the unpleasant news his only response was a shake of the head. While he gently tugged the stud in his left earlobe I told him that maybe it was time to find a new job. "Seven days a week, fifty-two weeks a year is a grind. I'll try to help you find a five-day a week gig. Let's face it, we no longer have a cheerful workplace, and Danny you know you're going to have to get control of your drinking. You've had the shakes for over two-weeks…"
            With a pained expression on his face he said, "I hope this doesn't destroy our friendship."
            "Of course not. You're always welcome here, and we can play golf, and do all the stuff we used to do. It's not going to be the same around here without  you, that I can guarantee."
           After I gave him his Christmas bonus we hugged it out. He's going to come back - probably tomorrow - and pick up his stuff and I'll drive him home.  
           Yes, Danny exercised poor judgement, but he's not the only one I know exercising poor judgement.

Friday, November 27, 2015

The Ghost Of Ruben Four Toes

             It was a quiet Thanksgiving at the Old Town Ale House this year. We used to have a hardcore group of regulars that either had no place to go, or who did not want to spend time with their families on Thanksgiving. Not so this year.  Most noticeable was the absence of Ruben. Tobin had the Circus Dog with her instead of the Belgian Attack Dog. When I asked her why, she was non-comital. Her refusal to communicate with me on anything more than a bare need to know level is increasingly disturbing. Just before I was ready to take my first nap Tobin dropped the circus dog off at the condo. It's a fascinating animal. Although tiny, it can jump extremely high. It also can do tricks, and actually obeys most verbal commands. When I woke up from my nap I was immediately aware that the circus dog had embedded herself in a pillow several inches from my face.
          Since Gracie was a small child and my mother was alive, we would spend Thanksgiving at my mothers house in Benton Harbor Michigan. She lived with her two bachelor brothers in a rustic old farmhouse. My brother and his wife lived in a Frank Lloyd Wright house on the nearby St. Joe River, and my Uncle Bill and Aunt Snooky lived next door to my brother. In those days Tobin was teaching and had holiday vacations. She seemed to enjoy these holiday visits. For the last five-years she has succumbed to black moods during the holiday seasons. These black moods, however, do not prevent her from putting out dazzling spreads. Yesterdays was one of her best. Everything was delicious, and I especially liked the spicy corn. 
           When my maternal grandmother, Clara, who was an outstanding cook in her own right,  entered her nineties she could no longer cook for  large family get-togethers. She hated anyone in her kitchen, but seemed to make an exception for Tobin. Tobin, who'd worked at some top New York and Chicago restaurants, assumed the bulk of the cooking chores during the last couple of years of my grandmothers life, and I remember well my elderly grandmother watching in awe as Tobin chopped vegetables and prepared the meals with professional dexterity. 
          Lee was kind enough to bartend yesterday. Anya, who is very much into her family, was in Hyde Park. Tobin called me and asked me to walk the Circus Dog to the bar. Although I haven't walked a dog since Tobin's terrier, Patches, died ten-years ago, I knew enough to grab a plastic bag before I set forth. I should have brought three. It's hard to imagine such a small dog producing such a large quantity of feces. I don't like walking dogs. They pull and jerk and want to stop constantly and sniff.  When I arrived at the bar at two (which is when the food was going to be ready) the only people in the bar were Kim - who was there to watch her beloved Detroit Lions play the Eagles - Buzz Kill, D-Train and Lee. A short time later Coach arrived. An intense young couple nobody knew eventually wandered in the door and sat down in the middle of the bar. For several hours that was it. This has become a pattern of late. Lots of food, and no one to eat it during the afternoon. By early evening  people start coming in the bar and attack the food in earnest. I assume for most of these people it's their second of third meal of the day.
            After I had turkey, mashed potatoes, corn, a green bean casserole and brownies I decided to take a walk. Although it was drizzling slightly it was almost sixty degrees. The only places on Wells Street open were Fire Place, and Bistro Margot. MacDonald's was even closed. Butch McGuire's was packed on Division Street, and several of the joints in the Viagra Triangle were also hopping. There were very few people on the street. After my walk I went home. The Bears were playing at seven-thirty and I needed another  nap. 


