Wednesday, October 31, 2007
I was planning to do this ride, but by the time I got around to taking my credit card upstairs to my computer, it was sold out. To be fair, a CBF e-mail warned me last Wednesday when the ride was 80% full; I just waited too long. I suppose I could try to scam an entry through my CBF connections, but I don't do that sort of thing. I could volunteer, but things always go wrong when I volunteer for something. Besides, on the morning of November 11, I'll probably be happy to sleep instead of driving out to the southwest suburbs. I guess they'll just have to open the road without me.
* For anyone inclined to add an apostrophe somewhere in Veterans Day, don't!
Saturday, October 27, 2007
Although the two were not very close, Smalley was clearly an inspiration to Hood. I could imagine Hood at age 60 still singing "The Living Bubba" with all the conviction he had when he first wrote it. That's a story in itself: "While out in the field behind my house, a song hit me and I ran back inside to write it down before it slipped away. I wrote it in about the same length of time it takes to play it live." But playing it live was a problem:
I was, at first, hesitant to play “The Living Bubba” live, as I really didn’t know Greg all that well and felt I had no right to write anything so personal (from his point of view, no less). But I did confide it to a few close mutual friends who were always very complimentary and all said I should play it for Greg’s Mama. In May of 1997, we played Bubbapalooza in front of a packed house that included “Mama” (as everyone affectionately called her). As we began “The Living Bubba” she walked up to the front of the stage and stared me square in the eyes as I sang Greg’s song. When it was over, she walked up on stage, threw her arms around me and said “You done my boy right.” No review or compliment that my band or me ever get will ever equal that.Here's a sample of the lyrics:
I wake up tired and I wake up pissed
wonder how I ended up like this
I wonder why things happen like they do
but I don't wonder long cuz I got a show to do
I ain't got no political agenda
Ain't got no message for the youth of America
'cept "Wear a rubber and be careful who you screw"
and come see me next Friday cuz I got another show...
Some people stop living long before they die
Work a dead end job just to scrape on by
but I keep living just to bend that note in two
and I can't die now cuz I got another show...
Friday, October 26, 2007
Your Daddy was mad as hellZip City really exists. The Alabama Ass Whuppin' blog, which is written by an Alabaman transplanted to San Francisco, includes this photo tribute to "Zip City."
He was mad at me and you
As he tied that chain to the front of my car
And pulled me out of that ditch that we slid into
Don't know what his problem is
Why he keeps dragging you away
Don't know why I put up with this shit
When you don't put out and Zip City's so far away
I don't normally like when the audience sings at concerts (I paid to hear the guy onstage sing), but I loved belting out the last three lines of "Zip City" at Cooley's request:
I got 350 heads on a 305 engineI had a 318 engine myself at that age and got slightly better mileage, but the last line was pretty accurate.
I get ten miles to the gallon
I ain't got no good intentions
UPDATE 11/17/2007 - Someone shot video of "Zip City!" And it's pretty good -- decent sound and a steady hand.
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
Instead of carrying on about the show, I will feature some favorite lyrics over the next few days from songs they performed. Anybody who wants to hear the concert can get it free at the Live Music Archive (the band is "taper friendly"). You can even play the streaming version at the top of the page if you don't want to download any files.
The second song in the encore was "Angels and Fuselage." As a special treat, Kelly Hogan, who sang on the studio recording, joined the band onstage for this and one other song*. In addition to being probably the only rock song ever to use fuselage in the title, this song is the climax of DBT's breakthrough double-CD Southern Rock Opera. The album follows a band named Betamax Guillotine** whose career parallels that of Lynyrd Skynyrd. In case you don't know your rock history, three members of Skynyrd were killed when their plane ran out of fuel on the way to Baton Rouge, LA on October 20, 1977. Now the members of Betamax Guillotine are about to meet the same fate...
The engines have stopped now.The imagery puts tears in my eyes almost every time I hear it. Angels waiting in the trees below. Powerful stuff.
We all know we are going down. Last call for alcohol.
Sure wish I could have another round.
And I'm scared shitless of what's coming next.
Scared shitless, these angels I see in the trees are waiting for me.
Waiting for me.
* Legendary keyboardist Spooner Oldham has been touring with the Truckers this year, and earlier in the show Hogan came on and sang "I'm Your Puppet," which Oldham cowrote with Dan Penn some 40 years ago.
** The name is from a story that Lynyrd Skynyrd bandleader Ronnie Van Zant was decapitated by a video recorder when the plane crashed. From Wikipedia:
[Skynyrd drummer Artimus] Pyle did confirm (from Pyle's interview on the The
Howard Stern Show on Sirius Satellite Radio, February 12, 2007) that Van
Zant's cause of death was trauma to the head caused by equipment, such as
Betamax tapes and Trinitrons, flying forward in the plane's cabin.
