Thursday, December 31, 2009

Fuck off 2009

I’m tired and I’m glad it’s all over. The year of ’09. The end of my gall bladder. With it goes the decade of debauchery and the end of my twenties. I’m no longer an innocent kid and these no longer are innocent times. In the last decade all fantasies have crashed and shattered liked teeth in a horrible nightmare. The internet bubble, the housing market, values, cuddling, the American Dream, religion, liberty, stature, banking, American automotives, and most anything that seemed too good to be true; suddenly wasn’t.

‘Sag ‘is the best word to describe what we’ve become. An ugly lump of something that is excessive and unsightly. The new millennium started off with a y2k fear that turned quickly into a television punch line. It was the birth of the Bush administration and the death of my mother. It was the last year space was free of man, meaning a human has been in space continuously ever since. A Nero type image pops into my head as I type this ignoring the damn TV puking out TMZ. My profession was set I was going to work in radio. I was a sponge working at Chicago’s US*99 training from the best. I loved it, and I knew I would do whatever it took to be the best. Life had a plan and it seemed simple.

2001 crashed our comfort level forever as we watched the twisted steel on all the networks paint an image of destruction that will forever be vivid and horrible to anybody over the age of seven forever. I was scared, but I was now a morning show host and I had a town to comfort. I blew it, as I was too young to know my role, and understand my responsibility. I faked sadness over the airwaves while fear fell from my brow and anger pumped through my heart. My mother got struck down by a train in September of ’00, and then my country got hit by a plane in September of ’01. Mother and country crashing before me in the most symbolic of ways --it was all quite frightening. But all of us were new to terrorism and there were no right answers. However in hindsight we see an endless supply of wrong ones. Oh well. Live and Let Learn!

2002 made sure no child was left behind and I hung on for the ride. I was falling into my own on the radio, even if it wasn’t focused or understood as a man or a character to my audience or myself. I had become good at faking it and the ratings started to reflect it. The country was fairly united for the first time in a long time and despite the obvious black eye everything felt safe. Like a beaten mother resting soundly in a warm bed at Grandma’s housed. I don’t remember hearing the buckling wood or sensing the changing tide. I was on a patriotic high mixed dangerously with cocaine I used to get from a navel recruiter who had a fondness for wife swapping and drinking. Things were fun and I started to really enjoy the world around me. I met the farmers and liked them and we seeded a new friendship as odd as a hybrid as it seems. The US of A invaded Afghanistan. Time to witness how bad ass our military really is I thought. I figured a short term mission like the first Gulf War; the only war I’d really witnessed in my short life, and my only reference point, was how it was going to roll. But things seldom turn out as planned. I remember getting a death threat from a listener just as the DC sniper was terrifying the east coast. I was still frightened and alone.

2003 the fear subdued. I had a nice apartment and great ratings. The sales staff wasn’t selling anything as the station was a hard story to pitch. But I felt good and was now in full control as the stations morning show host and program director. It was my vision, and it was working. It was older country with an outlaw poetic sprit somewhere between classic rock and who gives a fuck; a musical gypsy of sorts. I became cocky and firm in my standing with the station. I was new to power and certainly didn’t understand it being a poor kid with no prior control. I was a dick, and a big one from a well produced porn studio. A real asshole full speed on nose candy and confidence.

2004 a major milestone is set as Facebook is created. As silly as it seems there is no denying its impact and power, even if not fully yet understood. John Kerry flip flops like a Jimmy Buffett song as he fails to uproot the now over grown Bush flowering in Washington. How could somebody fuck up something so simple? People got pissed and all good feelings were lost. I had a new General Manger who didn’t like my direction with the radio station. The writing was on the wall everything was about to get sloppy. September hits hard and I get fired. I really start to hate September just the sound of that word makes me nauseous. Like many of my generation with hardly a lift off my professional career, my dreams, my identity…change. We are defined by how we make a living it’s just the description of the times. Unlike previous generations we don’t get to pick our jobs and them with the promise of hard work and dedication. Once we become comfortable they cut our hours, lay us off, or bring in a plethora of new faces preventing anybody from becoming overpriced.

2005 sent me back home to Chicago and my friends and family. Things had changed. My father was now alone and didn’t’ mind company. My friends also had a more playful attitude and the ‘who gives a shit’ disease is easy to catch and they offered a lot of warm blankets on those cold Chicago nights. It seemed to me as if the young people realized that the old people won’t let go of their jobs and toys. So all we can ever be is the middle, so fuck it, get a job waiting tables and just have fun. Live on the luxury that technology freely or cheaply affords us and just enjoy the struggle. I started taking classes at Second City a dream of mine. When one dream ends we wake up shower and start again. At night when the mind is right and the REM is high a new dream begins and the magic starts all over again. I worked at a Polish radio station pushing a button once an hour for a decent wage and a plethora of new Polish jokes including one about a dead pope. None of my contemporaries really cared when the pope died as priests and small boys scared us away years ago. The polish did care, one of the last few cultures still hanging on to a dying religion. If that’s not scary enough yea North Korea got a bomb, and the reason they gave was, ‘they don’t like us and our aggression.’

2006 felt like everything was getting back to normal whatever the hell normal was and is. Second City was nearing its completion and I was uncertain of my future yet never worried about it. I could become a great comedic mind, I could return to the radio, or I could try to find a new world and a new profession. It was all very exciting thinking back on it. I watched Saddam Hussein hang on youtube a very strange yet patriotic sight. I guess most patriotism is strange when you think of it from the eyes of humanity. It’s also when I discovered weird and strange free sex on craigslist. It was all becoming very interesting and gross and dangerous.

2007 was when the fun really started to end. Things felt like they were about to get rough and this time we all knew that it was real. I decided I needed to work in a trade other then radio in order to get health insurance, more hours, more money, and a new skill set just in case the shit would hit the fan just as we all knew it would. I started selling beds and enjoyed the work very much for the most part. It wasn’t radio but I didn’t expect it to be. I was on my last year training at Second City now in the Conservatory thinking I might have a shot at comedy and making money. If not I had my safety net firmly in place with job selling beds. I was fairly content and started smoking pot (I had quit everything when I returned to Chicago) to keep things interesting. When Foot and Mouth disease struck the UK terrified up tight white liberals flocked straight to Whole Foods and over priced groceries. Politically the rest of the world was as voltaic as our gas prices, but the United States was in a State of hold. We all were. Waiting for the fall perhaps, but we all knew CHANGE was on the horizon and we HOPED for the best. At the end of ’07 I started with the Comedy group I still perform with today.

2008 started as just another year. It was an election year and that’s what the story was. The comedy group was coming together and finding itself. The bedding job was slow and most of the time my co-workers and myself debated the elections. I wanted McCain but the world wanted Obama. The stores were very, very, very slow so we had a lot of time to talk. The markets crashed. The sales plummeted. People panicked. 2008 ended with Obama winning the office of President and me losing my job. Thankfully Obama had a soft spot for the laid off which I was now…E pluribus unum (our country’s motto: One of Many).

2009 a wild and wonderful and weird year. The unemployment started to roll in and I had nowhere to work except my own mind and my own madness. I had no responsibility and no shame as the only jobs available to me I was vastly over qualified for and they paid less then what the government was giving me in unemployment wages. So if I settled for less I would hurt myself and that’s un-American. So I went to the beach. I drank a lot. I watched a lot of news, smoked a lot of dope, read a lot of books, cried a lot of tears, and wondered a lot of thoughts. Nights when I was sane were the bad ones and the uninteresting ones the nights when I found insanity were full of color and perfection. Everything started coming into perspective just as I hit thirty. Then I almost died while losing my gall bladder yet survived to discover many of my tastes had changed, and life was more wonderful even as I began to value you it less. Then I figured it was time to get back to work so I became a grave yard salesman.

I still don’t feel right as I’m broken and confused a failure of a man floundering aimlessly --and to me the fucking scary part is I look around and I’m not alone. My friends, my neighbors, my enemies, and my family all stuck on the same sinking fucking ship. Is that all it is? Did we simply board the wrong vessel? What’s my big picture? What’s the worlds? Fuck if I know! Besides I’m too busy trying to figure out how to increase my sales numbers at work to even think about it. Maybe that’s a good thing. Maybe that’s a horrible thing all I know is I’m happy this decade is behind us. I’m even going to watch tonight to make sure no floaters escaped the flush.

I have to say entering 2010 I don’t feel scared. Concerned and confused, yes. But fear is no longer driving it. I think we’ll be ok I just hope now is the time we the young stand up and fight for something. Something tangible, not hope, but something real. Our piece of the pie, and our responsibility to bake a new one once the current one is gone. I feel like we’ve kind of let it slide and shrugged our shoulders with an Avril Lavigne manufactured attitude for the last decade while our parents ran the show and if we don’t act now we’ll lose out to those computers whizzes behind us. I feel like we do now indeed have a sense of urgency and understanding that now is the time; and the work has to be done. Smoke breaks over boys, but fuck it we let them ban smoking anyway so who the hell really cares. Bring on those wild teen years I’m ready to rebel.

I don’t know where this is going to go I just know ten years from now I will look back at this gibberish and laugh at my youthful ignorance of it all.


P.S. FUCK OFF 2009 and take your shitty decade with you. Happy New Year Fellow Travelers.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

The Protection of the Moqui Ball,

I don’t know what I want to write because I don’t know what I need to write. I don’t know who I am, or where I am going, or what anything means anymore. I feel like a man on fire running around frantically looking for water and relief yet all I find is smiling faces. The flesh is starting to burn –stop, drop, and roll dummy. To late the damage is done and the smell of burning flash is in the air.

