Friday, December 29, 2006

I'm in Taiwan, so there.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Fucking dog has fucking papers

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

I Know You

Forgive the rant ala Jack Black from School of Rock, but for fuck’s sake rock and roll used to mean something.

Let me explain.

My boss just got a record of Pink Floyd’s The Wall with a signed jacket matted and framed nicely behind glass. It’ll go up in the office somewhere near his framed Nirvana concert tickets. Now, I understand that a body has to find work so that a body can make money, but it just seems wrong to spend what must have been a pretty penny on a lousy piece of rock memorabilia. And the guy’s an attorney. Not quite the rock and roll job to have, really.

I suppose I just adhere to some weird version of culture that dictates that rock and roll is supposed to be for the young and rebellious and angry and drunk. Not the rich and well-fed who pop a Stones disc into their Lexus’ CD player on the way home from merging businesses and trading stocks. It just seems incongruent.

Look whose talking, right? My 35-year-old ass still drives around in a Jetta blasting Cramps and Melvins and loud Japanese noise-rock. I suppose I’m one of the aging punk dolts who still think they’re angry enough to be cool. And Naked Raygun played a reunion show and I skipped it because it was a weekday and I had to get up for work the next morning. Sad. Sadder still is the singer’s rumored illness, resulting in a short set and a tear in my eye as my favorite local punk band from the 80s is clearly old and getting older, as am I.

Okay, but still, I’m not pulling in gobs of cash. I live on peanut butter sometimes (not even bread, just a spoon and a jar of Jiff). I’m still a student, I still struggle. I’m still pissed at “the man” and like to stick it to him via The Who and The Ramones. But as Bonzo goes to Bitburg and goes out for a cup of tea, I opt to join him, as coffee is too strong for my sensitive guts and liquor, well I have to be in the mood. And even then it’s “just the one.”

My boss, on the other hand, is pulling in some serious dough and can afford to buy Pink Floyd’s signed records. He can also afford to by a Hunter Thompson memorial by Ralph Steadman, signed by numerous celebrities and hangers-on of the good dead doctor. He can also afford to buy a huge house in the snotty suburbs and can afford to impregnate his wife twice over and ensure the kids have a good life and never miss a meal. All well and good, I say. I have nothing against people with money. Fuck the “yuppie scum” protestations coming form the mouths of angry suburban kids who emulate their dead idols. They’re next in line for the gravy train to yuppiville anyway. So if you want to screw over the next guy to get a bigger piece of the American dream, well there’s little one can do to stop you. But don’t do so while clinging to your rock-n-roll roots, which you probably just used as a means to a licentious end. Yeah, I know you, the guy at the party wearing a black concert T-shirt you just bought at Urban Outfiters. The guy with the messy hair that got messy after 20 minutes of blow-drying and product. The guy with the jeans that got ripped by a factory and not from years of wear and tear. The guy who can afford a new pair of jeans. The guy with the Docs who still thinks that makes him punk rock. The guy with a trust fund. The guy with the expensive weed. The guy who will grow up to wear suits. The guy who loved Nirvana and didn’t realize that “In Bloom” was about him. The guy who is looking to screw some dead-eyed young thing on his way to growing older and screwing many, many people, literally and figuratively.

Yeah, you, you bastard.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Happy Birthday, Joe

As per tradition, I'll be cooking peppers and eggs tonight.

Hog Wild

Man Fined for Tossing Pig at HotelMan fined for tossing a 60-pound pig over the counter at a Miss. hotel

(AP) WEST POINT, Miss. When pigs fly, indeed. Kevin Pugh, 20, of Cedar Bluff, has been fined $279 for tossing a pig over the counter at the Holiday Inn Express in West Point on Nov. 12. Pugh pleaded guilty Tuesday in city court to a charge of disturbing the peace.

West Point Police Lt. Danny McCaskill has said Pugh didn't know the employees of the hotel. There was no evidence intoxication was a factor.

No one was hurt, including the pig, officers said.

"This was the silliest thing I've ever seen," McCaskill said. "Almost every officer we had was involved because the incidents kept happening at different hours."

McCaskill said Pugh was accused of walking into the hotel and throwing the 60-pound pig over the counter.

"He said it was a prank," McCaskill said. "It must be some redneck thing, because I haven't ever heard of anything like it."

McCaskill said there have been four late-night incidents involving animal-tossing at West Point businesses. Twice a pig was tossed and two of the incidents involved possums.

All four of the disturbances took place between 2 a.m. and 4 a.m., McCaskill said.

Pugh is accused in a second animal-throwing incident at a Hardee's restaurant. He has pleaded innocent to disturbing the peace in that case and will appear in city court on Dec. 19.

(© 2006 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Go check out Ana Castillo’s website at

I first read her work when I was seduced by the title Peel My Love Like an Onion. I mean, has there ever been a better book title? It is not a bad book at all, but even more impacting was her poetry collection I Ask the Impossible. And seeing her read from Watercolor Women and Opaque Men was a treat. (Gracias, niña.)

Her bloga (her term, though I wish it were mine) is always interesting to read, as is her work, but I saw something a touch upsetting this morning. A lot of her early books are going out of print. Now, living in Chicago (as does Castillo a lot of the time), finding her books is no problem. Powell’s usually has a surplus of Loverboys on hand, but to read that this title, as well as the powerful nonfiction work, Massacre of the Dreamers, is soon to be out of circulation ‘round about the Borders and Barnes and Noble way, well it bothers me. They are not my books, and I may have done my part by reading them, but I feel somewhat obligated to buy a copy or two new (I think I bought most of her books used, sorry Ana) so as to fight the good fight. This doesn’t even seem to bother Castillo very much, as she mentions this sad happening in a longer post regarding literacy in general. Still, it bothers me. I’m going to Borders tonight and buying at least one of the vanishing titles. I’ll pay full price, I don’t care. It’s a small effort but the philosophy and symbolism of the action are what counts.