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
Cover it on Nightline for anyone who cares; don't deprive me of Boston Legal, you bastards.
Thursday, October 18, 2007
"Uh, this coupon is expired," said the clerk.
"Well, we don't take expired coupons."
"What? I've been shopping at Jewel for 20 years, and I've never had an expired coupon refused." I had a wall-eyed fit right there in the line. I made him call the manager on duty.
"Sir, that's been our policy since I've been here, and I started eight years ago."
"That's bull. I've used expired coupons here before. No one at any other Jewel has rejected my expired coupons. If I wanted that crap, I'd shop at Walgreen's." I shop at six Jewels regularly and a dozen more occasionally, so I am speaking from broad experience (I am somewhat of a grocery store fanatic). Heck, I've used crumpled-up coupons that were obviously long beyond their expiration date, and no one ever cared.
When a local Osco (the drugstore side of Jewel) became a CVS/pharmacy and started enforcing expiration dates, the manager, who had been the Osco manager before, acknowledged that it was a policy change and even accepted my old coupons that one time just to make me happy. The bastards at the Jewel on Ashland obviously are not concerned with customer satisfaction.
If I hadn't spent an hour shopping, I would have left the cartful of bagged groceries and walked away. As it was, I spent $100 there. I told them I was never shopping there again. "Have a nice day, sir." Bullshit. I hate "have a nice day" even when it is pseudo-sincere, so F*** YOU, you patronizing bastards. You just lost a $100 a week customer over a lousy $1 coupon. I hope you're proud of yourselves.
Wednesday, October 17, 2007
I decided to walk home from Western & Devon since I could use the exercise. Going by way of the North Shore Channel path is probably 3.5-4 miles. As I walked under Bryn Mawr Avenue on the path, I saw something drop into the water from the bridge. my first reaction was to curse about litterbugs. Then I realized what it was -- a small bouquet of flowers wrapped in plastic. This was intriguing.
I conjured up various scenarios that would have led to the flowers being tossed off the bridge. They ranged from sentimental (a loved one drowned there years ago on this day) to pathetic (unwanted flowers from a lover who can't accept that it's over) to cynical (a guy went to give them to his lover and found her with another man). In fact, it would be a perfect example for a writing exercise:
Someone tosses a bouquet of flowers into the river. Write 500 words about what precipitated this event.
I'll never know why it happened, but my money is on the cynical end of the spectrum.
Saturday, October 13, 2007
Of course, the big question now is whether Gore can be convinced to run for president again. I doubt it, but if he ran, I'd probably vote for him.
Friday, October 12, 2007
Indiana is moving to scrap, relax or omit limits on toxic chemicals and heavy metals dumped into a Lake Michigan tributary by the sprawling U.S. Steel Corp. mill in Gary, according to environmental lawyers and former federal regulators who have reviewed a proposed water permit.I've had enough of their crap. It's time to declare war on those Hoosier bastards. You know we'd win.
The buffalo (the author uses buffalo and bison interchangeably, as most Americans do) is the last of several very large animals that used to roam North America, the only one to survive into the modern era. Although thought of as a phenomenon of the Great Plains, bison once traversed the entire U.S. except a handful of northeastern states -- English settlers encountered them in Virginia. Rosen tells the familiar, awful story of how 30 to 50 million bison were hunted to near-extinction in just a few decades in the late 1800s, but he also details the lesser-known efforts of the men and women who preserved the handful of wild herds remaining today.
The book begins with sculptor Veryl Goodnight, whose great, great uncle was the legendary cattleman Charles Goodnight. She wanted a baby buffalo to model for a piece called "Back from the Brink" honoring Charles' wife Mary Ann, who bottle-fed buffalo calves to create a herd of bison that lived in Texas' Palo Duro Canyon for a century (in 1997 they were relocated to nearby Caprock Canyons State Park).
The calf, named Charlie, was much more than just a model for Veryl's sculpture. Veryl's husband, Roger Brooks, developed an extraordinary relationship with the rapidly growing buffalo. Having Charlie in their lives led Veryl and Roger to discover many things about the past and present of the species, much of it revolving around Charles Goodnight. Some of the story lines don't have satisfying conclusions, but life is like that.
If I had to find a flaw in this book, it would be Roger's brief criticisms of the Iraq War. Although I agree with him, the comments seem unnecessarily divisive and incongruous (though not out-of-character) in a book that easily could have stood without them. But my wife didn't see them that way, so maybe I'm wrong.
Anyone who has ever loved an animal will enjoy A Buffalo in the House, as will anyone interested in bison or the history of the American West.
Thursday, October 11, 2007
There was a couple seated across the aisle from me, and although I was reading an interesting book, I couldn't help eavesdropping. The woman was upset because she had given a guy (it wasn't clear whether he was a relative or a good friend) some money to get the brakes fixed on his car. "He spent it on drugs," she said.