At thirty I’m one of the lost boys only the bite is gone and so is the fun. I have nothing to show for anything I’ve done except a selfish confusion looking back at me in the mirror from a man who won’t grow up. I missed the bus and I have nobody to blame but my own damn self. But for Christ’s sake it’s more helpful placing the blame on others, and after all he did die for our sins.

I was thirty minutes late for work today because I couldn’t find a special rock given to me by a special girl, who in the process gave me a special purpose. It all started a week ago when this girl gave me this rock as a Christmas present. My mind didn’t know how to respond when I saw the little round rock since I’ve never been given a rock for a present in the past, or really put much thought into rocks in general for that matter. So I smiled. She explained that Moqui Ball (aka the rock) have a protective quality to them and can absorb negative energy and turn it positive. I commented how nicely it felt in the hand, which it indeed does. She went on to tell me they can help center the soul and take a person home. I remembered how passionate she was about rocks, and if the rock was special to her it was special to me. Plus she added it looked like an acorn which given the fact she likes to be called Squirrel made perfect sense.

I did what most Americans do to just about everything they don’t fully understand. I googled it. The moqui ball/marble (Iron oxide concretion) is found in the Navaho sandstone and seems to be indigenous to the United States. They have been used by Shaman for thousands of years and have a great mythical history. In mythology and spirituality they are known as a tool to talk to the dead and indeed are known for their protective qualities. The Navaho believed their dead spirits would play games with the marbles and leave them behind to let the living know they are still around and having fun. From a geologists stand point it’s an extremely rare formation that is not fully understood. Given that knowledge I became more intrigued by the rock.

I carry a lot of things on my persons and in the winter time my inventory increases with the addition of a coat. Common items found on me are a tin of Altoids, a hard cover copy of the United States Constitution (for good luck), my phone (in case you call), my keys, my wallet, gloves, Ray-Bans (when I need to hide), about two dollars in random change, a lighter, a catholic cross (for redemption), a ring my mother gave me just before she met Jesus, a can of New York PD mace, a small note book (who knows when genius will strike), a click pencil (never leaks in your fucking pocket like a pen), and random slips of paper filled with my insanity. Given my need to travel heavy, and already chalked full of symbolism and fate the rock seemed like a perfect addition.

So the rock entered my pocket, and over the next few days I found it to be in my hand more and more. People would ask me about the rock and I would hand it to them and explain the story about the Indians and their dead playing marbles. Most people looked at me like I was crazy which was making me grow found of the little rock. But they all held it and listened as a rambled the story as best I could.

My grandmother is nearing the end of her life and that has been really weighing heavy on my mind. She has a great story of a woman who always worked. My grandfather was an electrician and my grandma worked in a factory. They raised my mother, although I know nothing of those years. What I do know is my grandfather started losing his mind due to a tumor (what they called it). My grandmother cared for him right up to the end as he died young in his sleep in his early fifties. After a few years of grieving she became a nanny and helped raise a young surgeon’s child. In that time she met a man by the name of Dominick who she loved. They had a great time together for many years going to Vegas, so much so they moved there. The only time I saw her in those ten years was when she returned here to help me bury my mother. They lived a good ten years in the desert before he died a few months ago. My grandmother grieved but seemed ok, as she had been there before. Last month she had a heart attack and the people who were supposed to care for her sold he apartment out from under her. She recovered and found herself in a nursing home. For the first time she needed somebody to take care of her and nobody was around to do it. I felt like a failure of a man. Here I am at thirty and I couldn’t even find a way to visit her let alone take care of her.

Her situation was unfair and unacceptable and she deserved better. She also knew she deserved better and I could hear it in her stoic voice. It might make you think of me as a lesser man to know I cried for my grandmother, but I would argue a lesser man wouldn’t cry at all. How could life punish such a beautiful creature, I questioned God.

It was Christmas Eve and I had the rock in my pocket protecting me. My cell phone rang and it was my grandmother. She was very happy and was inviting me to a Christmas Party. I told her Vegas was far too long of a drive. She told me she was in Oak Brook (a Chicago suburb). I pulled the car over. She explained further. The surgeon my Grandma used to nanny for flew her out to their mansion where she will now live until her pending dinner date with Jesus is scheduled. She will die in a warm bed surrounded by the people who love her while enjoying the things she enjoys before she passes. It was a real honest to God Christmas miracle. No matter if it was God’s little gift, the small brown rock, or fates right hand I'm very impressed and reborn with a stronger vigor to the betterment of humanity and an absolute belief in its beauty. Grandma's going to have a happy ending after all. A story book ending in a youtube era.

So the rock was with me then, and has remained with me since. What I’ve learned in that time is for a protective ball it needs a lot of protection of its own. It’s round and rolls with ease, and at times even falls out of my pocket. It’s rolled off my desk and a few times and I have had to crawl to find it. When the rock is alone it becomes very cold to the touch however when it’s in contact with humans or near people in general it becomes warm. I read somewhere about its powers during sleep so now it remains in my hand as I sleep comfortably. When I wake in the morning its hot as a cup of coffee no matter how cold the room is.

I don’t know if the rock is anything more than a rock or if it has special powers. I just don’t know so I carry it as a good luck charm and in this last week it’s become more than that. I was staring at it thinking of my grandmother, and how excited I am to see her. I was thinking how I couldn’t wait to tell her about the rock and have her hold it in her hand. That’s when it all became clear. By protecting the rock I can protect myself and together we both stand strong…like a rock. If the rock can’t give me power I can give it some, and protect it. So if it really has power it’s protecting me. If it has none I’m protecting it.

For the rest of my life the rock will remain with me and everybody I care about will touch it. My father, my grandmother, my friends, my co-works, and every person from here on out will hold the rock. Some will fade with time, some will fade with relationship, and some will outlast me, but all of them will have touched the rock good or bad. When they touch it, they will become a piece of my history. As I grow older its value will increase as the stories of those who’ve touched it will increase. The rock will become my history and my legacy. If I go on to produce a large family my grandchildren will sit and stare with wonder about grandpa’s rock. It will be the start of the family history and my legacy and my stories will be passed down within through the ages until they become our stories. If I die famous the rock will become valued and probably placed in a museum along with our story. If I die poor and alone so will the rock just to be thrown out and forgotten. So by valuing the rock I’m valuing myself. The rock has eternity while I’m on borrowed time so my only hope is to make the rock my life. Fossilize my existence breathing life into the lifeless.

I can see it now ten years from now me running madly into a department store ranting franticly about a lost rock. What will they think of me? Who cares? I told a co-worker this plan today and when I finished he asked to hold the rock. The value is already increasing. What a great and unexpected present, thanks Squirrel.

A special girl gave me a special rock and now in many ways I have found myself with a special purpose and a great ending to the dismal year of 2009.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

A Mama's Boy Wishes His Mother A Happy Birthday.

She was raped one night by a few men. Her childhood was lost way to young or more accurately never progressed as the tragedy killed any chance of adulthood. She found drugs and the freedoms of pleasures as she sought to bury her pains by creating an illegal smile. She was pretty, almost a model but not good enough. She met a young doctor with money and married him as that’s what girls like her do. She had it all figured out and her future was set.

The demons of the past haunted her, and her mind left her long before the security and comforts around her would follow. She became pregnant the doctors told her that she drank too much, was and is way too unstable to have a child. They recommended she needed to abort the baby. The doctors were right, but she refused. Maybe that’s all life is…a refusal to die.

She stopped drinking and fought the depression and nine months later I was born. Because of her persistent nature and stubborn attitude I was conceived teaching me at a young age the value of life. It took a strong stand by a strong woman to create me –creation is easy just ask God; it’s the follow through that matters and that’s when the work really begins. My mother was never a worker.

I grew up on the floors of AA meetings listening to fellow travelers tell their tales of woe over fresh coffee and stale air. I was in first or second grade, and I met Officer Friendly in my class that day. That night I met officer friendly at a meeting and they had to explain to me I couldn’t tell anybody about her attendance. I never told anybody. I listened day in, and day out, about the horrors of life and it’s destructive nature. One day at a time of course.

Dad was gone six years later and money was tight it was just my mother and I versus the world. She tried. She really did. When things became too tough and too routine she gave up. We had no money so she sold her body and her soul so that I could eat and have Nintendo games. There were years where things got better and even times they seemed like they were headed in the right direction. But the crash came fast, and it wasn’t pretty. No crash ever is.

I didn’t understand the madness -- how could you when it’s all you know. It was just me and my mother --what wasn’t normal was perfectly ordinary to me as the weird was my environment. Months without electricity, living in filth, strange men visiting my mom’s bedroom, Bob Dylan’s music, fights with God, and fights with each other was a typical American Family in my own distorted view of the world at large. I lived on an emotional rollercoaster for most of my childhood changing as quickly as the Chicago weather and often with a few key pieces of track missing.

My mother locked me up unjustly in a mental ward. Week after week went by and I became very mad. Mad at the world, mad at my mother, and mad at myself for reason I couldn’t even conjure up. Maybe I was supposed to be violent like the rest of the boys locked up with me? I wasn’t. Perhaps I should have been suicidal like everybody else. I wasn’t. I up until this point in my life was happy. I was confused and I lost my temper and they locked me in the padded room. For most of my life I thought I was the problem and my mother was my salvation but being a fifth grader locked up in a mental ward staring at plush red walls puts everything in perspective. I was misled and lied to, and I wanted to make it right. Shortly after I got out, things started to become clear as I had just come face to face with; real crazy, real bizarre, and the real broken toys nobody wanted to talk about. I was indeed one of them but I was misfiled and more of an observer then a participant. A month and a half of my child hood locked away on the fifth floor of that building.

