Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Kareem Abdul Jabbar

             I Just finished one of my best naps of the year. This surprised me because I went to bed relatively early last night. Actually, not that early -- I watched the Lew Alcindor-Kareem Abdul Jabbar documentary on HBO which didn't get over until one. The movie brought back a lot of memories. Jabbar was going to UCLA when I was at Cal and so I got to see him play each year when he came to Berkeley. I was present at the game when Cal's center, Bob Presley, poked then Lew Alcindor in the eye. UCLA was on a long winning streak at the time and their next game was against powerhouse Houston. Elvin Hayes was the star of Houston, and because Jabbar was playing with one eye, Houston beat them. Jabbar got his revenge in the NCAA tournament. The Jabbar UCLA basketball teams were the best I've ever seen.
          The movie was quite good. It was a much better game back then; now it's all shooting three pointers. I have to admit it's fun watching Stephen Curry's Golden State Warriors play. Whenever they're on TV I try and watch a couple of quarters. I had court side season tickets in 1975 when the Warriors, led by Rick Barry, won the NBA championship. I won a lot of money when they swept the Bullets in the finals. 
          Jabbar is an interesting guy. When he became a Muslim Hamas fucked him over nicely. He would have been better off letting the Black Muslims exploit him. All they wanted was Mohamed Ali's money and PR value. After divorcing his Muslim wife, Jabbar ended up with a Buddhist white wife with big knockers. As a result his kids come in all sizes and shapes. I was talking to Johnny Ale the other night about the tendency of really tall men to die earlier than average sized men. This is certainly true as far as NBA basketball players are concerned. Jabbar currently has leukemia and a bad heart. 
          My interest in both sports and sex has diminished over the years. I wonder if there's a correlation? I don't think this is a bad thing, at least as far as sports go. The jury is still out on sex.

        *

        Street Jimmy seemed a little more with-it this morning. He said a guy was puking blood on the El last night. "It fucked up, people gots real freaked."
         "Some kid puked in here last night. He was with a big party that some high-end joint tossed for its staff. The kid was wearing a shirt and tie and was trying to get to the door. Hawkeye and I cleaned it up."
          Jimmy doesn't understand why people keep tossing their gum on the floor.
           "Well," I said pausing to consider, "it's gross, but I think it's worse in the joints that cater to the kids. Let me give you the scraper."

Monday, February 8, 2016

A Lost Weekend

          Street Jimmy didn't show up for his sweeping duties on either Saturday or Sunday. This annoyed me because those are our two busiest days. Grasshopper and Johnny Ale said he came in the Ale House just before closing Friday night, and while eating a chicken wing at the end of the bar fell asleep and collapsed to the floor. It needs scarcely to be remarked that the amount of crack he is presently consuming is clearly having a negative effect on not only his physical well being, but his deteriorating social skills.

         *

         Pub Crawl Liz came over to the condo after she brought a small pub crawl into the Ale House Saturday afternoon. I needed her to help me with some computer issues. One of the issues was linking me up with my doctors new website. This is my doctors preferred method of communication. When I visited him last week I told him that my post-nasal drip was getting worse. He recommended I take a nasal spray called Fluticasone Propionate. (So far it's worked like magic.)  Thanks to Liz I'm all set and ready to go on my fourth book, Fraud and Deception. 

