Sunday, April 30, 2006

Sid was kind enough to create a new profile photo, and no, those aren't Larry King's glasses I stole. The last photo made me look too much like Lenin. Or a guy in an old Time Tunnel episode where evidently everyone alive looks like Lenin in the far future, only they are purple and have overbites. One day I'll return the favor by helping Sid find someone who doesn't want to be found, which is what I used to do in a past life. Now I am an on-call clown and thankful that I'm not the guys downtown mixing Aqua Velva with the Night Train to make it last longer. Wayne

Friday, April 28, 2006

Ellroy At Last, But With A Friend

There is a long story behind this guy with the mustache. Years ago, I had expected him to be in the news for opening fire on co-workers or a train car of commuters. He had a violent nature in every manner, and complained about every little thing. I was reading a Superman comic once and, standing near me on the el, he muttered that I should be reading Batman. He disappeared for a few years, and when I saw him again, it was apparent he had had some type of medical procedure. He had lost weight, had a vacant stare similar to my own, and, most importantly, still muttered and complained, but kept to himself. I felt like Miles Bennell in INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS. I call him Ellroy because I used to be afraid to ask him his real name because there was a time he would actually swing out at other passengers and pedestrians. I have been trying to take a photo of him for months and this time I got a lagniappe--somehow the old nicotine-stain bearded meltdown from in front of the County Trust Building ended up in the photo. The only other person I have yet to photograph is this guy who listens to his Walkman, sings on the bus, and always, without fail, has several liters of Tab and drinks from one as he warbles. I'm just saying I don't make these people up, is all. --Wayne

Thursday, April 27, 2006

The Following Sea

I was emailing a friend in Pennsylvania about another writer friend in L.A. who committed suicide early this century. Clinical depression is a bitch, and it really is hard treading the water at times. The phrase 'the following sea' is a nautical term, one meant for boaters to be aware of the waves behind them, not just the path they are headed towards. I often find myself seeing those waves behind me--refer to my Long Thoughts post--and realize that living itself is a daily struggle we all have. I can go to the Red Lion for open mike and be around my closest friends, but eventually I am back to waiting on the el platform with a border collie at home. Buddy the Mitch, Buddy because my nieces wanted him named that, Mitch for Mitchum, thus completing the greatest film star's nickname of Bobby The Mitch. Of late, I have started calling my collie Brokeback Buddy, but that's another story, mostly PG-17. There are many things both great and small that keep me from taking the dirt nap. But it doesn't mean I can't joke, say me and Marty are in front of the Red Lion and I see the Grim Reaper with his scythe gesturing, and I'd say to Marty, "Hey, gotta go. Here's my ride." Your chattel, Wayne

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Only The Dead Know Graceland

If anyone read Chris Turek's comment, he is referring to actual incidents with the Elvis band I did indeed work for from 1979 until 1981, when our star got arrested while stealing VCRs to support his coke habit. Hypothetically, I may have been a part of a group of roadies who, along with the band, had been drinking at the old Prime & Tender on 63rd & Harlem, then went to Brandy's Restaurant at 63rd & Cicero knowing that between eight of us we had about three dollars combined. Everyone ordered steak & eggs, then ran like hell down gangways of the houses around Midway. If I had been a part of that, if it didn't happen on a parallel Earth, I'd say it was the closest I'd felt to being a street thug in a leather jacket bought on Maxwell Street. Maybe my penance has been made, because I gave the ultimate sacrifice in the summer of 1980 while we played Cesar Dovalina's La Margarita's in Bolingbrook nightly for three weeks. I was working the spotlight, standing on two chairs, it was near the close with Brad singing "Can't Help Falling In Love." I'm following him back and forth across the stage, stepping from chair to chair, but at one point, a busboy took one of the chairs to plop his fat @$$ onto as he smoked. I stepped into thin air, I knocked the top part of the light off and recovered by grabbing over the top with my right arm, to keep as much light hitting the stage as possible, only my shirt was this fake silk, polyester, shimmery salmon deal with cuffs halfway up my forearms, and the shirt lit up in seconds. I slapped the flame out against the wall behind me and the drummer just played louder so no one could hear me swearing, the cuff fell away from the sleeve and after the show ended a cute waitress rubbed what I swear was the owner's Preparation H on the burn, but I was never certain. The long gone pink mark reminded me of the damn shirt's color, which really should have been worn by either England Dan or John Ford Coley, not me. There are other tales I have that begin "Back when I was with the Elvis band...", but these are the two Chris brought up. I wish there was a way he could link this to the Second City Cop blog, so that all the coppers might know that Rick Saucedo is playing a benefit at the precinct house at Augusta & Wood this coming Saturday. Cop rock. By the way, the title is a goof on Thomas Wolfe's "Only The Dead Know Brooklyn," and I used the title for an article I eventually sold to Jasmine Sailing's Cyber-Psychos A.O.D. in Denver. I realize that this entry is long, but please consider the subject matter. Wayne has left the blogspot, thank you and goodnight.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Back When I Worked With The Elvis Band...