Four years later after losing everything including a place to live I said good bye to my mother knowing the end was near; I was way too selfish trying to pass high school while trying to be a kid to do anything about it. The last few months were difficult. We first lived with a Viet Nam Vet who would have flash backs in the middle of the night drunk on vodka and smelling of piss too far gone to make the bathroom. I didn’t sleep for a few months as I locked the door to my room which consisted of an air mattress and a television set with a coat hanger for an antenna and a hard steal flashlight for protection. He would yell terrible things into the darkness fighting a war that was up until that point only real to me in a text book. Last I saw of him I got up to take my morning piss and that’s where I found him passed out in the bathroom lying in a pool of blood. He must have hit his head on the toilet as blood was everywhere along with a broken bottle of vodka. I freaked out because I thought somebody scalped him as his hair was hanging half off his head. Turned out it was a toupee and I was late for school.

I still remember the last time I saw my mother as my legal guardian. We had spent a few months living in cars but things were looking up as my mom did what she had to do to get us a little cash and rented a room in a sleazy hotel. It was one room, with a small side bathroom. We had two beds, a TV, our three cats, two dressers, a bible, and a TV guide. To me it was kind of cool living in a hotel and after a few weeks in a car during the winter it was top shelf. We’d been there for two months and my mother seldom left her bed. I left to hang out with friends and avoided a kiss from my mother who was now growing facial hair having given up on all grooming. It was a face of depression, loneliness, and desolation I can never forget, and never will.

My best friend’s father girlfriend took custody of me as the details of my mom’s disappearance were never clear. I lived with them and visited my mother occasionally at different nut houses throughout the Chicagoland area. White sterile walls, interesting characters, orderly’s, nurses, medicine time, strait jackets, rocking, tapping, patting, petting, crying, and laughing. I’ve seen it all and often was able to view it with a smile. A human monkey exhibit and my mother was the ring leader. She always had everybody working for her. One of the first movies I remember watching with her on the brand new VCR when things were better was ‘One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest’. It was always her favorite.

I started to hate to visit her. I vaguely remember my mother telling me she volunteered herself to get electroshock therapy. I remember it was a big deal to her and she was scared. But I didn’t understand what it entailed, and unlike some of the fun crazy houses she had been living in this one was scary to me. I wanted to get out. I did. Next time I saw my mother she was a zombie and a shell of who she once was. She was no long the woman who fought for my life. She was now an empty vessel with no captain and no wind. I thought she was gone, and I was free of her, something I was starting to crave. The depression was out of her eyes but so was everything else.

I saw her less and less and soon I found myself in college starting my own life. My mother was doing better and despite frantic phone calls that would end in her hating me or loving me so much she couldn’t hang up, I kept my distance. She was living on her own with two other ‘roommates’ in shared outpatient assistant living program. My 21st birthday rolled around and my mother insisted I visit her. She hugged me in a way I simply can’t describe. No words regardless of how perfect could convey the feeling of that hug. It felt like it lasted forever and now in hindsight I wish it had. I pushed her away not know what she already knew. She gave me a ring of black onyx, a few hundred dollars (which was a lot for her), and Furby. I brought my friend along as a buffer and quickly rushed away.

I missed a call from her in the middle of the night a few days later. She left a message on my machine that she was going to go on a vacation for a few weeks in Wisconsin. It wasn’t uncommon for her to drift and vanish for a month or so. A few days later in the middle of the night my phone rang and it was the police they wanted to talk to me in person. I knew what happened. She was dead. I called the morgue to see if I needed to verify the body as the police told me I would. They told me she was in bits and pieces and there was nothing to identify. In many ways my mother was always in bits and pieces. She stood in front of the midnight train and SPLASH like a bug on a windshield it was over. She always had a style that I still admire. Happy Birthday ma I do really miss you.

The person who thought me life was worth fighting for, also taught me that if the life isn’t worth living if the situation is that bad it’s ok to check out early. Last year at this time I was extremely depressed and suicidal. But the year of ’09 was approaching fast, and 9 is my lucky number. In symbolism nine represents the end of a journey. I struggled through the remaining weeks ready to face ’09 with a smile but on January 1st I was laid off.

11 months of no responsibility is a dangerous thing for a man seeking out the meaning of his own life. For years I buried my problems in my work and just pressed on. Now with nothing to do at all the only thing I had left was my own madness to face. My grandfather was dead before 60 losing his mind in the process. My mother was dead by the time she was 50 losing her mind in the process. Now here I am facing family history while wondering what my purpose is. It’s a heavy task and a scary sentence I wouldn’t wish on anybody.

I sniff the toilet paper after I wipe my ass just to have something real and revolting to react to. Life has become insanely dull and uninteresting. I felt death on the toilet the other night after accidently taking too many pain pills and it was the worst thing I’ve ever felt and the most frightened I’ve ever been…and it’s all I’ve been craving since. I was depressed and alone at the end of ’08 and I find myself in the same situation at the end of ’09. It all changed, yet it all remained the same, just as it always does. Life goes on but why and for whom?

Given my failures and faults I know where I am in life. I’m a good talker but my limited education will always limit my abilities to climb up a professional ladder. My body and my sadness will keep me alone for a very long time and in many ways I understand it’s actually what I want, and the very solitude I’ve always sought out. I will only be what you think of me and nothing more. So whatever your thoughts of me are is actually what I am; today, tomorrow, and forever. So what does any of it really matter?

I still don’t know what the meaning of life is all about. It’s vain to even seek that answer but really it’s all I got left. I’ll keep faking that smile everybody knows, and hiding my sadness in an effort to make everybody else feel better. I’ve been doing it all my life since somewhere in the past I remember my mother telling me, “people will always like you if you make them smile.” It’s just lately I’ve lost my touch and she to dead to ask what will happen if you make them sad.

Oh well.

Bring on 2010. I hope I find whatever it is I’m looking for. The world seems out of touch just as I’m touching back down onto another runway on my life’s flighty journey. I hope I make my connecting flight.


Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Tragically Beautiful

I left footprints in the snow building a path through the grave yard in the middle of a blizzard that was both inspiring and religious. I wonder if anybody followed, or even noticed. Probably not as most fellow travelers are too busy to notice art, and far too concerned about existence to even care about their ignorance to the art that surrounds them.

I love blizzards --they cause such magnificent havoc and beauty. For a few hours everybody respects nature while damning it loudly. The cold, the wind, the snow, the confusion, the clean up; then it’s all forgotten like it never happened. A fresh white coating of soft, fluffy, and cold snow simply blankets everything, creating the most spectacular and breathe taking example of purity. Like an abstract splash from an unknown deity reminding us that he has a sense of humor, and a playful cruelty.

People become so agitated from driving on the slick slippery roads that they wind up coming home tense, and with the need to unwind. Hot chocolate is made, massages are given, bubble baths are taken, and nobody wants to go back outside forcing shared meals and shared conversation forging shared lives. The blizzard is the perfect example of contradiction. Well, that and a hell of an arrow shot from the bow of Cupid creating a lot of summer babies.

Any Sunday night at around nine PM enter the bar known as Schubas on the corner of Southport and Belmont. Ignore the music coming from the back, skip past the fun atmosphere at the bar, and make an immediate right to enter that small back door. Walk up the stairs and try very hard not to make eye contact with anybody. Once at the top, you will find a small upstairs bar with a few tables. Have a drink, and a seat. Do NOT MAKE EYE CONTACT WITH ANYBODY. NOBODY. You’ve been warned.

What you will witness will horrify you, torture you, and give you the most perfect glimpse into who we are as a culture. A live action insane asylum will play just remember the ammunition is live and the bar is fully stocked with liquid courage to calm the nerves of the strange faces surrounding you. They are going to need it, and so are you.

You have stumbled into the breeding grounds of stand up and you are witnessing the birth of many acts. Everybody in that room is a comedian and they have all signed up to perform for one another (very few customers venture up those stairs although everybody is invited). Usually about thirty comedians sign up. Most are traditional comedians, but you find a few story tellers, and even one or two full blow characters who may or may not be lost in the very imagine of themselves they created. It’s tragic and beautiful both at the same time like a comedic blizzard.

Most acts get about 4-6 minutes and most are brutally bad. Those tend to be the college kids who’ve been told their entire privileged lives that they are funny yet really are not. Every now and then you really see a gem with a bright future and it makes all the bad worth the wait. You witness all kinds as every six minutes a new dance dazzles the drinkers with their wit and words trying hard to make us laugh. Some are genius, some are filthy, some are offensive, and some are downright insane. True comedy is born from true pain and if you look past most of these smiling faces you’ll see the horror in the eyes of the comedians.

The night I was there; watching and criticizing and reporting in my little notebook hidden behind my chrome Ray-Bans hiding everything from everybody while gladly telling everybody everything I saw an Indian kid do a joke that used the “N” word. Afterword’s I watched as a few of the older comedians pulled him aside and instructed him on what was right and what wasn’t. One nerdy kid with a weird voice played a keyboard horribly, yet abstractly, it was pure genius to those who got it. The two ladies from the square community didn’t; and immediately everybody knew they were not comedians and they became the center point of the night. Like sharks on a fresh body the comedians swarmed. One veteran tried his damndest to make them as uncomfortable as possible by telling the most twisted and rape filled jokes. He was doing it for his enjoyment and the rest of the comedians and they appreciated it. Just watch the darkness in the eyes.