         *

          I watched the Republican debate Saturday night in its entirety. The beginning of the debate was hilarious. Someone not familiar with the Republican boobs running for the presidency might be shocked by the slap-stick nature of their campaigns. This was perfectly illustrated when the seven candidates were supposed to come onto the stage. After each candidate's name was called, he was supposed to walk down a narrow corridor and out onto the stage and take his place behind his respective podium. This might seem simple to most people, but not to Dr. Ben Carson, the token black candidate. After the first two candidates walked down the corridor and took their places Carson's name was called. Walking down the corridor that was shielded from the live audience's view, but not the TV audiences, he made it to the entrance before suddenly coming to a dead stop. Clasping his hands, elevating his eyebrows and smiling confidently he seemed oblivious of the hand waving at him to continue. 
           While Carson remained frozen at the entrance a giggling Senator Cruz walked around him. A moment later Donald Trump's name was called. He seemed as confused at Carson and stood next to the still smiling Carson. This made it difficult for Jeb Bush to get around them and onto the stage when his name was called. I wish at times like this I had someone to share moments like this with. And this was just the introductions.
          These are horrible men, and watching them interact with one another reminds me of a quote from Shakespeare's King Henry 5 : Hear him debate of commonwealth affairs, You would say it hath been in all his study. Turn him to any cause of policy, The Gordian  knot of it he will unloose, Familiar as his garter; that, when he speaks, The air, a charter'd libertine, is still…That's the humor of it. The lads didn't disappoint. Cruz got worked over about lying about Carson's leaving the campaign. He apologized to Carson, but in apologizing he lied and said he was only repeating what CNN had reported. Of course this was another falsehood. 
         The best was yet to come. Big-fat-tub-of-shit, Chris Christy disemboweled a very frightened little Marco Rubio. When Rubio panics he repeats the same memorized lines attacking president Obama. After doing this three times in a row Christy figuratively grabbed Rubio by his nuts, spun him around and showed the audience and TV viewers what an empty-suit pip squeak Rubio really is. It was great fun.
         Christy's intestinal by-pass surgery seems to be working. He's down from over four-hundred pounds to just  under three-hundred. If he ever becomes a serious candidate Christy's morbid obesity is sure to become an issue along with the impending trials regarding his complicity in the George Washington Bridge closure.
I'd love to debate Christy, in fact I'd love to debate any one of these maggots. The secret to debating a person who bases everything they say on ignorance and lies is coming up with the proper insults. I wouldn't hire speech writers, I'd borrow comedy writers. 
        Governor Kasich is the Uriah Heep candidate. He's every bit as round shouldered as Nixon. His face wears a perpetual self-satisfied smirk. Rubbing his hands and wrists as if he were washing them he tries to present himself as the only adult in the group. 
         Trump continues to do his Marlon Brando imitation. He manages this with reasonable skill. He mugs, mumbles and shrugs while occasionally raising his forefinger and pointing it at an offending opponent. He comforts himself by calling his fellow debaters a great many names. I especially enjoy watching him humiliate Jeb Bush. 
         Bush knows that he has embarked upon a lost cause but doesn't know how to get out of it without suffering still further humiliation. The stupid gene has infected the entire Bush family, and it's a shame they continue to reproduce.

        *

         After I watched the debate I walked down to the Ale House. D-Train shocked and disgusted me when he walked into the bar. He wanted me to allow him to drink during the Super Bowl. Once I realized he was serious I told him what a pathetic man he was. "You have extreme liver disease, you were on life support two months ago, and now you want to resume drinking!"
         "I don't drink as much as a lot of people."
          "Sure, there are bigger drunks than you, but name one person older than you that drinks a gallon of cheap wine a day? Just one. You can't, because they're all dead."
          Being a man of few words, D-Train smiled, turned abruptly, and left the bar. Of course we'll never serve him another drink, but every other bar on the street will. Obviously he did not bother to enter some kind of program. I guess deep down I'm not surprised, but it is really discouraging. 

          *

         The Super Bowl was painful to behold. I instructed Kim not to put any of the pre-game hype on. Because Tobin was vacationing we ordered pizza's. There were perhaps four of us watching the game intently, and two or three others casually. What made it unbearable wasn't simply the poor quality of the play - with the exception of the Denver, and the Carolina defenses - but the myriad commercials. Some people are so alienated that they find the commercials amusing. These people sicken me. (I almost always avert my eyes when the endless commercials start coming at me like kamikaze planes.) I enjoyed watching Denver make exhibitionist Cam Newton their bitch. It was impossible to root for Peyton Manning because he's a Jeb Bush supporter. The halftime show wouldn't end. Beyonce's legs looked like they belonged on a tight end. (Don't get me wrong, I'd still love to do her.) Bruno Mars seemed to be having fun, but the spastic white boy singer was beyond horrible. I liked Lady Gaga's outfit. It seemed like she was wearing a wig.           
        Street Jimmy finally showed up during the game. He looks terrible. He said the  reason he was AWOL was because he'd gone to suburban Harvey to see his brother. Unfortunately he couldn't remember where his brother lived. Since Jimmy's sister in law had a debilitating stroke and can no longer speak, he's had no contact with his family in three years. He looks as bad as I've ever seen him. When he said he was hungry I had Kim fix him a snack.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Pub Crawl Liz Back From Mexico