Later, she was talking about the same guy (I think). She said, "When I talked to him, I thought he was okay. He was talking pro-life. He wasn't talking pro-crackhead." Apparently, in some American subcultures, "pro-life" has nothing to do with abortion. It's about keeping oneself clean and staying alive.
These days I feel so impotentImagine people hating you so much they are willing to cough up $15-20 for FedEx because they can't wait a few days for regular USPS mail. I suppose it's a bit dated (from 1992) because nowadays people would send hate e-mail instantly instead. But just like writing a letter to your congressperson carries more weight than sending an e-mail (so I'm told), hate mail is more effective in hard copy, don't you think?
These days I'm so depressed
I got hate mail coming to my door
via Federal Express
"Strike While The Iron Is Hot" is from the third Vigilantes of Love album, Killing Floor. The album has been released twice, the second version adding three live tracks (the second and third Amazon items below include the extra tracks).
Tuesday, October 09, 2007
Wednesday - "Ladies" NightI don't think it was a transgender place, but the quotes imply that cross-dressers are welcome.
Here's another fun blog that I found in the above blog's links: Literally, A Web Log. My favorite personal example, which I've shared elsewhere, is from a former co-worker. I overheard her tell a friend on the phone, "Omigod, when I heard that, I literally died!"
Nearly 10,000 of the people who filed entries for this 30th annual race were smart enough not to run it... Of the 45,000 who intended to take part in the city's marathon, only 35,867 actually showed up to run. The ones who did not showed good sense.While it is true that nearly 10,000 registered runners did not participate, I am certain that a much smaller number based their decision on the weather. The Chicago Marathon is a very popular event, and as such, it reaches its registration limit early. How early? So early that this year, the event closed in April -- before runners even began training for it! (Most marathon training programs are 14 to 18 weeks.) Needless to say, a lot can happen between April and October. Some people lose their enthusiasm and decide not to even train for the race. Some people get injured along the way and cannot race. People move, people get busy with work, scheduling conflicts arise... Most of those 10,000 people knew long before the weather forecast that they wouldn't be at the starting line. Downey arrogantly declares that those people were wiser than everyone who lined up for the race on Sunday, though he knows nothing of their actual circumstances.
If the race organizers were short on water -- and I believe they were because I trust fellow runners more than I trust professional spinmeisters covering their butts -- then Downey has no basis for blaming the runners themselves. A race registration is a contract of sorts -- you pay your money with the expectation that the race organization will provide whatever is promised. If they say there will be water and Gatorade, then you should expect to get water and Gatorade. Otherwise, you may as well just run 26 miles on your own and save your money. Downey seems to think those expectations should go out the window just because it's hot.
Downey buys the race organization's spin that they procured 200,000 extra servings of water. Do the math. That works out to less than six extra servings per runner, and those cups are pretty small -- I'll say eight ounces to be generous. So the temperature was 15 degrees higher than normal, and they thought runners would only need an extra 40-48 ounces of water during four to six hours of running? (The organizers weakly claimed they didn't expect people to dump water on their heads -- yeah, because no one has ever seen that before.) One friend reported that he drank three gallons of fluids in order to finish on Sunday. Downey seems to think that by providing a few extra servings of water, the race organizers were off the hook. And, of course, that leaves only the runners to blame.
The marathon organization's attempts to shirk responsibility for what happened on Sunday make me sick. Downey's victim-blaming makes me sicker. Stick to team sports, you ignorant bastard.
For a better comment on the controversy, read Eric Zorn's blog.
Sunday, October 07, 2007
Well, it was on the west side of the road. But sometime since July 2005, a bigger Target sprouted up on the east side of the street. Consequently, the Target parking lot where Ride 32 starts is now a big, empty parking lot in front of a vacant building with features reminiscent of a Target. I expected things to change after I wrote my book, but this caught me by surprise. I will add it to the "Book Updates" page soon. The built environment changes so much that writing a guidebook really is like trying to hit a moving Target.
My ride was excellent. For the first time since 2000, I rode west beyond the segment I used for Ride 32 . Needless to say, much has changed as development has run rampant in northern Will County. The OPRT has more street crossings now, and the streets that existed in 2000 are much busier. I continued to the west end of the trail in Joliet and turned around. On the way back, I had time for a couple of detours. First, I pedaled around the north side of the lake in Frankfort Prairie Park. Later I rode up the bike path/sidewalk along Schoolhouse Road to the Hickory Creek Trail. Although it's only three miles long, this is one of my favorite paths. After 43 miles Sunday on the DPRT and 36 miles Friday on the OPRT, I am getting my biking legs back.