The younger guys try to find their voices while the older guys test out the new stuff. Most of it fails but everybody has to try something somewhere and this is their nest. It’s a trip everybody should take as jesters have always been the pulse of society. Why not take a peek at the weirdness this world has to offer. Do you really have anything better to do? What these weirdo’s put out as humor is the true journal of our entry into the big book of history. It’s free and it’s all tragically beautiful.


Friday, December 4, 2009

I changed the channel

“If once the people become inattentive to the public affairs, you and I, and Congress and Assemblies, Judges and Governors, shall all become wolves. It seems to be the law of our general nature, in spite of individual exceptions.”
--Thomas Jefferson

The news was on and I didn’t want any part of its sadness and imperfection. I had a long routine day filled with stress and structure and just wanted to relax and not give a shit anymore. I can’t be bothered with problems I can’t help, or have a say in, so why even torture myself watching through my fish tank view. Who was the fish and who was on the outside still wasn’t clear. It just doesn’t seem right.

With the ease of pushing a button I changed the channel, the mood, and the setting taking me to a much happier and comforting place. It was TMZ, a news show that gives you all the latest on your favorite celebrities and their happenings. I found myself laughing at the famous, and their quirks, all the while wishing I was one of them. Glimpses into my American Dream gives me a motive to keep working for them, no matter how far off they seem.

I quick flip back to the dark news and I local hospital is having heat problems. The world was cold and so was I so I was back on TMZ and the beautiful actresses being stalked by all our prying eyes. Again I relax high as the heavens floating in the vapid space above. I’m starting to realize it’s all to easy. Way to easy.

Nobody wants to rattle the system anymore because the system provides all the little gadgets we need to be subdued and pacified. The internet, drugs, tv, video games, phone, computers, and ease anybody could dream of. The world outside of our bubble is not pretty right now, and everything that is happing is out of our narrow understanding. The two party system, both have now become about the same; where both sides hate their own sides view, but accept it, because it’s better than those other guys. No third option so what are you going to do? With Iphones and music on demand nobody wants to shake the gates and rattle the guard dogs while climbing the barb wire and really having a little fun.

Now the rebels are the kind of people who name a dog ‘fuck’ just for shits and giggles. Piss off the neighbors but that’s about it. Offensive sure, but not proactive in any shape of the imagination. Complacency is a bitch, and I know her well. Where was my generations revolution? Was today the day I stopped caring? I've let down my generation.

I’ll figure it all out later first I have to break these chains and blow up my TV.


Sunday, November 22, 2009

Who's Going To Steal the Peanut Butter?

Two worlds so vastly out of proportion to each paint a phony reality of who, and what, we were. The future will look back on our television shows as glimpses into ‘reality’ trying hard to understand who we were, so they can try to figure out who they are. To me, the 60-70’s never existed, and my only vision of them are from the images of Woodstock, JFK, Chicago Riots, All in the Family, the Jeffersons, Sanford and Sons, great music, PBS documentaries, and fun drugs. Only the history deemed appropriate to know by mainly the artists who lived it, survived; leaving behind a lot of reality in the process. I wish I could ride a bus through Chicago in 1965 to really understand the world I never knew.

What the future will see of us is a tribe of overly sexual, under sexed, babies, consumed only by product and appearance, often battling each other over money and fame. Ok, so maybe it’s not too far off. But if that is how they see our culture, how will they apply it to our greatest document, and the phrase, “the pursuit of happiness”? The interpretation takes on a whole new meaning if the culture is defined by its selfish appearance and violent demeanor.

I call an act to congress to save all security tapes, on all major cities buses, as an archive of the Real America. You would see the faces of immigrants that really are over worked and underpaid, but thankful to have jobs. You will see the faces of the young men already giving it up joining the gangs of the early dead. The thin faces of the addict, along with the fat faces of the greedy. The old faces of history, and the young faces of future. The cleaning lady, the sleazy barmaid, the paranoid yuppie, the guy who just wants to get home and get to sleep, the I-POD hipster, the girl who struck out, the lovers who found each other, the emo skater, the nerd on his lap top, the trannies, the homosexuals, the drunks, the partiers, and the walking dead all going somewhere together, without ever really going anywhere at all. It’s the same faces and the same cycle of simplistic existence every day. The wheels on the bus go round and round, round and round, round and round….

What the TV tells us is that the top news story is a hardly a concern to anybody who isn’t a happy little housewife. Oprah is leaving her show. Shocking I know, please get off the floor and regroup. But for ten minutes of a 23 minute news cast the fallout of Oprah, was all what was spoken of. 25 years and now she’s walking out on her own terms. Meanwhile on the bus, the thought that job security is something our generation will never know crosses my mind as I think of my friends and the fact we’re all in the same boat searching for a beacon. Landing a job at a young age and holding it until you retire, always knowing you’re place, and that you can support your family is gone. Job security has been sold overseas for cheaper slaves by the least patriotic of criminals smoking cigars and sipping vermouth laughingly madly at how easy it all really was. Meanwhile we’re thirty and directionless and although the blame is ours alone I personally don’t think we were ever given a fair chance as our parents held on to their jobs a little too long while the greedy hogged everything else American and ours.

Meanwhile on the bus a drunken man staggers on the ride, head hurting from the bright florescent lights that surround us, he goes right to the back seats, the designated seats for the troublemakers and outlaws. He tells me he’s just having fun because he’s got nothing better to do. He’s a painter with nothing to paint, and not the artistic kind either, but rather the sterile white wearing workers who paint sterile white corporate walls. Most people are getting their walls covered with rubber these days I joke to him, but even in his state of sin he’s in no mood to laugh. Few people are these days, despite the perfect white smiles everybody has on the TV which brightens PRIMETIME every week day night starting at seven. Well maybe the joke wasn’t that good. Who am I to judge? He’s passed out now and the ride is nearing its end.

I’m home now and just need to unwind from the long bus ride and the longer day of work. I hate it. I hate it all. But it is who I am and what I have to be in order to survive. I’m watching thee overly sexed people trying to cook a perfect French Cuisine on some stupid show right now. I’m sure it’s good but I’m alright just being here watching this stupid show, writing on my laptop, and eating Peanut butter right out of the jar. I wonder if I’m the only one.


Saturday, November 14, 2009

Scars on Lady Liberty

Strange times in the land of plenty as the Mexican mystery man El Nino fucks with the thermostat while the land lord sleeps. I’m sweating and hot, it’s November 14th, something isn’t right hoss, and everybody feels it. A movie dealing with the predicted end of the world is tops at the box office as doomsday and revelations are marketed and sold like a going out of business sale that never ends. Everybody needs to make a dollar before all the dollars are gone.

After 11 months I’m back employed in the strangest of jobs in the gravest of times in my strange and excessive life. End of life real-estate in a bone yard of salvation is my new home of corporate servitude. I’m now just another piece of a machine I don’t care to help run, but I’m without options like so many other Americans searching for security long undercut by Mexican labor and Indian ingenuity.

Anybody who doesn’t think these are hard times are either wealthy or stupid or probably a combination of both. Hours are being cut, jobs are being cut, and salaries are being cut, and the gaping wounds are now in plain sight for everybody to see. There is no outrage or outcry since everybody is in the same sinking boat looking at the same ugly scars too big to cover up. Nobody wants to bitch and moan in the company of the rest of their broke brothers and sisters standing without shame in the welfare line. Indifference is death, and the end is near.

With my new job I witness a lot of caskets going into the ground. Most of it I can take but every time the American flag covers a casket and is folded up and presented to the family on behalf of a grateful nation I tear up. I don’t know if it’s the love of my country or a deep sadness in knowing that kind of patriot is dead, and not many more exist. America has been counted out before only to rise strong and spit into the face of all the fuckers who wrote us off and counted us out. I don’t know if we can get back up as change is sweeping the land in drastic ways. To be honest I feel the same about my own life.

Things are tough and there are parallels to depression of the 1930’s and the stumble of the 1970’s. I’ve always found something about those depression aged faces that told a story of the REAL America, and who we are. They through their hard times came out with a wisdom that propelled the country for decades to come. It was their toil that made us great and their sacrifice that forced us to become strong. I’m proud to be a broken down broke American watching from the bottom praying to climb to the top knowing damn well I’ll never get there. In these lessons of no credit, no respect, and no hope; I hope to one day instill and inspire greatness to future generations. If I’m the lesson and the example of greed then it was all worth it.

I feel like I’m watching the world burn like Nero safe from a distance only I didn’t start the fire nor can I help put it out. Beside the water is taxed to high, in short supply, and the hose isn’t long enough –not the first time I’ve heard that. Once you let the shitty feeling of hopelessness pass by, all that’s left is to enjoy the view. Pop some popcorn and sit back and watch the colors as they fly through the air. Fuck’em if they can’t take a joke.

I have less then just about everybody else around me, but that’s ok. It is after all simplicity that defines me --I’m also ok with that as well. Complicated people with complicated lives seldom have anything but complexity structuring and steering them right into insanity. Sure I’m crazy, but to quote the late great Waylon Jennings, ‘it’s kept me from going insane.’

