Wednesday, October 31, 2007

This is my last blog post in my 30s

Yep. Just a few hours left before the odometer rolls over again. At this point, I'm glad to be getting it over with. Maybe tomorrow I can dispense with the "Oh man ... where am I? What the hell am I doing?" crap I've been obsessed with for the last year.

I know that if I look back at my 30s, I can find plenty of positive things about them, things to be happy about. Such as, I maintained and strengthened some old friendships, I hung onto the same job for the whole decade, and I traveled to some interesting places for the first time – New York, New England, New Mexico, Colorado, Southern California, Canada. Not to mention that I moved to a big new city and learned to do a halfway decent job of getting by on my own there.

And I also know that if I look back at my 20s – which I generally regard as my peak years – I can find a lot to feel crummy about. I floundered as a lawyer for a while after getting out of school and bailed on that career after about a year. I got divorced. And I was broke most of the time. Especially that last one. I can definitely say one thing for sure about my 30s that I can’t say about my 20s – I have been solvent. Not rich, but solvent.

Sure, I have a lot of the same furniture I had when I was 20, and I seem to be kind of stalled somewhere in the mid-1990s in a lot of ways. Plus, I tend toward bitterness, self-loathing, and social withdrawal. But at least I ain’t broke!

Let’s see, what else? During my 30s, I co-authored two books, I had several of my zines displayed in a couple of gallery shows in Chicago, and, in the earlier part of the decade, I even wrote about a hundred pages of fiction that isn’t all horrible, even if I do say so myself. I finally got to see Roky Erickson play, along with a whole bunch of other great shows. I did a lot of cooking, and got better at it. I got to see Harry Shearer and Ken Nordine at video showings, and literally bumped into both of them. I even found Ken Nordine’s house, and the apartment building where Bob Newhart and Suzanne Pleshette lived on TV. And I saw Bob Newhart unveil his bronze “Dr. Hartley” statue, and was briefly visible in the cable TV special filmed there.

Oh yeah, and the White Sox won the World Series.

I have lived the whole time within spitting distance of the studio where Charlie Chaplin made shorts in the 19-teens, and almost as close to the site where the Three Stooges hired Larry Fine, which are only two notable examples of showbiz history this neighborhood can boast.

Speaking of this neighborhood, I'd be remiss if I didn't mention the food here. I can walk two blocks in one direction to enter a wonderland of pho, banh mi, and Chinese barbecue ... and walk two blocks the other way to reach smelling range of an amazing mix of Scandinavian and Middle Eastern groceries, bakeries, and restaurants.

If I get thirsty, I got the Hopleaf, the Edgewater, and good old Simon's right here. (My first drink at Simon's Tavern was about 9 years and 11 months ago, by the way. Barely - barely into my 30s.) And Carol's Pub is a short ways down the pike if I need it. Until recently, the Lakeview Lounge gave me all the David Lynch moments I could handle.

Elsewhere in Chicago during my 30s, I have gotten stoned on a rooftop in Ukrainian Village and watched the sunset bounce off the onion domes of the cathedral, I have drunkenly watched the traffic on Lake Shore Drive from a rooftop in Lakeview, and I have drunkenly attempted (unsuccessfully) to score coke while simultaneously hitting on (also unsuccessfully) a stripper at (this one was in Lincoln Park, I think, but I am not 100% sure) Thurston's (hey, you gotta TRY, once in a while, even schlubbs like me, I mean, come on -- DISCLAIMER: this one might be semi-fictionalized ... but my story and I'm sticking to it is that it's merely slightly exaggerated for fun purposes, although I'm honestly not certain exactly where reality segues into fantasy, which is, you could say, another sign that my 30s weren't all bad. You could. Say.).

I have also drunkenly danced in a roomful of people on New Year’s Eve in a flannel sack – twice.

And - sometimes drunkenly and/or stonedly but not always - I have been privileged to watch some of my friends raise their kids, which is something I never would have imagined would be so fun and rewarding to see.

Yeah, so, the material’s there, if I want to be positive about it. I guess it wasn’t all a waste. Plus, as my little sister jotted on a birthday card I received today, “At least you aren’t 50!”

Saturday, October 27, 2007

World-record delayed-reaction laff

Here's how dumb I am sometimes -- I have watched the movie "This Is Spinal Tap" probably a dozen times, at least, and I only just recently finally got the joke from when they mention playing at the "Isle of Lucy." I always just thought it was a kind of obtuse goof on the Isle of Wight. Sheez. Hah!

Isle of Lucy, I get it! Only 23 years later!

"Ahn dass whyee joo no can bee een da cho', Loosie!"

"Ohh, Rickyyy!"

"Ajaja! Joo stoopee cont!"


Thursday, October 25, 2007

I believe I can listen to this man play flute all day

Rahsaan Roland Kirk.