           Saloons play a vital role during the holidays. When I lived in California I loved spending the day in a saloon filled with strangers on Thanksgiving and Christmas. Saloons also serve a vital function for people who were trapped at family gatherings for much of the day. It is always entertaining watching these wretched souls march into the bar, taking a solitary seat and staring at the wall with tormented eyes as they belt down a series of badly needed shots. 
         I walked back to the bar a little after seven. I particularly enjoy watching football when the weather is inclement. It was with gloating delight that I pointed at the TV screen and said to Buzz Kill, who was by now on his tenth or fifteenth rum and coke, "can you imagine paying a couple of hundred bucks for a ticket and having to sit in pouring rain in forty-degree weather."
          The Bears, Packers rivalry is the oldest in pro football. Green Bay is known for three things: The Packers, toilet paper manufacturing, and lousy weather. The Packers franchise, unlike the Bears,  is not encumbered with a senile old hag owner, and as a result their organization is infinitely superior to the hapless Bears organization. The Bears haven't had a great  QB since Sid Luckman hung up his jockstrap in the late 40's. The Packers are on their third hall of fame QB in my lifetime. Of course we're jealous of Green Bay. It's a credit to the NFL money-boys that they are smart enough to have revenue sharing thereby allowing a small city like Green Bay to compete on an equal footing with much larger cities and TV markets. The greedy, flabby-faced swine that run Major League baseball are constantly squeezing their smaller market teams. 
          The Packers are not good this year. They have a  marvelous QB in Aaron Rogers, but lousy offensive and defensive lines, and crappy receivers. What made the Bear victory all the sweeter was the fact that Bret Farve's number was being retired in a rain soaked halftime ceremony. Farve was not even close to being a really great QB, but he was without a doubt the toughest QB ever to play in the NFL. He seemed to take great delight in flinging himself recklessly in the path of danger. I don't think he ever missed a game due to injury.
          During the second-half the Cougar and her son Riley came in and joined us as we watched the game. The Cougar was wearing a slinky black dress and a lovely silver necklace. She looked extremely hot. Riley dotes on her.  A short time later Ida tapped me on the shoulder. She was in town visiting her family. Just a couple of weeks ago her mother, Pat, and her brother Charles and his family visited her in New Orleans. I've known Ida since she was a toddler. She has gone through many stages, none more interesting, however, than her present lesbian stage. She has adopted a very butch, in your face hairdo. She said it has been highly effective in scoring for hot chicks. She particularly enamored with a waitress who moved to New Orleans from Philadelphia. She showed me a picture of her inamorata. She was definitely hot. Ida has always been into calculated irreverence. Slowly, regretfully I conceded that I now lived in a world where Ida was going to not only get more pussy than me, but prettier pussy. 
         Ida is an avid reader and so when she critiqued my wonderful book, Last Night At The Old Town Ale House, I listened intently. She didn't like certain parts. She said they weren't funny. 
          "Ida, the parts in question weren't meant to be funny."
           Ida said Charles confessed to her that he really fucked up the formatting of my book.
          No sooner had Ida said goodbye than Ranalli came in. Trying to have conversations while watching a football game is not easy. Fortunately Ranalli positioned himself between Buzz Kill and me so I could watch the game while he talked. He said he was on his sixth or seventh Scotch. Ranalli, who's no slouch when it comes to cooking, raved about the meal he'd just come from. He said Lindy, his girlfriend, had recently undergone some kind of treatment to prevent skin cancer and was not feeling well. While Ranalli was describing the amazing meal a limey bartender, who's dating Lindy's daughter,  prepared, the Bears held off a last ditch Green Bay rally and won the game.  
             I was exhausted and said I had to go home.