We would go see Rick Saucedo perform at Field's Supper Club at 105th and Cicero, around there. He was one of the few impersonators who did the show while Elvis was alive. I saw him tonight at St. Albert the Great, Burbank's Polish church. I hadn't seen him since ChicagoFest, back when Jane Byrne was mayor. He still has a decent voice, but I got to thinking of my days with the SouthSide Jump Band and how the 70s became the 80s in a hole-in-the-wall tavern named Laurel & Hardy's at 63rd and Lawndale, and Brad did the New Year's countdown and I was soon kissed by several dozen women of all ages as I handled the light box above the stage. Saucedo performed two forty minute sets at a cost of ten dollars; I took a trip to the bathroom during the break, doused my face with water, stared in the mirror, and envied that fat bastard from Memphis because he was dead. ...Wayne

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

High Drama on Halsted Street

Today a schizo got on the el at Halsted and it took all of ten seconds for him to flip out. There was a stretch of track before the Roosevelt stop, so all the tourists in town from Delaware for the Cubs game had the hippy-hippy shakes. He accused one girl of pouring acid on him in some past life he had. Small world, a guy on the train, Mike with some long Polish last name, works with Larry Santoro. I run into him again, the Mike guy, an hour after the melodrama. The CTA security dude confronted the moon man and he calmed down top an extent. Still ranting, but at least more entertaining. I took a photo and will post it soon; for now, you get the skyline as we see it from the train as it curves towards Roosevelt Road. Bye. Wayne

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Back To The Farm

My cousin Danny sent some very eerie photos, I have a set in color from a different POV, of my grandmother's farm before it was torn down, the shots were taken last Labor Day, when Katrina had already demolished New Orleans. This porch was where Mamaw, my great-grandmother Amanda, would sit in her rocking chair. She passed away in October of 1972 and on the late night drive to Louisville, trying to unsuccessfully beat the reaper as others witnessed her last breath, WJJD kept playing Elvis singing "Burning Love," which was released that day. I'm stuck with memories of that song, bright headlights in a dark as sin night on the interstate, nothing but truckers for company and my face reflected in the rear window amidst a hundred stars in a not-yet polluted sky. The things that stick with you, I tell you. Wayne

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Watership Down and the Brothers Grimm

It's been spring AND summer in the past few days, but today is Saturday, by far the quietest day of the week. A day to start by sitting with my border collie watching rabbits rummage in the front yard of the long-abandoned Hansel & Gretel house next door. It is a day when I can have the same patience as Buddy the Mitch, be content to just watch the rabbits burrow. It was good to do this and not pick up the mystery novel at my side, the dog had long since plopped down on the edge of my little porch, head in paws. After about an hour, the real day started, when the guy next door started working on his motorcycle and those getting ready to host Easter dinner went about making things presentable with their weed-whackers and leaf blowers. The rabbits had retreated into the deserted backyard, the dog and I continued the day's follies indoors. As ever, Wayne

Thursday, April 13, 2006

I'm Going To Purgatory For This

It's Good Friday. I am Roman Catholic and I don't think my attachment will damn me too much. I might have to smoke a few turds in purgatory, but I wanted to share. Wayne

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

That Day...

They are playing the 911 tapes on the news and I've seen the trailer for UNITED 93. The events on 9/11 happened while I was in transit to the Loop. People were reading TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD because that was the choice for the One Book, One City program. I read that years ago, instead I had a printed copy of Marty Mundt's "Pennies From Mr. Heaven" to look over. The Pentagon was hit when I was getting off the train and by the time I got to my old office the towers had fallen. I still hold in so much anger over the events of that day, and I am somewhat surprised that no one has blown himself up in one of our buildings. As ever, Wayne

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Missing Links

I finally added links to my other blogger chums. Sid & Chris both tried to help, but it was an IM from Jon that got me in the zone. The IM could be a transcript from an OnStar radio commercial. I am so entirely stupid, even a Luddite would break wind in my general direction. The photo reflects my brain and stressed-out body after completing the Case of The Missing Links. Seeya. Wayne

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Over dere by the Viaduck...

I had lunch with Marty on Friday. I owed him a meal. We ate at Clarke's on Belmont. Marty had chicken fingers and tomato juice. I had a waffle slathered in butter and maple syrup. And a Coke. At 4:00 in the afternoon. Wonder who will live longer? I'm just saying, is all. Wayne

Monday, April 03, 2006

Would You Rather...?

Let's face facts. One would think I have had very little influence on my nieces, right? It's true. Don't believe me? Here are examples: Ashley is now 14 and drawing manga and playing an acoustic guitar. The first song she learned was the theme from HALLOWEEN. No influence from me, no sir. And I can remember sitting with her in my lap listening to Barney the dinosaur sing "Down By The Sea" about fifty times in one year. When Ashley was about 7, she had a friend upstairs in my quaint living quarters that I call "Frankenstein's Den" and the friend saw all my Elvis stuff and said matter-of-factly that her mother said Elvis died from doing drugs. Now, I doubt either of the girls knew what drugs were, but Ashley felt the need to defend the King's memory. She told her friend also quite matter-of-factly that Elvis died fighting pirates. Again, I had nothing to do with this, and I have no pirate paraphernalia anywhere. Maybe there was a pirate in that Barney song. Which leads me to this: a few weeks back there was a dinner for my father's 75th birthday, and as I sat there with the rolls working on my eighth butter pat, Grace and Allie, twins and currently the same age as Ashley when she defended Elvis, confronted me with a game of Would You Rather...? Grace's first question, as a momentary lull fell over the dining room, was "Would I rather cut off my finger or lick peanut butter off of a hobo?" Again, no influence from Uncle Wayne. You think?