Monthly Archives: May 2012

Carlsons Drive-In

chili cheese dogs 3rdarm

Nobody likes when a vacation ends, even a small one, unless its an awful vacation, or the kind of faraway vacation that lasts so long that one is ready at the end to finally return. I did not look forward to leaving the Michigan shore to return to Chicago. Today we tried to go to the beach but the wind was whipping sand so hard we had to leave. First the Blue Star Highway and then the Red Arrow Highway carried us back.

cheese cubes 3rdarm

Etta spoke with the owner of a gallery in Three Oaks perhaps setting up some future purchases. I found a pitstop using Jane and Michael Stern’s Roadfood website. We ate lunch at Carlsons Drive-In in Michigan City, Indiana, a town in the shadow of a nuclear smokestack. A gaggle of waitresses were in wait- you could eat in the car with a tray or at a picnic table. We chose to get some air and took a table. For food I ordered two chili cheese dogs, french fries, a side of ranch dressing and cheese cubes. Etta got a fish sandwich. I spoke to Deanne about this when she was arranging flowers a couple weeks ago- Jane and Michael Stern know their stuff. The fried cubes of American cheese were unbelievable. For dessert I went across the street to Bubbles and had a butter pecan waffle cone.


phils bar etta 3rdarm

The neighbor has an old dog named Goofy. He said it used to be a mean dog, a biter, but it mellowed in old age. He was friendly to me. Etta and I got away from the city and the heat for Memorial Day. We drove to Saugatuck, MI, and stayed in two bed and breakfasts. The first place we stayed had been owned by a couple for more than twenty years- I read warm comments in the guest book going back to the early 90s. We attempted to watch a made for TV movie from the bathtub about Jules Verne’s Journey to the Center of the Earth starring Peter Fonda as a god. There were squirrels eating corn cobs in the morning- black squirrels, grey squirrels, brown squirrels, red squirrels and a bad blue jay.

lookout park st joseph mi 3rdarm

The second place we stayed was a Christian bed and breakfast. Etta my Jewish half picked it without knowing until we had already reserved the room- the English Country Garden room. It was in Saugatuck and the owner wanted to know if I was coming with my wife. No I said, again not knowing his religious hangups, she is my GIRLFRIEND. Just my girlfriend. There were other cars in the parking lot still decorated with erasable paint congratulating newlyweds. After we showered and were headed back out to the beach he ran after me to the parking lot. There was water leaking out from the floor of our room- he wanted to know if we had been splashing in the hot tub. No I told him, we had only taken a shower, not plural. There was not much more chitchat.

Look Who’s Coming Down Ashland Avenue

goofy dog ashland ave 3rdarm

On a pot brownie on the lakeshore in harbor county Michigan I had several revelations. The heat index put it as the hottest day in 150 years, the day before summer 2012. What is the connection between going worldwide and consciousness / intelligence. Humans begin to farm only when on all continents including the americas and then we did many places at once. Whales are global and smart- dolphins, elephants, birds. May be what we call evolutionary trait that explains crosswords effect.

bumpit arthur mullen 3rdarm saugatuck

Homo sapiens dominated through sameness and replaced the previous paradigm of manyness. What if the secret truth about Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil was all one and the secret truth about the Knowledge of Infinite Life was diversity, and they were opposites? I thought what it would be like to visit the same beach 10,000 years ago. There would be no long stairs from the road. “Do you think the heat makes them bluer, puffier?”. Etta asked about the veins in her hand.

-written while on pot brownie at Michigan beach.

75LB halibut

75lb halibut 3rdarm frontera grill

Good day- Juan told me that I a positive contributor to the team. Beto the Mexican Frank Sinatra said I was handsome. Sosa and I started the Frontera cycling team. The 75 LB halibut shut his god damn trap. The dead fish made a big slash on the Internet.


chongo 3rdarm

Humans, because they’re the unique creatures that they are and because they build things and because they are able to make very sophisticated complex tools and technology are in a position to express nature’s richness in just unbelievable ways. Technology is a marvelous tool but to quote Einstein it’s a perfection of means and a confusion of aims that is our big problem. So we have these sophisticated tools, this really well developed technology, and what we need to have with it is a common goal so that technology works towards the betterment of everyone. And that would be a wonderful thing, if we could just use technology to perpetuate that principle- to everybody’s benefit. And I mean everybody’s benefit.

bloomingdale etta kate peter trail 3rdarm

My name is Chongo, at least that’s what everybody calls me. Actually my name is Charles Victor Tucker the third and I am called Chongo amongst a whole bunch of rock climbers. That’s who they call me, that’s who they know me by. I live outdoors, what you might call a homeless lifestyle, and yet I have a web page where people can come in to buy a book. I’m living on the streets- they can buy a book from a homeless person using a credit card. Which is a pretty good statement about what you can do with technology. It’s an amazing thing. When you’re a climber you’re homeless anyway. You’re always running around from one climbing area to another. You’re camping out, in order to be at the place you’re going to climb at. Unless your home is at a national park, which is not so likely, or in a place where people climb- I guess you could call that homeless.