             This morning everyone showed up on time. The bar was remarkably tidy. Tobin busied herself with cleaning the assorted crock pots and organizing the food that remained. After she fixed Street Jimmy a heaping dish of left-overs he emptied half a bottle of hot sauce on it. Tobin said she'd never seen anyone put hot sauce on mashed potatoes before. 
            Once again she had the circus dog with her. When Butcovich came in he pressed her about the absence of the Belgian Attack Dog. It seems that Tobin now has the Circus Dog and her best friend in the whole world has the Belgian Attack Dog. It's not entirely clear. Butcovich has been diagnosed with prostate cancer. He knows an excellent urologist and has wisely chosen radiation rather than surgery. I wish I would have. 

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Thanksgiving 2015

             Yesterday afternoon I walked down to the Billy Goat. I was dressed perfectly for a walk in forty-degree weather. I'm sad to say the rumor of Jeff's retirement is true, he's leaving the Goat on Xmas Eve. (Of course I'll be there. When my old drinking friend Mike Touhy was alive I used to start off every Xmas Eve with her at the Billy Goat. Eventually we'd head to O'Rourke's and then finish our night at the Ale House. I really miss Mike.) I sat down at what was formerly known as the Wise Guys corner with a few of the still remaining old-timers. Several of them were despondent at the thought of Jeff leaving. Jeff's son John sat in the corner with us briefly. He lives in Rogers Park. Jeff has another son who lives in Texas. Jeff is a very youthful sixty-five. I can understand why he's tired of his commute. He lives in Downers Grove (Uppers Grove) where I grew up. I think if Sam, the owner of the Billy Goat, was a little more with it, he'd make a deal to keep Jeff. There were several cutie pies in the bar. Someone observed that girls with small tits are better in the sack than girls with big tits. His reasoning was as follows: girls think guys like big tits, therefore, to compensate for this deficiency, they make more of an effort to please guys. I've been fortunate enough to bang girls with big tits and small tits, and I honestly can't say I detected any type of pattern that would confirm this theory. All the girls that were nice enough to have sex with me were unique and special. Some more special than others, but it had nothing to do with breast size. 
             Another observation that caught my attention was when someone suggested that you could tell how tight a woman's vagina was by the size of her mouth. A gentleman who'd just joined us observed, "women with big mouths tend to have large vagina's." 
             I confessed that I never noticed a correlation between vaginas and mouths. I was not the least bored with our conversation. When you have middle-aged, and post middle-aged men discussing anatomical absolutes vis a vis the female anatomy, there is definitely a lack of poetry. Nodding with the air of an expert I confessed to being an ass-man. "That is not to say that I don't appreciate the full spectrum of female pulchritude."
          Before I left I had a double cheeseburger. 
          I decided to walk down Michigan Avenue on my way back to the Ale House. They were predicting demonstrations thanks to the release of the video of the cop killing the seventeen-year-old black kid. According to the papers the kids childhood was one catastrophe after another. A horrible mother, abandoned by his father, time in and out of foster homes and then living with various relatives; it's a wonder he was still going to school when he was murdered.
            I didn't see that many cops on the street which surprised me. A number of threats had been made to close down Michigan Avenue. Later, I learned that some demonstrators were already blocking State Street. Spike Lee, who's in town promoting his movie Chi-Raq, asked rhetorically when blacks were going to start addressing black on black killings. That is an excellent question. The reviews of Spikes movie about Chicago continue to be negative.
           As I was waiting for the light at Clark and Division,  I noticed Rick Kogan standing next to me. Rick wrote the piece about me in the Tribune. He said the article would be printed in Thursdays paper. Once again I thanked him for the plug. He said it was not an easy story to write. I told him that I would have been okay with more negative stuff about me, because, let's face it, I have a lot of negative character issues.
          The Ale House wasn't very crowded when I walked in.  Although Thanksgiving eve is supposed to be a huge day for bars, it has never been much more than the equivalent of a  mediocre Saturday for us. We do get our share of college kids coming home from school, but that's about it. After enjoying a couple of beers I went home for a nap. After my nap I took a hot shower and went back to the bar. Pub Crawl Liz was sitting by the door. She pointed at the window table and said, "look who's here."
           It was the Irish Milk Maid. What a pleasant surprise. She introduced me to her boyfriend. They were going with another couple to see a comedy show at the new improv comedy club  on Clybourn. She assured me she'd be at Dave and Rita's Scotland reunion party in a couple of weeks. Liz wants to invite Hawkeye's cousin, the colonel. I think that would be a great idea. She lives in Texas but Liz thinks she might be induced to fly in for the reunion party. I'm sure Hawkeye would love to see her. Liz has volunteered to help me with my computer problems. She has an idea for a web site. This is indeed great news.
          Street Jimmy came in the bar while I was talking to Liz. He had a paper plate filled with turkey and stuffing. He said the lady he calls mom, who works at the UPS store next to Stop and Rob, gave him the food. He asked Kim to heat it up. "Mom always takes good care of me." I urged him not to make a mess. 
           When I got home I read Boswell's Life of Johnson for an hour or so. Boswell was a strange fellow. Prone to melancholy, although a brilliant scholar he never got his degree from Oxford. He had bad eyes and was not the most prepossessing of men. He married a widow who had a child. Not only was the woman he married repellently ugly, she was not the least bit charming. The story line of the biography can be tedious at times, but what keeps me going is Boswell's unique prose style. 