"Seasons" in Montreux 1972

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Teresa Brewer, 1931-2007

Such a voice. Rest in peace.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Rocktober: The M!ch!gan Ed!t!on

Electrophonic Tonic as covered by Alvin Youngblood Hart, Gary Rasmussen(original bassist of Sonic's Rendezvous Band), Ed Michaels-Drums

Sonics Rendezvous Band - City Slang

The Solution - I Have to Quit You

Detroit Cobras - Shout Bama Lama (Live Tampa Nov 06)

Bob Seger System - Lucifer

Grand Funk Railroad - Are You Ready (live 8/31/69)

MC5 - Lookin At You (live) 1970

20 To Life: The Life And Times Of John Sinclair

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Stronger Than Nemo in Slumberland

Last night around midnight (I know what time it was because I woke up and saw the clock afterwards) I dreamed that I was body surfing in Hawaii and having a lot of fun at it, and when I finally got tired and went back up on the beach, Al Gore was standing there in the sand, wearing a big gaudy pair of JAMS shorts and holding my glasses for me, his arm extended out past his huge white hairy gut, gripping the bridge of the frames between his thumb and forefinger, with an aloof expression on his face like a slightly disaffected butler.


It's several months late to commemorate Hoyt Axton's birthday, and a couple weeks early to commemorate his death (and that would be kind of morbid anyway), so I don't have an angle for posting these, but the whim strikes anyway.

Hoyt Axton and Jerry Jeff Walker - Joy to the World

Hoyt Axton - Rusty Old Halo

Hoyt Axton and John Inmon - Della and the Dealer

Saturday, October 06, 2007

"Let's root, root, root for the Cubbies! If they don't win, it's business as usual!"

Here I am, as promised, taking credit for being right about one of the immutable laws of nature. There are small number of sure things. I can think of two off the top of my head. Charlie Brown will never succeed at kicking the damn football. And the Cubs will never fail to suck. This game isn't even over yet ... but, seriously, dudes, it's over. As always, and ever.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Today in YouTube as a Remedy to the "Damn I missed it" Syndrome Today

Damn, I missed this bit of last years Touch & Go Records anniversary party over by The Hideout, but, at least there's a video, hey? (Undergoing a bit of a Quasi revival in Chez Stdpm, for some reason, lately.)

Anyway, although I wasn't actually there at the time this was digifotomagooed, I was there for a lot of the rest of it, and I think the spiel the guy delivers at the beginning, the guy who looks like Howie Mandel's nephew, is pretty accurate, in a sort of ... "ahh jesus, what the fuck is wrong with my generation" (but in a sort of semi-affectionate, almost non-self-hating sort of kidding kind of fake-but-painful sock in the puss) way. Yeah, like that.


Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Pay No Attention to That Cubs Losing Behind the Curtain

Watch this instead:

Monkees - Randy Scouse Git

Kick Ass

This is the first video for this song I've yet seen ... this one from some French TV show in 1980, allegedly ...

Captain Beefheart - Safe As Milk

Let's Go Driving in the Car, Car: A YouTube Posting

Heard this on the commute to work yesterday morning on WLUW, in the lentil soup fog at about 7 a.m., on Sheridan Road up by Winnetka near Tower Road shortly before the segue into the ravine-go-round:

Can - Vitamin C

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Today in "One Year Ago Today" Today: October 2006 Sports Predictions for 2007: How'd I Doin'?

Not so good.

On October 2, 2006, in a post charmingly titled, "Cubs fans finally complete transformation into walking rectums with dumb blue caps," I spazblogged as follows:

The fact that there are any Cubs fans at all is bewildering enough. The fact that in 2006, more than 3.12 million tickets were sold for the last place team's 81 home games is a mystery for the ages. But the fact that an apparent majority of these people paid among the highest prices in professional baseball to show up and boo, cuss, and whine like ... well, like little Bostonians -- that's just something else.

Well, now they don't have Dusty Baker to kick around anymore. Unfortunately, there's about zero chance that the Cubs won't suck hard again next season. And three million people will show up to complain about it.

But that's an easy prediction to make, even on the first day of the off-season. Yes, the 2007 Cubs will stink to high heaven. Unfortunately, I have a bad feeling -- supported by nothing other than intuition -- that the White Sox are going to be stuck in 3rd place all next year, and by July, a large and loud contingent of fans will be screaming for Ozzie Guillen's head on a plate.

(emphases added)

Hm. In my defense, I was almost right about the White Sox, except they ended up in 4th and were in last for a large part of the year. And instead of Ozzie getting decapitated, he got a contract extension.

But I was right about the Cubs stinking, right?! Right???


OK, well, I'll check back here Saturday -- after they get a few actual playoff games under their girdles -- and we'll see just how much they don't suck then.

RIP Osterizer 1995 - 2007

Hudson County, New Jersey, Correspondent One O Ball writes:

She was an excellent blender. Served well and often for well over a decade, used daily during spring and summer. She started life on The Cardigans tour bus and probably got the workout of her life there. Retired to the House O' Ball and lived out her years making whiskey slushes. An inadvertent loose replacement of the blade fixture after a washing, unfortunately, caused her internal injuries beyond repair. She will be missed.