Monthly Archives: March 2012

Australian Native

fatso 3rdarm

I like Tabatha. I think her hair is rad. I think her shoes are awesome. To Tabatha- OK I can’t talk to you right now because I’m getting too into you. I think she’s fabulous. To T- OK I would like be your little kangaroo baby. Like I’d probably never leave your side. Like get! Get away!

Tabatha: Kangaroo baby? Why a kangaroo- because I’m Australian?

I didn’t even think about that!

Phil's last stand 3rdarm

I’m so thirsty. If that roach water hasn’t killed me yet… I want an eight ounce glass.

Tabatha Takes Over, Season 4, Ep. 11 “Salon Deco: Atlanta, GA”

Phil’s Last Stand

etta and chelsea 3rdarm

When we walked in one of the cooks asked if this was our first time and I said yes. He told us a fatso is a burger. We ordered a single fatso with cheese and two char dogs with fries. Etta asked to use the employee-only washroom and they let her. They asked if we wanted grilled onions on the fatso and everything on the dogs. I said yes. I read the biography of Phil which stated he was an original owner of Herm’s Palace in the early seventies. The dogs and fries came up and Etta asked me to get her mayo and they had that. The cook apologized and said he had made a double fatso by accident. He’d heard “somebody call out for a double fatso.” I said no problem. The cook gave me a complimentary cup of cheddar cheese for dipping.

Chelsea and Arthur Mullen 3rdarm

I already knew it was the best part of my day- biting into the double fatso with cheese I realized it was the best part of my week. Etta moved in to the apartment and made the place a lot nicer. We took her stuff out of storage today and I worked and then headed to a bar to say so long to her friend Chelsea. The trip to Phil’s Last Stand derailed our other late night plans to pick up groceries and watch trashy reality TV- we drove straight home and she is sleeping now, snorgling and meat sick with the shivers. It was worth it.

Big Russ and Me

vinnys subs chicago 3rdarm

I really like the Sunday news shows. I don’t like George Stephanopoulos because he’s Greek but I do like that he served with Bill Clinton. But not my favorite because he’s Greek. Donna Brazile referred to conservative Republicans as “those people.” Something happened to Chuck Schumer’s eye- its sinister. As in Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace, George Stephanopoulos asks tough questions of his side- Democrats. This being the post-Bush style of fair and balanced, even Dick Cheney’s had a change of heart. I actually like Fox News Sunday the best when Chris Wallace rips his friends on the right so hard. Chris Wallace moderated Meet the Press in the eighties- the only person ever to host more than one of the end of week shows. He was born in Chicago and his father Mike is on 60 minutes. They talk once a week.

bon bon vietnamese sandwiches wicker park 3rdarm

My all time favorite is Meet the Press- I grew up watching. Tim Russert and I passed each other under the heated entrance of a Boston hotel in the mid 2000s. We made eye contact. He was the best, born in Buffalo. I was at a Qdoba in Cambridge when Tim Russert died of a heart attack and the news came on the TV. That was the first and only time I will ever eat at a Qdoba- left a bad taste in my mouth. David Gregory’s wife is a badass in the military. Gwen Ifill often has all women shows. Bob Schieffer reads his own weird poems on the air. I just found out next week Face the Nation expands to a full hour. That will bring my number of hours spent on end of week recaps to five and a half.

Trayvon Martin

genes and judes 3rdarm

They should get the arrest and more. The police who cooperated with trying to cover this up should be fired or jailed, as far as I’m concerned. I should also say- and the last caller was profoundly correct, in terms of his summation of what it is to be a black man walking around- black teenagers, any white teenagers, don’t know how to function, don’t know how to process a lot of this stuff. It’s important that we can’t lay all the blame for this on the police. The blame that’s involved should be scented right on each and every one of us. We have to re-examine our sense of values and priorities and our sense of self in terms of who we think we are as a nation. That’s really where the core of this is. Functionally, sure- all of this is coming too much after the fact. We have to do what that last listener did. We have to re-examine how we see each other and what we want this society to be and that means examining who the cops are, who is the chief of police, who are you voting for, what do you do in your own community to push the good forward? To inch it forward, just a little bit. That’s really crucial. -James McBride

the kennedy 3rdarm

Hey Tom, hey listen- I really enjoyed the show, and the gentleman Mychal- I found a great deal of honesty in what he was saying. It may be something the rest of us need to look at maybe. I think we’re all guilty of racism and bias. I think we’ve all got a certain degree of bias, that we have. When we come to the play and we want to discuss these things with each other I think we all need to admit that we have a sense of commission and omission and that- hey, we’ve all said the N word. At some time or other, other people have done that too. I would just like to see folks deal with their own bias and racism and political problems, and step up and discuss this thing, after we look at ourselves. -Gene in Greenbrier, Tennesee

portage park 3rdarm

I appreciate the last caller because it’s very easy to go about your life and say you’re not a racist. But to live in America is to be effected and to internalize racism. So we all have to come to the table and say- Not that I’m not a racist, but in fact, I am a racist. Being a racist is not the worst thing that you can be. The worst thing that can happen because of your racism is that a boy like Trayvon can die. So you have to address your own biases and racism that we’ve all internalized. I hear those screams from the 911 call and I know that it haunts me. But there’s a 13 year old witness who says he hears those screams and he knows he fits the stereotype of the type of people that get killed. So what type of effect does that have on him? We are all internalizing this every single day. And we all have to work on that. –Mychal Denzel Smith