Thanksgiving is coming up and that is my favorite holiday in this entire world. When my mom and I hit rock bottom and we were living on borrowed time in an apartment without electricity or food, rooming with a Viet Nam vet who would have nasty flashbacks until he passed out in his own urine and vodka; a tradition started. Dan Chin a friend of mine from school asked me to join his family for Thanksgiving a selfless and charitable act of true Americana. Since then I have always taken up the kindness of friends on the 26th of November. I’ve sat with many different families all over the state in all periods of my life, and never once has anybody’s family (often strangers) made me feel anything but welcome. I love it and it reminds me that humanity still exists and love and charity isn’t just attached to buzz words like hope.

The one thing I’ve been forgetting to do lately is to love myself. I like being pulled under by the undertow, and gasping for air as it excites me. I like being near death and laughing at the boring folk in the shallow section. It’s been a rough few months but the danger is starting to bore me and the safety of the shallow end is becoming more and more comfortable and desirable. I do love me, and it’s time I concentrate on accepting that feeling and letting it carry me back to shallower water.

There are moments when I walk right down the center of the road while traffic zips by and I hope a speeding mass of steal tears my body from its limbs and my soul from myself to the warmth of death. I’ve found myself suicidal and wild eyed in the last few months going on almost a year now. It’s true that truth has caused me more pain than fiction. But right now things are starting to look up, even if just slightly. Sometimes slightly is all you need; just as a simple scratch can cure the biggest of itches. Slightly and simply is enough to keep on fighting this losing battle of Alfred Ferdinand Larcher III versus life. Mouth guard back in, swelling reduced, take away the stool, here comes round '10.



Friday, November 6, 2009

I don't know anymore.

“Kill’em all let God sort them out. “
--Unofficial motto of the Special Forces.

“It's a restless hungry feeling
That don't mean no one no good
When ev'rything I'm a-sayin'
You can say it just as good
You're right from your side
I'm right from mine
We're both just too many mornings
An' a thousand miles behind.”
-Bob Dylan

Just a normal day in a routine world that keeps on spinning day and night, day in and day out. POP POP POP three fall dead. A flash of white, a blue plume of smoke, sulfur scents fill the hallways. Confusion and fear create disorientation, as what is presented as fact simply isn’t logical. POP POP POP Three more fall dead. Sound the alarms, man the stations, the war has come home to Texas, and nobody is sure who the enemy is. BANG BANG BANG Three more fall, as evil is evidently present and humanity is all but gone in the sheer horror of a vulgar religious statement made by a man who never understood the words of the God he kills for. Where is God? Whose, God? Who cares? BANG BANG BANG Twelve soldiers lay dead and many more lay injured as the gun man is finally shot down, breathing, but incapacitated.

Blame the guns, blame the gods, blame the culture, blame the war, blame the politicians, blame the music, blame the poverty, blame the indifference, blame the mind, blame the President, blame the congress, blame the training, blame the media, blame the blamers. I wonder if God is busy blaming us.

A ripple spreads through the amber waves of grain like a brush fire as the media tells the story of Nidal Malik Hasan the weak minded monster who killed twelve of his brethren of the uniform impacting hundreds of lives directly as moms, dads, uncles, aunts, best friends, good friends, brothers, sisters, lovers, and children all weep for their dead soldiers. Like so many American’s most can’t believe, or accept it. Neither can I. ‘Why’ the question everybody is asking right after giving their opinion on how Mr. Hasan should be executed for the treason he engaged in. I say painful and slow, but a few shots in his eager veins while strapped on a steal table in Terre Haute Federal Prison will probably be the ending of his sick tale.

I want to ask why too. I want to figure out why a man who so hated the military and all it stood for kept showing up. Was this a statement well planned out for months, or a sick moment of sheer fucking delusion and insanity? How did a Muslim with extreme views get the privilege of serving our country? I don’t have answers nor the resources to sniff them out, so it’s silly to ask the questions. Most of this will be asked and answered to the point of nausea in the next few weeks by the media.

Make no mistake about it Hoss a religious war is brewing in this country just as it has been in the rest of the world for dozens of years. We’ve had the privilege of watching from a distance, but the world is shrinking and so is the world’s general understanding of all the different God’s; and their teachings, philosophy, and culture. We’ve given up the study of the bibles/Korans/Scripture, so now all we’re left with is the cliff notes written by propagandists with agendas, guns, and a promise of an afterlife better than their actual lives, which they can’t deal with because they are miserable maggots crawling on the corpses of understanding and decency, both killed in a double homicide on the south side the press forgot to cover because they didn’t find the victims all that important. The sides are being drawn and there is little to do to stop it, as the greasy wheel always gets the squeak.


In a perfect world those who have actual faith in Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism, and even those with no faith or understanding in spirituality would all get together as soldiers of the world, as sons and daughters of parents who love, and as fellow travels, and would hunt down and kill those who give the rest of us a bad name. Snuff out evil and blow up every fucking creature who wants to kill in the name of God. A united war of humanity against inhumanity in the genocide of extremism until all that’s left is understanding and acceptance. KILL KILL KILL. It’s the only solution. Am I now being drawn into the sickness of the extreme world around me? Do you need to engage in the madness to defeat it? Yikes hoss, I don’t like my tone.

I want peace above everything else, not just for my own safety or piece of mind, but also the for the families of the soldiers killed by this man on his mission of murder. The world isn’t perfect; and the fighting and killing will keep right on rolling. Oh well. So mote it be.


Friday, October 30, 2009

Bear Down....BEAR DOWN...


“If things came easy, then everybody would be great at what they did, let's face it.”
Mike Ditka

The horrible images of Derrion Albert being viciously beaten by his peers raging uncontrollably high on a gangster culture embedded into them since birth have consumed my thoughts for the last few weeks. Every kick after kick, punch after punch, and blood curling yell after blood curling yell replays in my head until Derrion Albert is dead on the cold hard cement in the city of big shoulders, my Sweet Home Chicago.

Zombies, werewolves, and monsters at least kill out of necessity, while these children did so for pleasure, acceptance, and entertainment value in a world that values entertainment often times more than life and actuality. The camera caught it all, and the news played it ten but film no longer develops clear enough to see the big picture anymore and the image of horror were soon replaced by Paranormal Activity and Halloween. Every time I replay the image in my head I get sick to my stomach and wonder where the outrage is? I’m helpless and removed from the issue by space and race leaving me with that disgusting fucking word I keep hearing over and over since the dawn of the new millennium, hope.

That same sickness I had for the Albert murder was the way I felt as the Cincinnati Bengals demolished the Chicago Bears last Sunday in one of Chicago’s worst performances. I wanted to do something. I wanted to help. I was outraged and angered and bitter and fucking frantic at the mauling taking place on my television. I threw a bottle of Beam at the wall watching it shatter in reality as the escapism I tune into every Sunday was failing me. Nothing could be done, so I just watched on as helpless as the team on the field.

It was bad hoss, the kind of thing that makes you want to burn everything orange and navy blue you own. The kind of bad that makes you ask questions of your own faith and your own belief systems. I wanted to turn it off, or look away, but like a car wreck on the Kennedy I had to see all the horrible details of twisted metal, broken teeth, and white sheet covered stretchers. Plus what if my hopes came to fruition and they fought back and won the damn thing. What if I hit the lotto? What if somebody stepped in to help Derrion Albert. What if…aka hope.

This last week the sporting press has done their jobs of questioning every morsel of existence in the Bears organization (or lack of). The coaching staff has a lot of middle fingers pointing at them and rightfully so as overly aggressive stock brokers yell into their Backberry Storm2 9550 phones to provoking sports radio hosts. Cedric Benson looked amazing and everybody is now questioning if it was circumstance as previously accepted, and unchallenged, or piss poor talent evaluation and no coaching. The latter seems to be the favored opinion of Chicagoans this week.

Gary, Indiana just 25 miles from downtown Chicago was once a bustling city and the home of the Jackson family. It was a steel factory town and Indiana’s second largest city. It was full of hope and promise as it rose in population and jobs. But the steel melted away and desolation moved in. The people put their hope in their politicians to help recover the town. The city with so much promise just ended up rusting. Gary, Indiana is now a ghost town long forgotten after Michael Jackson and the factories faded away. Just violent criminals, immobile poverty, and shanty houses remain. A sad portrait of real America you never would see Norman Rockwell illustrate. The kind of place roaches search for motels to kill themselves in. Leadership is to blame for sure, but the people have to help themselves too.

Tommy Harris was a spit fire out of college and a much needed addiction to the Bears defensive line. He seemed like the final piece in a masterful building process. So young, so dominate, and so perfect Bears fans rejoiced after his rookie year where he showed power, speed, and determination. But now he’s turned into a crybaby who favors being either lazy or dishonest hiding in injury. He’s falling apart and the Bears fans are outraged.

The black and white ink on Tommie Harris paints him as a stubborn and lazy malcontent who hates his head coach. He was benched during the beat down due to a ‘knee injury’ just about everybody has admitted doesn’t exist. You can see desolation setting in the eyes of Tommie Harris. The reason this lump was benched was because he hasn’t produced much of anything despite all the money the Bears have dumped into keeping him. He needed a message. A wake up call. This week he’s back in practice for the first time all year and talks of a big game against one of the NFL’s worst teams the Cleveland Browns. I hope he can turn it around. I really do.

Webs site message boards are exploding with fans who want to cut or trade Tommie Harris as fast as we can. Try to get some value out of him is the logic. The city is in a complete and utter bitchfest over the Chicago Bears in general. It’s nice to see everybody motivated a level of collective disenfranchised feelings for the first time since Obama left town. Nobody is happy and everybody has an opinion and is more than willing to shout it. Even the non-fans know what’s going on and they too are steamed like a Chicago Style Hotdog bun. The Bear’s organization hears the fans loud and clear and will react.