          I didn't get home until quite late last night. The reason for my lateness was Pub Crawl Liz's return from Mexico. Because Liz is one-hundred-percent Mexican, her being in the sun for a week resulted in her arriving back home brown as a berry. The Defense Attorney and the Inventor were also sitting with me at the bar. The Defense Attorney's aptitude for drinking large qualities of alcohol is not good. After a difficult week of tussling in Federal courtrooms the alcohol she imbibes on Fridays contributes greatly to calming her normally frazzled nerves.
         We Hard-core Ale house regulars are accustomed to regale ourselves in a very simple and primitive manner, therefore, the conversation quickly turned to sex, and who was fucking who on our recent trip to Scotland. Although Pub Crawl Liz is a self-proclaimed lesbian, she readily acknowledges having banged a lot of guys in her younger days. This seemed to shock the Defense Attorney. When pressed the Defense Attorney would not place an exact number on how many women she's performed oral on. Personally, I think it's a lot easier being a lesbian than a male homosexual. Woman are much more attractive than men. Having participated in sports as a kid, I spent a lot of time in showers and locker rooms with naked boys and did not find any of them the least bit sexually enticing. They are a brutish, smelly lot, and dicks in particular are not the least bit attractive. 
         Liz promised to come to the condo today and help me get set up on my computer so that I can finally get started on book four. Book four, which I have entitled Fraud And Deception, will take place after I came back to Chicago from California in 1976. It will conclude with the birth of Gracie in 1984. Each book I write gets better than the previous one. When Anthony was in town shooting Parts Unknown I asked him to light a fire under our agent and try and get books two and three published. He promised that he would make an effort.
        Liz read Last Night At The Old Town Ale House while she was in Mexico with her wife, Bonnie. There's not very much sex in Last Night, but what there is seemed to fascinate Liz. The Defense Attorney indicated most disrespectfully that she has no interest in reading my marvelous book. No one has ever accused her of possessing even a shred of intellectual curiosity. Liz said she thought my book was terrific, and she couldn't put it down. She was especially sorry she never got to meet comedian John Fox or Fancypants who are both key characters in my book.
          Irish Chris was at the other end of the bar. The four of us are going to his drinking establishment, The Kaiser Tiger, the Monday after next. Chris had a  curling rink installed for the winter and Liz is itching to give it a try.
           When I get started on Fraud and Deception I'm not going to have as much time to spend on my blog. I can either cut it back to three days a week again, or make my blogs shorter. I'd love to hear from some of you as to what you'd prefer. Remember, no blogs on Sunday. Why, you ask? Because that when we all worship the baby Jesus. I have no strong views on tomorrows Super Bowl. I liked Carolina's coach Ron Rivera when he played for the Bears. He was also the defensive coach when the hapless Bears last went to the Super Bowl. The Bears head coach at the time, the comatose, brain-dead, bible-thumping Lovie Smith, did not like to play aggressively and fired Rivera after the season was over. Since then Lovie has been fired by both the Bears and Tampa Bay. Wouldn't it have been nice if the Bears front office was smart enough to fire Lovie and made Rivera head coach. That's not how the morons that run the Bears roll. Why can't the old hag that owns the Bears depart to the big skybox in the sky soon. A Bear fans prayer.
         On the other hand I hate Cam Newton, the star QB of the Panthers. I grew up watching guys like Dick Butkus and Walter Payton who were not only great players, but did not clown around like the Three Stooges on acid. I hate how pro football has descended into pro wrestling. Newton's antics would not have gone over well with the old-school players like Butkus and Nitchke. They would have beaten him like a red-headed step child. The more I think about it the more I hope Denver's defense brutalizes Newton. I know it's unlikely, but I need something to maintain my interest in the game. 
          See ya Monday.