           Fancypants beat me to the bar this morning. Street Jimmy was outside sweeping (he's not supposed to be in the bar when I'm not present.) Fancypants was going to have Thanksgiving dinner with a friend and his friends father. Although unseasonably mild, it's going to be a rainy Thanksgiving. 
           Lois just called. She just finished reading the article about me in the Tribune. She is still displeased with the way I portrayed her in my marvelous book, Last Night At The Old Town Ale House.  I told her an artist needed to brave, and you have to break a few eggs to make an omelet.
           I always enjoy Thanksgiving at the Ale House.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Killer Cop Tape

           The Tribune story about my book Last Night At The Old Town Ale House is posted below. Unfortunately you have to go through an annoying rigamarole to log in to it. It's a very nice piece. Rick Kogan, the author of the article, is an excellent writer. His father, Herm, wrote some wonderful books on the history of Chicago. I read most of them when I was a student at Cal for a course I was taking on Urban History. Mierka still has a few of my books which she's going to bring to the bar today. Unfortunately you won't be able to buy one on Amazon for a couple of weeks.


         I was sorry to read on Facebook yesterday that Jeff from the Billy Goat is retiring at the end of the year. This is indeed sad news. He's the only reason us old-timers go there. I can't believe Sam doesn't make him an offer he can't refuse. It's a nice day so I think I'll wander down to the Billy Goat and find out if the rumor is true.


         The tape was finally released last night of the cop shooting the kid on the South Side. Its cold-blooded and sickening. Yes, the kid was an asshole. He vandalized some cars and flattened two police car tires, and unbeknownst to the cops at the time, he was high on PCP. However, the kid was a threat to no one at the time he was shot. He was walking away from the cops when one crazy cop shot him sixteen times. It turns out that some other cops went to a nearby MacDonald's and removed some video tape of the kid. Nobody seems to know why the cops did that, or what happened to the tape. After the cop pumped the kid sixteen times  - he was sprawled on the ground for most of the shots -  the cop actually started to reload his weapon. The other cops look stunned.
           To me the bigger story is why it took Superintendent  McCarthy a year to remove the killer cop from duty, or an even bigger question -- why Anita Alvarez, the DA, waited to press charges until the day before a judge ruled the tapes had to be released to the public? I don't think the mayor can afford McCarthy after this. And there is no way Alvarez should be reelected. It took her a year to charge the killer cop murder one. Had there been no dash cam video there would be no charges. The killer cop has eighteen previous complaints of excessive force. The city had to pay the dead kids family five-million. It's just a few cops that cost the taxpayers millions and millions of dollars each year for misconduct. Most of these out of control cops stay on the job. Superintendent McCarthy promoted to Chief of Detectives one of the dicks that was involved in the coverup of former Mayor Daley's psycho nephew, when he killed a kid. 
           Mayor Emanuel is going to have to start throwing people under the bus quickly if he's going to weather this storm. During the last election most of the black politicians were loyal to him. I'm not so sure they're going to be allowed to Uncle Tom it next time. Their constituents seem pretty pissed off, and well they should be. For a smart guy, Mayor Emanuel makes a lot of really stupid mistakes. He's politically tone deaf.
         There are a few of the usual suspects trying to defend the cop, although their hearts are clearly not into it. As I said earlier, yes, the kid was an asshole, but if you can kill a kid for being an asshole, there wouldn't be anymore kids. Elvis, who was bar tending yesterday, made a brilliant suggestion: "Maybe if the money for police misconduct lawsuits had to be taken out of the police pension fund, the police union would be less tolerant of bad cops."