Create or Else: Chongo

De Jonghe Hotel

chef ricks house bloomingdale trail 3rdarm

Sunday before bed, Peter called me Julie McCoy- the cruise director of the Love Boat. The tour continued on Monday. The four of us walked the Bloomingdale Trail- Chicago’s future answer to the High Line in NYC. We journeyed into the crotch for record and used book shopping, and ate lunch in the backyard patio at Handle Bar. That afternoon we made our way up North to the waterfall in Ronan Park, and to a film. I stopped for a frozen treat at Tastee Freez, willfully forgetting my sister’s veganism- I stopped for more frozen treats at Trader Joe’s.

Nuevo leon 3rdarm

The visit was colored by art and firsts- it was the first time Kate and Peter rode bikes and visited a museum together. I guess it’s also pretty rare that they watch art films- we saw two: Lena Dunham’s 2010 first feature film, Tiny Furniture, about a college grad returning to her Manhattan mother’s house to live and find her way, and, Quill, The Life of a Guard Dog, the 2004 Japanese film directed by Yôichi Sai, about a golden labrador’s life, working and playing.

Dancing on the Slack Rope

reflextions 3rdarm

Kate and Peter borrowed Etta’s bikes and we rode to the South side- the Mexican Fine Arts Museum. The temperature hit 90F- art outside matched art inside. Artists painted a mural with spray paint. We ate lunch at Nuevo Leon- one of Pilsen’s best Mexican restaurants. Another mural said, “No human being is illegal.” The presidents and heads of state held their NATO meeting. We rode towards downtown and police directed us around the site.

sunday bike ride 3rdarm

At Navy Pier we stopped for Chicago mix popcorn- that’s cheddar and caramel mixed together. My sister veganly picked out the caramel, but the cheddar left an orange stain on her mouth regardless. We rode up the lakeshore and then inland, down North Avenue to Stanley’s fruits and vegetable stand. I bought raspberries. At home, Etta had made fruishi- sticky rice with coconut milk, sliced nectarines and peaches, topped with raspberry. Peter drank a Hopslayer.

Scene from Dream of Sunday Afternoon in Alameda Park

tigers 3rdarm

Kate and Peter arrived in a Hyundai on the way to California. I know from experience the only way to make my sister happy is to tire her out like a small dog. That and Etta made vegan potato salad.

balancing 3rdarm

Etta made vegan curry potato salad and smoothies. Meghan, Andrea, Julie, Marty, Chris, and a small waterfall met the couple at the Owl. We walked to the statue of the eagle.

Old Midwest

poäng chair 3rdarm

Kate and Peter are rolling through the Midwest on the way to Chicago. They are dirty and hungry, 60 minutes from the city limits. She has never been here. Etta is making vegan potato salad. I am sitting with the cat by the window. We are going out to a bar with a waterfall. She and he will make new friends and eat Mexican food- no meats whatsoever.

roly poly 3rdarm

Today was the first day of the NATO summit. The Kennedy expressway and Lake Shore Drive are closed. Folks stayed home- it was the slowest Saturday at the restaurant in collective long term memory. No Bob at brunch. There are more police than civilians- 2 on every corner, escorting all protesters, hovering in helicopters, riding up the river in cigarette boats. The silver fox told me I would be waiting on the Australian president’s security squad- we held the table empty for hours. But he never showed.

Curried Celeriac Soup

cream celeriac soup

Max told me a story about a black motorcycle gang thundering down the back alley. There’s a fire station behind the restaurant. A firetruck was backing into the garage. That was backing up traffic down Illinois- a black motorcycle gang included. They decided not to wait, turned and thundered down the alley, past Max. He said to two women at the closest patio table, “You know what about guys who have motorcycles.” He held his index finger an inch from his thumb. “No way,” a woman said back, over the roar of the bikes. She put her palms a foot apart.

mark Bittman minimalist 3rdarm

Some kind of NATO summit is this weekend in Chicago. There will be roads closed to protect the presidents and heads of state and whonot. I overheard the silver fox talking to chef. The honchos from Australia needed a big table- their security detail would be coming sooner to lock down the perimeter. “Australia?” the chef asked incredulous. “But they’re not in NATO. NATO means North Atlantic Treaty Organization. Australia’s on the other side of the world.”

“Oh, well,” replied the silver fox, with a sly grin. “Maybe he said Austria.”