Friday, February 5, 2016

On Being A Bachelor

           I am not a good shopper. I especially need to improve my grocery shopping. Although I have started making lists of items I need, they are not thorough lists. Because of my poor listing skills I find it necessary to walk up and down every isle in the store which is time consuming. I tend to not buy enough of certain items, and too much of others. I also forget stuff I bought when I put them in out of the way places in the refrigerator. I have to rely on people working in the stores to direct me on where things are. I'm definitely going to work on improving my shopping skills. 
         Buzz Kill posted an interview of Anthony Bourdain by some publication on my Facebook page. It must have been a written interview because Anthony's answers were too tight and well written to be off the top of his head. One thing he said that really caught my eye was how in a civilized society every man should know how to cook a few basic dishes. I'm paraphrasing : "If a woman is nice enough to come over to your pad and have sex with you, the least you can do is cook her an omelet in the morning." This seems more than reasonable. He also went on to suggest that everyone should know how to cook a steak, make a simple soup, and at least one pasta dish. 
        I wish I would have learned to cook. In my defense over the years every live-in girlfriend or wife I've had has been a good cook and so I never had to learn any of the culinary arts. Because I'm now flying solo I need to step up my bachelor game. One thing I've learned the hard way is not to let dirty dishes accumulate. It's much easier to wash them every day. Because I'm a natural born procrastinator with a one-track mind this is easier said than done. The same goes for laundry… Baby steps.

        *

         Last night while I was talking to Lee and Anthony the Buxom Bibliophile walked in. Any doubts about my being smitten were instantly resolved. The minute our eyes met I fell into a swoon. Lee and Anthony were kind enough to move over so that she could sit down next to me. Over the years many remarkable characters have walked through the door of the Ale House; I put the buxom bibliophile right up there with the best of them -- and not just because she's hot! No, she is totally interesting and I thoroughly enjoy our conversations. She just had one beer because she had to pick up two of her girls from basketball practice. As I watched her walk out the door I asked myself why I couldn't have met someone like her 35 or 45 years ago. Double damn.

       *

        The nose drops my doctor prescribed seem to be working.

       *

         Street Jimmy continues to be surly and argumentative. He refers to Mierka as Mildred. When he walked into the bar this morning he was wearing a  pair of oversized sunglasses.
        "Jimmy, do you mind if I'm blunt and to the point?"
         "Huh."
          "You are not a gay companion and I no longer enjoy your company."
          Scratching the top of his head with much irritability he said, "I ain't gay."
          "I don't mean gay gay, I mean you are no longer fun to be around." Adding by way of illustration, " the minute you walk in the door it's like I'm being overwhelmed by a dark, pestilent cloud…"
          "Wha' you mean,"he said tossing his bag on the padded bench.
           "You used to be a fun-loving, merry fellow. Now you're a churlish, whining, boorish- drag. Look at your face. You can barely keep your eyes open, you've developed a perpetual sneer, and crack has messed your throat up so bad I can barely understand a word you're saying."
          "I gots a lot on my mind."
           Although Tobin is vacationing, she left food for Jimmy. After he finished his sweeping chores I heated his food up. After I placed a spoon, napkin and paper cup of lemonade on the table he usually sits at, I brought him the plastic container of food.
         "Ya know Bruce, a meal ain't a meal without hot sauce."
         "I just gave you ten-bucks, run over to Walgreens and buy yourself a bottle."
          "I ain't gonna spend my work money on hot sauce when I can steal it from across the street."
           "Then you won't have hot sauce."
            Grimacing, "Tobi always give me hot sauce."
           "She doesn't mind going to the store, I do."
           "Damn."
            When he was finished eating I said, "Okay, time to go."
          Putting his spoon down with much irritability, he turned to me and said angrily, "why you always be rushin' me?"
          "Because it takes you so fucking long to get dressed and I have shit to do."
           "What you got to do?"
            "I've got to go to the bank."
             "Damn."
               While Jimmy put on his shoes he was mumbling incoherently. I assumed what he was muttering was aimed at me derisively. 
           