        Last night the Cougars son, Riley, and her ex-husband John came in the Ale House. Riley is going to Michigan State and was home for Thanksgiving. The Cougar joined them a short time later. They are like all the other families I know, very unusual. The ex-husband is in sales. He seems like an affable, friendly fellow. Riley is a tall, thin lad of 21 or 22. He is one of those boys who seems all legs. He has a fair complexion, and his eyes have a hungry, almost desperate look. The Cougar seems quite proud of her son. Although she tolerates her ex, it is plain that there is no love lost between the two of them. The Cougar is a complicated woman. She has a forced sweetness which she uses to conceal the heart of a serial killer. You might like or dislike her (according to Hawkeye most women don't like her) but you can't ignore her. Whenever I chat with her she projects the appearance of a general formulating a strategy on the eve of a great battle.
           According to Riley his father is the liberal in the family. The Cougar, who is a knuckle-dragging right-winger,  made it clear that she thinks Trump is the man best suited to lead the country. John, the ex, the man who Riley claims is the liberal in the family, said he wished he could vote for Romney. When I asked Riley who he was going to vote for he said he couldn't even consider voting for Hillary. "Okay, so who will you vote for?" It may have been the instinct of self-preservation that kept him silent, or it may have been his mothers cautioning him not to engage me  in a political argument, but Riley, whatever his reason, remained mute. I always find it sad when a young person makes no effort to become informed and knowledgeable about politics. Yes, I understand the racist old white people who vote against their own self-interests, but not young college kids. Shame on Riley.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Chi-Raq, Attack Dogs, Broken Feets, And A Sulky Fancypants