I was walking in the rain thinking about the Bears when I looked up to take in the sight of the half naked tree when I slipped on its magnificent display of already fallen brown, orange, and red leafs. I laid in that discarded pile looking up at its branches listening to the rain fall between the leafs still hanging on. Somewhere in there I found a moment of clarity and tranquility. Sometimes you need the fall to see the beauty of it all.

The Bears have all the time in the world to turn it around, and they will. I hope it starts this week against the Browns, but we’re probably looking at next year for a real turn around., but we will preserBEAR and win it all. It is just to bad Gary, Indiana can’t do the same and its very sad Derrion Albert never will see the Bears turn it around. I hope we the people can.

Alfred Ferdinand Larcher III

Monday, October 26, 2009

Mass Confusion in an Age of Mass Communication.

“I'm tired of runnin' 'round lookin' for answers to questions that I already know
I could build me a castle of memories just to have somewhere to go
Count the days and the nights that it takes to get back in the saddle again
Feed the pigeons some clay
Turn the night into day
Start talkin' again, when I know what to say’”
--Blaze Foley

I didn’t want to get off my fat ass but my friend who goes by Martin Luther (he’s always tacking notes to doors) had been nagging me for awhile now to get back involved in a cause. Causes like love, memories, and cereal start out great but if you’re not quick enough they get soggy, messy, and lose their magic. After years on the wrong side of losing political battles I considered myself apologetically beat off and ejaculated out of the realm of debate and participatory interest in politics. It is after all where most American’s reside and comfort is the new freedom in an age of inaction.

Government has become so large we are all nothing more than replaceable parts. The individual serves the master in return for a few luxuries and filtered cigarettes. I wish Woody Guthrie would have asked for just a bit more as feel as ripped off as the Native Americans who we also promised comfort and security too. Right now I’m nothing more than a rushed assembly line Model-AL that somehow got passed off as ‘ok’ by inspector #33, who was drunk on a sick cruel sense of humor, and rum. But here I am 30 years later a little broken down but still running. Running, running, running. Running from bill collectors, running from commitment, running from responsibility, running from causes, running from authority, running from madness, and most of all running from myself. I’ve spent my whole life running. All the running and looking over my shoulder does keep me semi-healthy and well stretched. Half of anything really is all a man ever needs.

This morning tacked to my door was a note that simply read:
“AFL, if you died tomorrow would anybody give a shit?”

Death and impact are heavy things to digest with a bum, freshly removed gull bladder, and a pint of whiskey already brewing deep inside. I tossed the note with a perfect Cutler like forward lob right into the trash bin by the mail box, as a black cat watched on unimpressed. I wasn’t sure if that was a good sign or a bad one but at that point…signs and direction meant I was back on the highway finally getting off that road nobody was traveling. When you’re on a strange road all alone the humanity in you seeks danger and you take the curves as fast as you can with a maniac laugh and deranged stare.

Net Neutrality, killer Flu Epidemic, and Health Care are the major issues of debate in this country right now. I’m going to be honest with you as I’m either stupid or to tired to lie pretending I understand these issues. I don’t know anything about any of these topics. Nothing. What I do know, is nobody seems to know what the fuck is going on and mass confusion is spreading like a California brush fire. Lady Liberty is way too busy filming a reality show based on tired and weak immigrants making a life here to mail back home to even try to decipher the madness. The American Dream is now an export made her and shipped off where home really is. I’m confused and completely uninformed for the first time in my overly opinionated life on the day’s topics. Not by choice either, as I’ve scoured the web and the news programs for answers but every piece of information has been written by the best liars money can buy. Information is no longer based in fact or fiction but rather spin and targeted demographics. Everything is owned and all the owners are now players in our toppling Democracy.

So here I sit an undereducated, under employed obese blob of Chicago confusion watching angry pus filled monsters spiting halitosis fire from their snarling grotesque dragon mouths as they fill the televisions and debate halls with their wickedness. Nigger, Kike, Honky, racist, Rape, sexual abuse, child abduction, pedophiles, murder, Democrats, Republicans, lairs, faggots, pig, cunt, Valarie Jarrett, Rush Limbaugh. Whichever word causes you the strongest feeling and makes you the maddest is exactly the kind of rhetoric the monsters are engaged in yelling as veins pulse and bust splashing everybody in the process contaminating them with a virus much worse than N1H1. Vicious ugly words now used as bombs causing so much noise decency cannot be heard over the explosions maiming the innocent and killing the indifferent.

A cause? How can a cause be found and fought for when every opinion or idea is trademarked and bought out by even bigger and more powerful company? This includes the news, the unions, and every other group whose responsibility is to protect the individual from the institute. We’re all volunteering for high priced designer label straightjackets. Grassroot causes are impossible to assemble without selling out to a ‘sponsor’ or collapsing in angry debate amongst itself. Who does confusion benefit? Confusion befits the fine folks already in control. A distracted nation is an easy nation to rule control and craft.

I don’t mean to sound like one of these fucking babbling conspiracy nut jobs but something doesn’t seem right. Perhaps it’s schizophrenic paranoia, fear mongering, or whatever vicious language and judgment you wish to write me off with. God’s greatest power was instilled into us –deep shit when you put your brain power to it -as we all have the ability to commence judgment. Maybe it’s time we start to examine how we use this ultimate power as I don’t think we understand its full impact yet.

The richest people of the left and the richest people of the right are crafting a brilliant dinner theater show that we’re all engaged in; just enough to pay attention, but not enough to get up from our overcooked Chicken Cordon Bleu and Rice. Fuck it the new season of LOST is starting, and this season stars you my liberal friend and me your conservative enemy. Will we ever get off this island without killing each other first? The battle of us versus them has turned magnificently into us versus us.

Yesterday I was at a diner I enjoy at the edge of my Gothic home of Chicago. A middle aged lady was having dinner with her aged mother. The topic of healthcare popped up and the older lady was against it, and had facts and reasons why. The daughter wrote it off as crazy talk and asked her if she’s been watching FOX news. The daughters face turned into a sour lemon grimace as she just shook her head in absolute disgust. “Yea, but they are the only ones against universal health care,” the mother said with such conviction.

The old lady nailed it. No matter if you hate FOX News or love them; if they vanished tomorrow only one side would be heard. Sandpaper is Democracy and when something is feed into congress the two sides’ fine sand it using friction and repetition until it’s something we all can agree on. Without opposition I assure you we all will lose. That’s true of both sides, without a liberal sanding this nation would have very little feeling, emotion, and would probably collapse under some evil corporation.

Hey, wouldn’t an epidemic causing health fears throughout the country benefit a side looking to pass a health care bill? I’m just kidding. But seriously both sides need to STOP ignoring other INDIVIDUALS because that’s the same thing as ignoring an image in the mirror. Anybody in Chicago whoever wants to sit down with me and talk issues or try to reach an actual middle ground my door is always open. Labels are a dangerous thing, and unless we start shedding them or devaluing them or pissing freely all over them until the ink smears and erodes into illegible nothingness, resentment is only going to grow between all fellow travels of this fine nation. Stop listening to the news. Stop listening to the parties. Start listening to each other.

Real communication is my only cause right now. Maybe Martin Luther is on to something with these door notes.


Monday, October 19, 2009

Irrational Anger in an Agitated Age

Irrational anger is the worst enemy of democracy as all our filters are shut down and the inmates control the asylum in the most animalistic of styles. The wise manipulate and trigger these moments of blind rage as it causes the very cover needed to push their agenda of control and power right by our beer commercial attention spans and half blind guard dogs. Stop the ignorance and stop ignoring just because you are comfortable in your surroundings.

I was on the Irving Park bus and I’ve learned if you ride route 77 long enough you’re bound to see a woman who looks exactly like a witch. I mean so close to the real deal you sit there and rationalize how this person can be and can’t be a witch. This older woman got on the bus and she had the weird hair, strange nose, crooked smile, and mole. My mind started routing me back to the right track telling me how ignorant and judgmental I was being thinking such silly thoughts about a poor old woman. Just as I was about to shame myself she went flying forward making the funniest witch face I have ever seen. Her face was something right out of a horror movie with a witty writer and a non-existent budget. She was sitting in the three way seats facing me and the acceleration of the bus threw her off balance for a minute causing her to fly forward before grabbing on. Any control I had over judgment I lost as I started laughing like a madman. She started pointing at me and yelling gibberish which just made me laugh harder now to the point of tears. I think I’ve been cursed as some of the things she was yelling at me sounded dark and evil, but it really wasn’t my entire fault.

When I first heard about Enrique Gonzalez this sick, gang banging, lowlife I wanted nothing more than to hunt him down and pour bleach into his eye sockets while chanting game show theme songs loudly in his ears. A painful exit seemed appropriate after hearing this maggot of a man held his seven year old son down and tattooed a gang sign on his hip. A membership into the early grave club before the kid even has a driver’s license. Not a great start and a baseball bat bash to the head of the father seemed logical, even if a bit violent.

Richard Heene made his son lie to authorities and media just to gain exposure to try to get the world to look at him yet again in his attention drug fix. American’s poured positive force into a negative story while real kids suffered and were ignored. Its true balloons, white people, and hillbillies; trump blacks, poverty, and guns as a ratings grabber or money grabber for that matter. It was a disgusting reflection of our own image after a twenty year drug binge full of greed, excess, and orgies Just because you keep the garden cozy and give to charity every month doesn’t mean horror doesn’t exist behind the white shades of perfection you present to us.