         

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Getting Up In The Morning

           I hope Trump doesn't implode after taking it up the ass from Cruz in Iowa. I like his defense: Cruz stole the election by sending out false reports that mumbling Uncle Tom Ben Carson was dropping out of the race. The Iowa hicks are historically gullible, as well as stupid, so they fell for the lie and switched their votes to Cruz. I would like an intrepid reporter to ask Cruz the following question: you profess to be a Christian every five-minutes, therefore, how do you reconcile being a Christian with lying about an opponent? 
        The reason I want Trump to persevere is because he does more damage to the Republican Party than all the Dems put together. He says out loud what the Party honchos  are thinking but are afraid to acknowledge. It may be further remarked that Ted Cruz has become the poster boy for the so called Evangelical retards. Like all Christian bible-thumpers, he's mean, nasty, duplicitous, bigoted, intolerant and hypocritical. And Cruz is proud that he is universally despised by his congressional colleagues. I find this refreshing. 
         The yahoos, red-necks, swamp-rats and KKK types don't need to have Confederate Flag decals on their pick up trucks anymore, a Trump or Cruz bumper-sticker tells the world everything they need to know about you.
         Carson response to being duped by the Cruz people was classic Carson: Speaking in one monotonous unbroken monotone flow, it was clear that he didn't give a rats-ass if anyone cared about what he was saying.
           Butcovich's special gal Mona, a union nurse, spent several days campaigning in Iowa for Bernie Sanders. I've always liked Bernie and I hope he keeps bitch-slapping Hillary until the convention. But let's be real, he's a 74 year old Jewish atheist as well as a self-proclaimed socialist. I don't know which is more abhorrent to Joe Six-Pack or Mary Fat-Ass, but I don't see a way around this. The Repubs will smear him and extend democratic socialist to mean communist. The atheist and Jewish problem might even be worse with these brainless shit-kickers.
           Hillary's email mess was so unnecessary and so typically Hillary. When Bill got caught getting his dick sucked by the 19 year-old intern I was pissed. Why play into the enemies hands. All he had to do is stick to broads like the late Eleanor Mondale, who was hotter than blabber mouth Monica, and knew how to keep her yap shut. In fairness to Bill, I don't care how politically ambitious you are, but going to bed with Hillary every night is more than a frisky man should ever have to bear. So Hillary stumbles on. If she becomes president, and I give her a sixty-forty chance given the quality of her Republican opposition, I hope that she ditches the goofy fake "I'm one of you" manner of emoting. She makes my skin crawl when she shrieks, "thank you Iowa" in that shrill, nasal voice of hers. Be who the hell you are, Hillary -- a mean, no-nonsense, I hate Republicans and will do everything I can to smear them in shit if I'm elected president, and above all I won't appoint another Nazi to the Supreme Court, and I swear on my grandchild that I will tackle global warming… Is that really too much to ask, Hillary?

           *

            My doctor left the U of Chicago and opened a private practice in the West Loop recently. His plan is to be available 24-7 for his patients, and instead of in-and-out-of-the-office exams, he promises to take as much time as necessary. Yesterday I made my first visit to his fancy new digs. I was in his office for two-hours going over my entire medical history. Getting old isn't fun, and I'm going to need to see a couple of specialists for follow-ups. My back problem is presently my most vexing complaint. 
           When I tried to explain the amount of alcohol I consumed on a daily basis, he seemed perplexed.  Eyeing me sternly, he said, "two glasses of red wine a day should be your limit."
          With condescending politeness I explained that compared to my fellow barroom pals, I was practically a tea-toter, "I am alone much of the day, and sitting in a bar provides me with the necessary companionship and social life that is required to keep me mentally alert and prevent me from falling into black moods, and anti-social cynicism." 
         I think my doctor understands that I am not likely to lead a new life at this stage of the game, especially since it is evident that my old one will not continue for too much longer. I suppose some might think that my reasons for wanting to live a long life somewhat strange -- but then they don't understand me. My dying would simply make my myriad enemies too happy for me to succumb without a fight. My hatred toward these evil-doers is what gets me up every morning.
         Peace and love my friends, peace and love.
            