               Perhaps it's the nasty weather that's making everyone grumpy and out of sorts. Yesterday morning Fancypants showed up slightly impaired. As long as he was functional I decided to get the bar done and address his behavior issues the following morning. Apparently he goes to bed around eight and then wakes up in the middle of the night and watches TV or listens to the radio. Since I've cracked down on his drinking he rarely comes to the bar half-in-the-bag anymore -- He must've indulged in some wine the previous night so he could fall back asleep -- Everything was going along okay until he started trying to mop around Tobin's Belgian attack dog. The dog has an unusually stern expression at all times. I've noticed a lot of these dogs are being used in Belgium by the police right now during the terrorist crack-down. Most of the dogs on TV have muzzles. I would describe these dogs as German Shepherds on steroids. Fargo, Tobin's dog, seemed to be doing okay in the behavior department until a month ago. It had been going to puppy boot camp and according to the drill sergeant, was an outstanding recruit. Alas, Tobin said Fargo is now going though her rebellious teen stage. So far I get along with her, but not Fancypants. It's been confirmed that Fargo recently ate Tobins best friend in the whole worlds very expensive hearing aids. And followed that up be devouring the Hyde Park TV channel changer. 
           Fancypants is a dedicated dog lover, however, he seems to get bitten at least once a year. Perhaps Fargo is threatened by the mop; whatever the reason, she does not like him coming near her. I told him to keep away from Fargo three times. When he's slightly buzzed he acts stupid. Apparently, after I left he pissed off Fargo and aroused Tobin's ire. Tobin said she had to scream at him.  This is so unnecessary -- when he called me this morning and told me he was sick and was not reporting for work I told him to get control of his drinking or else. I don't think he's missed a day of work in over six-months.
           Lucky for me Street Jimmy showed up early. The previous night he was a complete mess. When its cold he rides the El and often misses work, so I thought I'd have to clean the bar myself. Kim said somebody had given Jimmy a bottle of wine yesterday. When he sidled up to me last night I said, "how come you didn't show up for work this morning?"
            "I broked my feets an' I gots to go to the hospital." He said this with a dramatic grimace.
          "Really, you broke both your feet?"
           "Not both feets, jus' the one I hurt when I kicked the guy."
            "That's your big toe. What puzzles me is this: you busted your toe over a week ago, you've been walking around fine, and suddenly you need to go to the hospital."
              "I needs to soak it or somethin' ."
               This morning he seemed completely recovered from his broken feets. No limping and he appeared to be reasonably alert. The bar wasn't especially dirty and the two of us did what I think was an acceptable job of cleaning. When Tobin asked him what he did with the new bag of sweat socks someone had given him he said, "I gave 'em to Kim yesterday to put away for me. " (Rumor had it that Jimmy sold his new socks.)
            I confirmed Jimmy's story. I'd told Kim that if the socks were gone Jimmy would never get another pair of my socks. (Tobin gives Jimmy my socks when he asks her for fresh socks.) 
          "I needs dry socks in the winter," Jimmy said sitting down to the two ham and cheese sandwiches I heated up for him. Jimmy made a strange gurgling sound when he drank his lemonade. When he asked for two more sandwiches I told him to ask Tobin. While Tobin went to the back cooler to get Jimmy two more sandwiches I said, "does it ever occur to you to say please."
            "Not to me, dumb fuck, Tobin's getting you the sandwiches."
            After a great deal of thought I've concluded Jimmy is not what you would call a rapid thinker.


              When I got home this morning I tried to fix my latest Amazon book problem. I've been trying to figure out how to send them twenty-five bucks, but so far have had no luck. Fortunately a still chagrined Tobin stopped by and solved my problem in less than five-minutes. Unfortunately, not only did she forget her phone at the condo when she left, but when I helped her carry some stuff to her car she discovered that someone had ripped off her cooler with the Ale House's Thanksgiving turkey in it. This did nothing to enhance her already dour mood. I'm sure she'll have another turkey within the hour.

           (Speaking of $25 bucks, I want to let the Frogman of Schiller Woods to know I haven't forgotten him, and will soon get around to sending him his money.)


          It now seems the review of my book is coming out tomorrow in the Chicago Tribune. Todays Tribune Features Section was filled with stuff about Spike Lee's new movie, Chi-Raq. The title caused a lot of childish outrage from a couple of irate black alderman and the mayor. The term Chi-Raq is rapper code for Chicago. Their point is Chicago is just as violent as Iraq. Spike Lee has made some good movies. He's also made some bad ones. If the trailer for this movie is any indication, this is an atrocious movie. It wasn't enough just to show how violent some of the black sections of Chicago have become, but Spike needed to add music and use the plot of the Aristophanes comedy, Lysistrata. After I saw the inane trailer for the movie I told the guys from the hardware store that it would have been more effective simply showing a nine-year-old kid getting executed in an alley at the beginning of the movie.
         I saw a performance of Lysistrata in London years ago and it was over the top funny. The plot consists of ancient Greek women getting tired of their men being constantly at war and decide to join together and withhold sex from the manly warriors until they stopped fighting. Applying this plot to gang wars on the South Side of Chicago is beyond farcical. There's an activist white priest in Chicago named Father Pflegaer. He's kind of a white Jesse Jackson, He's never met a camera he didn't want to pose for. John Cusac plays Pflegaer in the movie. Maybe I'll take Street Jimmy to see it, he says he wants to go.


          Charles explained to me that I misrepresented the "Needy Bruce " designation on a recent email he was attached to. "Tobi called you Needy Bruce, not me, and when I sent the document that's what it said."
            So there you have it, ladies and gentlemen.