-On Point with Tom Ashbrook, March 20, The Killing of Trayvon Martin

Suspended in Gaffa

hoosier mama

I don’t know how it happened- I thought the summer was dust. By myself I drift through the Midwest. On my bike I go from park to park. The small dogs, green grass, leaves on trees, the smell of the air, families on stoops- I’m part of it and moving through it at the same time. A multi-celled organism adrift in the warm inland sea. “When you look into the oceans’ depths, they are there unseen, right before your eyes. Much of the sea is actually a crowded place, swarming with organisms struggling to survive and aspiring to reproduce. The majority of these creatures are small, too small to see, including tiny plants, animals, bacteria, and other microbes. In just one teaspoon of sea water there may be millions of organisms. Drinking seawater- not a good idea for a whole host of reasons!” -Ellen Prager, Sex Drugs and Sea Slime. And yet our mouths are almost always open.

humboldt park

When I woke I had blueberry yogurt with coffee and listened to my mom’s Exile on Main Street. That’s the kind of sound memory that cannot be shared digitally- a warm and imperfect record handed down from one generation to the next. I did that in the sun with my cat. Later I had more coffee and a piece of bourbon pecan pie- and followed the sun West on my bike. A Mexican family walked out of the matinee showing of Casa De Mi Padre. I do not blame the parents. That’s an example of an audio visual memory best handed down from one generation to the next when the kids are older.


Koosa Mihshee chickpea 3rdarm

Chickpea is a Palestinian restaurant in my neighborhood. Woman on the phone called me sweetie. I told her was riding a bike and she pledged a secure wrapper on the food ordered. She was on the phone when I arrived but acknowledged me by smiling with her eyes. It was my first time and I had ordered Mama’s Monday special. What I didn’t know then was that I was in front of Mama herself- the owner’s mother, Amni Suqi. Maybe it was the bike helmet or bright orange safety jacket but Mama knew who I was. She showed me how my food was plastic wrapped. I asked for a baklava. Mama thanked me, called me sweetie again, and I rode home. The Monday special is vegan- it is called koosa mihshee. Two zucchinis cored and stuffed with herbs, rice, tomato and onion, served in a spicy, salty tomato broth. Rice absorbs broth as the zucchinis open, adding layers of flavor. I loved it.

Echo’s Answer

jackson park 3rdarm

There’s nothing like sitting in a completely quiet room, and then the strings start up. It’s like when you go to the cinema —- the first two or three minutes of any film are amazing. Because the screen is so big. The scale. Directors can pretty much do anything for those first few minutes. It doesn’t matter how many films you see —- it’s still kind of a moment.

-Johnny Greenwood, Alex Pappademas’ profile Kid A+

marquette park 3rdarm

Davies is no stranger to flourish, though the sort that begins The Long Day Closes and invokes such triumphant Hollywood brassiness is not what one would expect from a film whose final spoken words are voiceover echoes of Bud’s drab science teacher detailing the different kinds of erosion. Angrily squeaking out his lessons in chalk, the mustachioed instructor informs the students, definitively, that there are five kinds of erosion: river, rain, glacial, wind, and marine. Naturally, the disintegration of memory and consciousness doesn’t enter into the equation, even though this is the most tangible form of erosion to most of us.

-Reverse Shot, Michael Koresky on The Long Day Closes

The Long Day Closes

bolsita 3rdarm

On Sunday I rode my bike 45 miles- first West to Garfield Park, then South for a torta and pineapple water in Little Village, then further South to Marquette Park at 71st St, through the East Side and to the lake, Jackson Park, down a golf course and over a fence, onto the Lakefront Trail, listened to “The Noise Made By People,” 16 miles North to uptown, bought a catnip mouse and underwear, found a bench in Welles Park where I read my book Sex Drugs and Sea Slime and spoke with my sister, to the Music Box for a showing of Terence Davies’ 1992 memoir of childhood, The Long Day Closes, and back down Ashland Ave.


Lula cafe 3rdarm

I’m running down that road. Zoe and Sara visit was a positive influence- otherwise I have been in the habit of sticking to my routine. They met Jonathan when he came by in his tinted windows. I broke off a Maurie and gave it to Zoe and a Flaurie and gave it to Sara. Those are anthropomorphized hotdogs. Ladies love my cat. Zoe got me to listen to T Rex, Galaxie 500, Broadcast and Kate Bush. I’m running up that hill. We ate at La Cecina Restaurant Familiar, Hot Doug’s, Udupi Palace, Lula Cafe, and Goose Island Shrimp House.

Udupi palace 3rdarm

At the 25 year mark Chef Rick is taking a sabbatical from the restaurant to star in food theater- at the same time I am starting at the restaurant. My friend Pierce is taking a sabbatical from playing the drums the same week his band was on public radio with Howard Dean. I met him after his final show at the Hideout. He was having a tamale picnic outside with three beautiful women- Alejandra, Maria and Liz. Retirement may be over rated. Claire is taking a sabbatical from churros to have a baby. My downstairs neighbor Tim’s girlfriend is out of town too. She’s a freelance writer. He makes custom serving pieces.

Zoe and Sara

On the up 3rdarm

My friend Zoe came to visit and brought her friend Sara. They stayed for three days. We went to the Bridgeport Art Center building- Zoe climbed inside Sarah Palin’s mouth. The industrial elevator took us to higher floor and I asked those inside the way to the art. No one had an answer. On the roof we found some.

Lake south side 3rdarm

I rode the elevator at Navy Pier- the ferris wheel. There was no glacier yet. The temperature has been in the seventies. The hottest night we went to the beach and had fried shrimp on Goose Island. Sara had fried mushrooms. I ate tacos at Big Star on the picnic tables and got to tell my story about the Midwestern woman who choked down the dessert she did not like. So it was a good night.