          

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Mierka Throws Down With An Ugly Bitch

         Sunday night a frightfully ugly broad was dry-humping a pleasant looking young guy on a barstool. At some point the two of them moved down the bar where the guys from the hardware store were sitting. Delighted with the impression she was making, the ugly broad, who was totally ripped, started a conversation with Anthony and Lee. Because they are both black she began spewing her views on race. She claimed to have a teaching job in Joliet and a number of black students. Mierka, who was sitting between Anthony and me, was able to hear what the ugly broad was saying. I couldn't.  Anthony took the bait and engaged the ugly broad in conversation; Lee, wisely did not. After about twenty minutes Mierka became agitated. Turning her head toward me she said, "this bitch is a racist moron, I'm going to say something to her…"
         "What's she saying?"
         "She's a teacher and she refers to her black students as retards."
           "Personally I don't think she's worth the effort, but if you go after her why not say you have two Downes Syndrome foster children and you resent the term retard -- better yet say they're black foster kids."
           At first the ugly broad seemed dismayed by Mierka intrusion, however, after a couple of minutes she became belligerent. Her boyfriend smiled fatuously as the two women went after each other. I wish I could have helped Mierka with her insults. I would have said something like: "you make Carly Fiorina look cute. Does that guy with the sappy smile put a bag over your head when he fucks you, " stuff like that. After about five minutes of sparring the ugly broad got off her stool and walked over to Mierka and put her hands on her shoulders. Mierka immediately said, "get your hands off me, bitch." 
          With her hands still on Mierka's shoulders, she said, "you really need to get laid , honey, you're a mess."
          "I said get your hands off me bitch!"
          The ugly broad took a step back and started flailing her arms;  with her palms facing Mierka she said, "what are you going to do about it, bitch."
         I got off my barstool and stepped between the two of them, "okay, time for you to go, honey."
          In her absolute shrillest tone the ugly broad  said, "who are you!"
          "I'm the person tossing you out of the bar, that's who I am, and do not come back."
          Her boyfriend was now on his feet and urging her to leave. Forcing a smile she said, "don't worry , I'm never coming back to this shit hole."
          "I know you're not, cutie pie."
           Pausing irresolutely in the doorway her final words were, "fuck you, asshole."
           I remarked with equal courtesy, " I would rather fuck your dead mamma, than you…"
          Perfect harmony being thus restored I sat back down on my bar stool.
          Mierka was of the opinion that Anthony should have been a little harsher in his treatment of the ugly broad.
           Anthony seemed perplexed, "she was fucking nuts."
         "Anthony," I said, "not being skillful in insulting sicko racists, you only fanned the flames in your attempts to extinguish  them. You should have an arsenal of insults for people like that. When we have some free time I'll help you commit some of them to memory. "

           *

           Mrs. Clown called me up drunk again. It's hard to understand her when she's fucked up. The gist of her conversation was that Street Jimmy was ringing her doorbell every morning and waking her up, and she wanted him to cease and desist. I told her I would talk  to him. When I asked her how Clown was doing she said, "great, he's got his mind back."
        I told her I'd try to see Clown this week.