Now, anyone who has listened to me blab on about contemporary literature has probably heard me recommend Caramelo by Sandra Cisneros. I stand by that novel. Good stuff, that. BUT… I can’t say the same for House on Mango Street, which, according to Castillo’s bloga and common knowledge, will never be out of print due to the huge number of high schools (and even colleges, jeesh) that teach that book every damn year. It is not a bad book, from the little of it I read, but it is more of a Hallmark Card version of a novel than I care for. Caramelo is an infinitely better, more sophisticated and ambitious novel. But House on Mango Street will endure because it is an unchallenging read and it is short, which does not intimidate the kiddies. Kind of sad to see the way in which (and this is my opinion, but damn it, it is the correct one) an inferior, slight novel endures in the public consciousness while other (longer, more complex) books are shoved aside. Oh well, go read your 120 pages; not too daunting and just long enough to kill time before bed after watching Grey’s Anatomy. Oh that McDreamy!

Monday, December 04, 2006

Letter to the CTA

I'm mailing this off to their offices, but I thougt I'd share:

December 4, 2006
A cold morning to have to walk the streets.

Office of the Inspector General
Frank Kruesi, the Pres.
Carole L. Brown, the Chairperson
Chicago Transit Authority
567 W. Lake St., 8thFloor
Chicago, IL 60661

RE: Recent fires, delays and lousy service

Dear General, Mr. President and Madam Chairperson:

I have long been a rider, and defender, of CTA trains and buses that make navigating this fair city so easy. I have never complained and have always regarded those who do to be given to complaining as a means of expressing life’s general disappointment, which they feel helpless to combat. Nevertheless, the recent outbreak of fires, electrical problems and, as of this morning, defective trains has made riding the Red Line—perhaps the busiest line of them all—rather inconvenient.

Earlier this month I was forced to evacuate the train due to a fire on the tracks near Fullerton. I, and my fellow commuters, was sandwiched underground, between two other trains and between the Clark/Division and North/Clyborn stops. I was ill that day which made walking along the narrow path adjacent to the tracks rather difficult. I managed to make it back through the tunnel to the Clark and Division stop, filthy, sick to my stomach and a few hours delayed. Yes, your company provided alternative means of transportation, but the long and the short of it is that the Red Line failed us that morning.

I let it go. Things happen. Certainly no one can predict a fire, right? I would have thought so but I heard from my roommate that another fire, some mere weeks later, sprung to life on the Red Line tracks, causing the train to be re-routed. Thankfully, I missed that calamity, but an electrical problem last week forced the re-route again, moving the train to the inner loop tracks normally utilized by the Purple and Orange lines. Okay, so I had to walk an extra block. Not too big a deal, but then, wouldn’t you know it, the train this morning, after taking considerable time to arrive, remained motionless at the Grand stop. The inevitable occurred: we were told the train was defective and that we had to evacuate.

This time I’m not so forgiving. I had to walk from Grand and State to Washington and LaSalle, not the longest of distances but in the frigid temperature (are any of you aware how cold it was this morning or do you, aware of the inefficiency of your service, drive to work?) it was no fun at all, especially when I paid my two bucks to ride a train all the way to work, smoothly, directly and in good time.

The way I see it, you guys owe me four bucks. I’m not asking for a refund for the times the train was re-routed. That I’ll allow to pass. Nor am I asking for payment for the delays. Things, as I said, happen, but it seems that fires and defects are occurring with strange regularity this season (several times within the last month alone) and when that happens I must apply Occum’s Razor, which states that the simplest explanation is probably correct. The simplest explanation seems to be that there is something very wrong with the way you are spending those recent fare increases. That or you don’t care, don’t know what you’re doing or don’t think delaying countless commuters is a matter worth considering. A simple recording of apology robotically blasted across train loudspeakers is not sufficient. You offered a service, for which I paid my fee; the service was deficient, therefore I demand a refund. Pay me my four dollars immediately.

I’ll take a check, or cash, but please remit ASAFP to the address below. I thank you for your time and hope you are warm and comfortable. In other words, I hope you don’t ride the Red Line.

Very truly yours,

Friday, December 01, 2006

Not "A Trifle"

I read a recent article on Paul Muldoon in The New York Times Magazine. While my exposure to Muldoon’s work has been limited, I’ve read enough to know I like the guy’s work even if 90% of it flies over my head. His poems tend to be complexly structured and “difficult” although, apparently, if you ask him he’d say he strives for clarity. This from the man who hilariously encoded “Is this a New Yorker poem or what” in one of his poems (ironically, or maybe not so, the New Yorker rejected it).

The article did its job—I now want to read more Muldoon, but even more importantly, I want to be Muldoon.

Let me explain. He met Seamus Heaney at 16, asked him to read some poems, which he did and then got them published. From there it was a nice ride up to the highest ranks of contemporary poetry’s brightest skies. His first book came out before he finished college, for fuck’s sake. Not only that, but he lives in an 18th century house (albeit, in New Jersey) with wood planks the size of fold out tables and collects guitars. And he has formed a garage band.

The guy is living the dream. God bless him.