Friday, October 05, 2007
I assume the people who ran Oswego High twenty years ago have moved on or retired by now. Fortunately, they've been replaced by more out-of-touch, clueless, overbearing bastards on an authority trip. That's my reaction to the ".08 T-shirt controversy" there.
And people wonder why I refuse to go to high school reunions. Hell, I hated high school so much that I won't even watch TV shows about it, no matter how many people laud "Friday Night Lights." If those were "the best days of my life," I would have killed myself by now.
Thursday, October 04, 2007
A Chicago woman who became enraged after discovering her longtime boyfriend's stash of pornography shot and killed him in their South Side home over the weekend, prosecutors said. Jeanette Strowder, 58, is facing a first-degree murder charge in the Sunday shooting of Jesse Martin, 54, her boyfriend of about 15 years, police said.Maybe those billboards in the Missouri Bible Belt that say pornography destroys lives are right after all.
If you enjoy porn and don't have a psycho bastardess girlfriend, this is your lucky week. Just troll the alleys of Chicago. I'm sure you'll find many boxes of stuff being thrown away by guys who don't want to meet Jesse Martin's fate!
Because hybrids make virtually no noise at slower speeds when they run solely on electric power, blind people say they pose a hazard to those who rely on their ears to determine whether it's safe to cross the street or walk through a parking lot.They want hybrids to make more noise, and that makes sense to me. The problem is that anti-noise advocates disagree:
"To further expose millions of people to excessive noise pollution by making vehicles artificially loud is neither logical nor practical nor in the public interest," said Richard Tur, founder of NoiseOFF, a group that raises awareness of noise pollution.Geez, you just can't do a darn thing in this country without pissing off some special interest group! And here's a guy with his head in the sand:
"The only way to function driving any car, forgetting the fact that it's a Prius, is to just be very careful and see who's around you," said George Margolin of Newport Beach, Calif., who runs a club for Prius owners with his wife. "We have to be as careful as anyone else and perhaps even more so."Sure, that would be nice, but it's just not going to happen. Pedestrians, bicyclists, and other motorists get injured or killed hourly by inattentive drivers. Telling drivers "to just be very careful" isn't going to change anything. I don't trust the guy in his car to protect me. The people on the other side of the windshield -- with or without sight -- need all the help they can get to look out for themselves.
Fortunately, I have a simple solution for the auto industry that will save them millions of dollars in research. Simply install those little plastic tickers like my Big Wheel used to have! The anti-noise people won't like it -- my dad even refused to install that part when assembling later Big Wheels -- but keeping the blind from getting run over is a little more important. Don't they already have it hard enough? (I believe the bravest people in Chicago are the ones I see tapping their way through the El stations.) We can't make the blind see, but we can give the anti-noise people ear plugs.
Tuesday, October 02, 2007
The last time we had tuckpointing done, I was not particularly impressed with the results. Plus, they sent out only one or two guys for a few hours every couple of days, so it took forever. With so many other contractors out there, I wouldn't hire them again. Instead, we hired Arrow Masonry and Exteriors based on a friend's recommendation. She was so adamant about their quality that I didn't even bother to get multiple bids.
Arrow actually gave us a bid last September. Since much of the brick damage was from leaky gutters, however, it made sense to repair/replace those first. Like many home projects, the gutter job languished for several months before I finally hired someone. Even after that was completed, I waited until last month to call Arrow again. It's very easy to procrastinate when the benefit is keeping several thousand dollars in the bank a little longer. Although their original proposal was only valid for 60 days, Arrow said they would still honor the price a year later. I had fully expected to pay an extra 5-10%, so I was thrilled. I mailed in a deposit, and Arrow called on Friday to let me know they would start on Monday. I prepared myself for a week of having workers wandering around the perimeter of our house.
The crew of four arrived at 7 AM. They were finished by 3:30 PM. After our previous tuckpointing experience, I couldn't believe this was a one-day project. On top of that, they replaced about ten more bricks than originally estimated but didn't try to jack up the price. Not only were they efficient, but they did an exceptional job. The work looks great, and the color of the mortar on the face brick matches very well. They left the site clean, and I still can't believe they knocked it out in less than a day. I'd wholeheartedly recommend Arrow Masonry to anyone. Too bad they don't do plastering, flat roof repair, bathroom remodeling, or any of the other things we still need to do. When your house is almost 90 years old, the work never ends.
Monday, October 01, 2007
UPDATED 10/02/2007 - Yesterday afternoon, we ran into two neighbors who asked if we had seen our garage door. If I hadn't been so angry about it, I would have said something like, "Seen it? I painted it myself! Do you like it?" Anyway, apparently everyone else has known about it since Thursday night. I guess that means we should get out more, if only to find out what's happening on our own property. We can go weeks without using the alley (except to throw out garbage, and we hardly step outside the garage to do that), but other people drive or walk their dogs back there every day.