Both men damaged their children in way’s we all, regardless of political sides and moral ideologies, can agree is child abuse and disgusting. We can all agree punishment is needed. As it stands right now Richard Heene is facing six felonies charges with a maximum of six years in prison and a 500,000 fine. Enrique Gonzalez changed with aggravated mayhem faces life in prison. What is fair and who decides?

One’s a Mexican gang banger in California the other is a white media hound from Colorado. Sure you can argue one is more dangerous to the world as a whole then the other, but to me the crime is in the way the children were hurt. It’s a case of lifestyle. I always cringe when people cheer when drug laws that favor the rich are removed in favor of the same harsh laws that punish the poor. Why not change the laws so they reach the protective levels of the rich instead of the other way around? Irrational anger goes such a long way in limiting our own freedoms. Reasonably, I think in both cases the courts need to figure out if the child needs to be placed in foster care or if the situation can be fixed by responsible members of the families. After the child’s safety is determined both men need only a year in prison and lots of rehab. But of course that’s not the way the world as we are oh so comfortable with the way things are.

I’d rather take on the witches curse then Enrique Gonzalez’s judge’s sentence.


Friday, October 16, 2009

Elephants, Donkey’s, and Gypsy’s.

"Our culture's adjustment to the epistemology of television is by now all but complete; we have so thoroughly accepted its definitions of truth, knowledge and reality that irrelevance seems to us to be filled with import, and incoherence seems eminently sane. And if some of our institutions seem not to fit the template of the times, why it is they and not the template, that seem to us disordered and strange."
— Neil Postman (Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business)

What I learned in this last week was there is still at least one billionaires club of old white men so exclusive even Rush Limbaugh can’t get membership. I don’t know if I find that refreshing, or a sad reminder of how exclusive the world really is and how powerful those in power really are.

The United States has exploded into one massive traveling big top circus full of the lowest common carnie folk, Elephants, Donkey’s, and gypsy’s. STEP RIGHT UP AND WITNESS A BOY IN A BALLOON LIVE ON CNN AND FOX! See as the world watches with baited breath possibly witnessing a tragic death or a happy ending!!! Either way it’s all you need to know as THIS IS THE NEWS.

We’ve all seen Webster fly away holding onto the balloons in the opening credits of the show Webster. As a kid that always seemed fun and I wanted to get myself a bunch of balloons to make the same trip. As I listened to what the ring master was barking and the scary tone he was using I didn’t know if I should laugh or cry at the situation. I was waiting, and waiting, and waiting for my chicken sandwich to finish at Franksville as everybody else in the restaurant was watching the TV as the balloon slowly touched down. We all silently judged if it was hard enough of a landing to kill, which I thankfully didn’t think it was. The authorities searched the balloon and it was empty. Yikes.

The speculation was maybe he fell out the balloon if he was ever in it. The police started searching the ground the balloon covered in its 70 mile journey looking for the possible fall out boy. Meanwhile back outside of the tent a Chicago High School is giving away fright passes, only these have nothing to do with Halloween. The Chicago Public School System is offering Fenger High School parents; transportation vouchers or attendance into Carver Military Academy if their children are too scared to return school after Derrion Albert was fatally beaten by a gang of angry thugs.

The nation is now coming together to pray for the safety of the little bubble boy as the news commentators take on a sad disposition. The child, appropriately named Falcon Heene has groups of law enforcement agencies searching for him. Words, no matter how perfectly crafted are only as strong as the people who read them and Heene has the best of the best reading his story winning over the people.

While the broom mustached ring master crafted the story of young Heene --back in Chicago, Romel Handley, a disgusting freak show of a man was sentenced to spend the next twenty years in an overcrowded prison. The tough guy begged for ten years calling himself a dumb kid. Dumb kids fly in balloons, Romel Handley brainwashed children as the head recruiter for the street gang the Insane Deuces. I number two for sure. This monster of a man gave guns to children and instructed them to kill; and murder is what they did. Twenty years…how many lives did he ruin? Teach your children well? What happened, where have we gone wrong?

A day later it appears as if the boy in the bubble was nothing more than a hoax. Just like most circus magic, what we saw wasn’t the full story just the fun parts they wanted us to see and hear. Where and what is the responsibility of the media to tell the stories that matter? What matters anymore?

I walked to the bakery to get a pumpkin pie and as I was thinking I started to crave roller skates. The ability to glide through the sidewalks and roll with the times has a certain freedom that just seems right. Maybe the world should start wearing more roller-skates. Maybe we wouldn’t take Rush Limbaugh so serious if he was on roller skates. Maybe Derrrion Albert would still be alive as the world is a little more cautious near slippery sloops while on wheels. Maybe small kids would skate away from monsters like Romel Handley. Maybe the news would report what mattered. Maybe…maybe.


Monday, September 7, 2009

Labor Pains on Labor Day, The Death of The American Artist, WTF TMI

"I had a kidney stone after giving birth to two daughters," one writer said. "Childbirth has nothing on kidney stones. When you are in labor the pain is like a wave. With a kidney stone it is constant. I would have 10 births before ever wanting to go through the pain of a stone."
--Testimony from witness in a move by John Gotti Jr. to get out of prison early due to Kidney Stones and cells being cruel and unusual punishment.

I’ve never written horror and I’m not to start right now but with the continuing pain in my sides shit is about to get scary. I do pretty well with pain for the most part as I’ve always prided myself on the old world mentality of take what’s given to you and get back up stronger and more determined if not a little bit bruised and sore. I’ve experienced most of the worst from a mental angle and a lot of physical pain but never what is described as the worst. The worst is one of the few things in this world that lives up to its reputation like heavily recommended cake or under performing politicians it often delivers as its name describes.

For the past three days I have felt a sharp consistent pain my right side just under my rib cage. It has since split to both of my sides it often feels as if I am on fire or being stabbed. I guess the best way to describe it is the moment you get your bearings back after just being socked in the stomach. It hurts like hell but it’s now manageable and the light is in sight. I’m not sick. I still have an appetite and I’m yet to get a fever or nausea. I’ve also kept all my appointments and have outside of the discomfort causing a lack of sleep I have functioned as normal as an Al can function.

According to the ever comforting, always accurate, and always opinionated voices of the web what I’m experiencing now is a 4 on a pain scale of ten. When this bad boy gets rolling it will shoot up to a 10 as it will feel as if a super nova is exploding inside of me. I will fall to my knees asking God to deliver on his promise of redemption as tears will roll down my fat cheeks. Years of fatty food and sin will deliver vengeance to the most innocent moment in my life and I will be ushered into to an emergency room where they will drug me back to sanity and decide if the rocks should just roll out of my uninsured pecker or if a lazar will assist.

The paradox of the situation is I don’t believe in a Government health care system yet right now between jobs I am uninsured. Believe me when I tell you thoughts of rusty needles inserted into my last muscle of pride have been dancing through my head like a taunting seductress who has no interest in me yet I can’t keep my eyes off. If I had insurance I would have already seen a doctor and considering options. Without insurance I have to wait till the crash so that I’ll be so full of rage and pain they will no option but to treat me or put me down. Either works at this point as I’m not picky and always interested in how the story ends. Best cause scenario is this is just the body correcting itself and it will all pass without assistance in the next day or so. Until then I search the web for what to do and where I can find a free clinic. For the record this is my cross to bear and I still don’t support a government run medical system. I made my bed and now I will yell in it.

I don’t mean to bore you with the actually of the world and the real struggles of real people. It’s silly when there is so much information about so many celebrities on Wikipedia that we can instead be talking about. I’m sure many politicians and celebrities can relate to a guy without insurance about to face the worst pain know to man. I feel like I’m on death row sorta like a modern day white Tookie Williams waiting for a call from the Governor. Maybe a few Hollywood hotshots will stand up for me and throw benefit in my honor. Time is working against us here boys, but I assure you I’m as morally truth worthy as Tookie ever was and I would appreciate it.

I never wondered what space smelled like until I heard an astronaut talk about. To me space never had a smell because we can’t breathe it so who the hell would sit around and think about such a thing as smell or taste? But science does always smell and space does indeed smell like gunpowder. When the astronauts would come in from the space walk they would have the scent of the atmosphere on them, and that is how you smell space. To me this little bit of information adds a whole new element to how I view space. I understand it more as a process and as explosion just like a gun and just like the elements we share. The simple added information of smell opened up space to a new layer of my mind.

Why this is important and what the hell am I ranting about with pain on my sides and grass on my brain anyway? A conspiracy theory of irrational reasoning perhaps would be the best way to describe it another way would be cultural genocide, un-sewing the fabrics of society, Lady Liberty falling on her own sword in final poetic notion of artistic depravity. The end of art is near my fellow travelers and it’s not government, radicals, PBS, or Jay Leno that you need to blame but rather you and I.

WTF? R U nuts? WTFDYJS???? W8 TMI.

Long standing code and symbolism being thrown to the side for an easier language is the sign of progress throughout history of our world. Most all of which was brought on and encouraged through art and literature for it is what binds society. From fashion to music to the written story we come together under not just government and religion but also the arts. The ability to write started with mad cave men phased by the best drugs the good berry pusher had to offer ranting madly in a cave carving the walls to make a point to his wife. Gangs of graffiti artists tagged up Egypt with hieroglyphics of their kings and queens and crypts and bloods. The Mesopotamians figured out cuneiform writing using symbols to make up words and a sort of pronunciation system that was easier then consistent drawings. Finally an alphabet was established using pronunciation to create words with meaning through the sounds we make. Laws and order were given in order for it to be uniform so all can understand it from the rich to the poor. Now that’s a shitty over view of the whole story that takes us to our Alphabet ignoring a lot of history in the process but this isn’t a history lesson and I could be experiencing the worst pain in the world any moment so time is of the essence.