           *

          We watched the Iowa election votes in the Ale House Monday night. It's scary having a group of white bible-thumpers wielding so much power. It's hard to understand how even the most gullible yokel could fall for Cruz's bullshit, but the hayseeds seemed to lap it up. Trump handled losing okay. Rubio has a lot of gay stuff floating around the internet. Somebody's out to get him. This is only going to get more fun.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

A Kindness Remembered

         I woke up in the middle of the night and didn't fall back asleep until six-thirty. It really doesn't make much difference when I get to the bar now that Fancypants isn't working for us. The cleaning ladies come to the condo the first Tuesday of the month. They're supposed to come at nine but seldom do. This fucks my day up. While I was getting the bar ready there was a knock on the window. At first I thought  it was Street Jimmy, but when I didn't hear his special knock on the side door I looked out the front window and saw Mary E. standing by the gate. Mary showed up on my Facebook page a couple of weeks ago and said she wanted to buy a copy of my book, Last Night At The Old Town Ale House. When I suggested she stop by the bar around seven at night and I'd giver her a copy free,  she said morning would be better. 
        The reason I told her I'd give her a copy of the book free was because of an act of generosity she bestowed upon me in 1963. I had foolishly taken off for San Francisco with an attractive older woman named Patty W. I was hustling golf in those days and thought that I could make enough money in Frisco to pay our expenses. It took less than two weeks for the local hustlers to clean me out. (I've never been able to putt California greens.) To make matters worse Patty was a lush. I ended up caddying at the Olympic Club to survive. I was lucky, the caddy master was one of the best hustlers I've ever had the misfortune to encounter. He came through Chicago in 1960 with another hustler named Bill Williams. His name was Spud; he was a nice looking Oakie, and had a beautiful swing. Spud hooked me up with some decent loops, and after caddying Spud and a couple other caddies and I would go out and gamble for five or six holes if there were no members around. (The Olympic Club is a wonderful layout and when I was good I always played better on really tough courses.)
          Although Patty was making a couple of bucks participating in amateur North Beach strip night contests, she usually drank and smoked most of her strip money by the time I'd meet up with her. One night after caddying and then blowing my money gambling (those goddamned Bermuda greens), I arrived in North Beach just as the fog was rolling in. I was supposed to meet Patty at the legendary Vesuvios bar. (It's the bar the Ale House was modeled after in 1958.) Patty was completely shit-faced. After we walked out of the bar she told me she had no money. I was starving and my feet were wet. As I stared at her in disbelief Patty just puckered up her nose, bounced up and down on her toes and shrugged. As I continued to stare at her with hate filled eyes  she smiled and began laughing and seemed to expect me to do the same. At this point all I wanted to do was dump Patty and go back to Chicago and beg my former girlfriend to forgive me. 
         And then stepping out of the dense fog Mary E. materialized as if by a miracle. Staring at us through her glasses I imagine we must have appeared to her as some extraordinary natural curiosity, or more likely a pair of helpless urchins. 
        We both hugged her. When she asked how long we'd been in San Francisco I practically burst into tears. "Patty spent all our money getting drunk and I'm starving."
        Mary seemed highly amused at this information. "Let me buy you guys dinner." 
         For the first 23 years of my life I was what you might call an unadventurous eater. Part of this might have been because my mother was a lousy cook, and part of it might just have been a simple case of fear of the unknown. Whatever the reasons, I had never had Chinese food before. The Chinese restaurant Mary took us to was filled with Chinese speaking Chinese people. I ate what ever was put in front of me. It was the most delicious meal of my life. After I devoured everything on the table I said in a tone of one who has just made a high moral resolution: "I swear I will never be a picky eater again -- ever. I will eat anything and everything."
        Before we parted I assured Mary I would never forget her wonderful act of kindness.
        A day later, while Patty and I were preparing to leave our roach infested hotel room on Turk Street and drive back to Chicago in defeat, a friend from Berkeley called and said Kennedy had just been killed. 
          My car blew up in Shamrock Texas and we ended up riding with a hillbilly family to Joplin Missouri and then hitchhiking with a soldier the rest of the way to Chicago. 
       Much of my conversation with Mary this morning was devoted to whatever happened to so and so. Most of the people we knew back in the day are now dead. She mentioned that she writes daily and she'd send me a copy of something she's working on. She said I'm in it. After I gave her a copy of my book she asked me to inscribe it. I inscribed it as follows: "Mary, thanks again for helping Patty and I out that fateful day in San Francisco in 1963."
          (I now possess  what could best be described as an adventurous pallet.)

           *

          The cleaning people didn't show up. This displeased me greatly.