So changes in how language is laid out has been consistent in its progress of society and it seems it forever will transform as better and more simplistic ways of communicating are found. You can argue that this internet short hand is a move toward the future. You could also be an idiot. I’m not the judging kind. Why it can’t be considered as progress is because Ebonics and internet short hand move to destroy progress and rules in order to be less expressive and detailed. In no way is it logical and it’s in many ways putting a lot of faith and power into what the internet is and what we and it will become. Lets understand the partnership before we give in completely to it.

Every aspect of our technology has lead to sacrificing quality for quantity. We use fewer words to avoid charges or save time or to fit in. We read less because we are presented with so much more information it overwhelms us and long and detailed is often thrown aside for a summery or a cliff note. We prefer short web features to longer better written better produced material. We champion the single and seek out the independent ignoring the albums and burning through music at amazing rates. Our news is so cluttered with everybody’s opinion from the meaningless such as mine to actual informed opinion that truth which was always been hard to find is finding a much easier time hiding in the clutter.

It’s like willingly killing your own free speech using fewer words and ignoring more detail to maintain you’re high-speed lifestyle. Thought can’t be constricted, debate shouldn’t be lessened, and detail cannot be sacrificed. WHAT THE FUCK (WTF) are we thinking selling out structure and science in favor of fifteen minutes of fame? Now when it comes to English I’m no expert. I’m a failure but I’m embarrassed by it, not proud of it. You should never EVER say something is too long to read IF it’s interesting.

The system has become overwhelmed and all we can do is accept it. Let us watch the death of creativity as in the process of mass appeal the threads of similarity will become more and more present as culture thins out. How can you teach a child the value in the book, “Boss” by Mike Royko, versus simply spending fifteen minutes on Wikipedia to read about Mayor Richard J. Daley. How can the boring stories of the past impress a kid in the world where every aspect of media is at their finger tips? How can we find compromise on issues if everybody has lame men political writers who write only what the reader wants to hear as absolute fact? It’s not good the direction we are going and I wonder how long before news stories such as the smell of space dissolve from our radar and all we are left with is Perz Hilton drawing jizz markings on the latest popularity craze.

With so many people writing with no depth the true spirits of the words are being lost in the plastic of the keys on the keyboard. The young cultural revolutionaries cannot fail in their job as cultural book binders because if they do so more and more structure in our society will fall to the government or the cooperation’s as we all enslave ourselves to mediocrity. No generation of American artist has failed yet, but the writing is on the texts.


Friday, September 4, 2009

What happens at the Hilton stays at the Hilton.

"This hotel room's gotta lotta stuff
Laundry bag and a shoe shine BUFF
Thirty two hangers and a touch tone phone
Well a light that comes on when I ain't home

I ain't home
I ain't home
You better leave a message 'cause
I ain't home "
--"Hotel Room" by Steve Goodman, (1975)

It’s been a long time since I’ve written anything of substance and I need a getaway for a man living in slack it may sound weird or strange to need a get-a-way but if you spent any time in my head you would understand. Forget walking in my shoes try wearing my cap. The story sometimes finds you, but most the time you have to find it. You can live in a bubble and that’s fine but when doing so you also have to understand the world goes on without you; and your opinions and suspension of the world lack experience and become less relevant. Except it or cowboy up tends to be the only two options so I booked a stay at the Hilton in a rich suburb just outside of Chicago for some adventure and time to write a story with a self imposed deadline.

Putting a deadline on things is important because the mind has a natural curiosity to wonder. The mind knows that what we are doing is not important or interesting in the grand scheme of thing so it does everything it can to distract us to find something more relevant in its big picture understand of the world. Keep it busy and occupied with rules and order and the mind stays happy and works with you instead of against you. So that is why I needed a deadline and why I imposed one on a story that is for nobody but myself. After all these are selfish times and I’m a product of my environment.

Being a night walker has caused me to live my life in spurts. Most Americans live their lives in moderation. Moderation is very safe, you get a consistent flow of money, and you are frugal and responsible -saving for the leaner times while enjoy the good. Right or wrong the quality of life is always the same. Safe and simple, yet stagnate and predictable. Usually it’s not that exciting, but yet very comfortable and a pretty damn good life. These moderates work hard and earn the ability for a yearly vacation into debauchery; not to crazy rather very nice, and fairly safe. Like Cancun, San Diego, or if you’re living dangerous, you hit up Vegas.

A hotel is the perfect place for a spurt surfer as you get to see how the other half lives and rub shoulders (or other things) with them while remaining the poor fellow traveler you really are. Thanks to supply and demand even the most expensive hotels have cheap rooms during slow seasons. Everybody on the move has a story and every story has a character and every character has a passion and every passion is always on display in hotels. Well passion and loose morals.

Because of two amazingly written songs by the legendary poet song spinner and fellow Chicagoan Steve Goodman; I think of him and his life and the way he faced death every time I stay in a hotel or ride a train. When you get older you start thinking about your legacy and how you will be remembered. Steve in my mind will always remind me of a hotel room and a train which are a good set of things to be remembered for. Especially if you’re famous enough to be remembered for anything at all as most people aren’t and a crowded funeral a few stories is all they get.

If I’m lucky, I’ll probably be remembered for razor sharp wit, and always coming just short of success. Fuck man, Steve Goodman always got the good ones. I wish I could be remembered for trains or Hotels. Well all the good ones except the Leukemia that took him way to soon as he rode the great "City of New Orleans" to the golden depot in the sky. Good morning America how are ya? Not too good Steve in a world without you.

I know I’m ranting again, I’m sorry, I forgot to tell you what my goal was to discover in this little stay at the Hilton, or at least what I thought it was thirty-two or so hours ago when this journey of discovery, adventure, and simple relaxation began. What I wanted to find out was simple; how disturbed is a hotel and what is it hiding—mainly from a deviant sexual aspect.

I know that filth of the worst kind happens in hotel rooms. If you’re going to pee on somebody it’s going to be in a hotel room. If you’re going to get a hooker to live out your sick, twisted, inhumane, unspeakable sexual fantasies; you’re probably not going to do it in the same house you kiss your kids. So a hotel room it is.

After all you got perfect cover as that conference removes you from your family on an ‘official’ business trip. It’s the kind of business trip that is needed to maintain the comfort of the life style your family is accustom to. You need to take these trips to maintain the moderation of the middle mundane class you shoulder. Now you’re all alone with your secretary and the built up sexual tension that has been constructing for the last year and now is finally ready to swing open its doors for a GRAND OPENING. It is begging to come undone like the belt of a fat man on Thanksgiving and there is not much you can do too deny it. Something has to give and it does--Wooooooo meow!

You get my drift a hotel is a disgusting decadent place disguised as a place for families to stay. You can bring a wife, a child, a mother, a father, a mistress, a whore, a date, or a hostage and it’s perfectly appropriate and nobody will question who you are, or who you are with. Hell a judgmental prick like me would look down upon you if you didn’t bring one of these types relationships into a hotel. Twisted and corporately perverted like Disney Land only without the media buy and direct marketing to the kids is exactly what a hotel is.

That’s what I thought I was going to find but like life, it never seems to go as you plan it. After I left my suitcase full of my dental floss, sweat pants (warm and comfortable), bathing suit back in the hotel room closet I headed out armed with only my tape recorder, complimentary hotel pen, and complimentary hotel tablet to seek out this dissoluteness. Sometime between the slamming of the door and the ringing of the elevator action I came to the realization I had no drugs on me and I was feeling the want and need of the craving.

I knew somebody who possibly could hook me up but I needed to act on what I intended to seek out. This is why I set goals I’m a very sporadic, sloppy, and an unadjusted man; but you already knew that from my structure-less writing. I hate rules. Fuck’em. Law should never restrict a man’s words no matter if the law is self imposed, civilly imposed, or in our case culturally imposed. If what is put out there grabs you then one should never worry about how clean the hand is that is doing the grabbing. Just be happy somebody is touching you and if I was right in my theory I should hear plenty of tales of touching throughout my stay in this sin sanctuary.

With my shit in my room and adventure on my addictive brain now was the perfect time to scout the hotel out. I needed to see what I could discover and figure out in the various hallways and ongoing activities of this Hilton masterpiece. Where could I find drugs, and where is all this filth happening? Like a young Buddhist monk who was violently hazed by his brethren, I had questions that needed answers but yet I had to ask them in a way that didn’t make it seem like I was asking them at all. Did this filth involve call girls working in the lobby of the hotel mocking authority right in its perfectly uniformed face? Was it done through phone orders and internet ads in the seedy underbelly of electronic freedom? Did they have those awesome little finger sandwiches in the lobby as they do at the Hilton back home? I had to know, I had to get to work, I had to stop asking so many damn questions loudly into my tape recorder as the staff was getting nervous.

Before I can find a story I needed to know every room number, every conference happening, and every empty room and closet in the place. Hours of researching just roaming the hallways is always the best tactic. I needed to know what the staff looked like, where they break, what they eat, and so on and so forth. I had no choice but to cover every avenue and angle as this is the difference between seeing your environment and understanding it.

I started by scouting the lobby which was very large and open serving its purpose of being welcoming. Four couches and four chairs filled the center of the room with a pastel blue coloring mixed with a floral design giving it a corporate home type feel. Lots of floral designs in hotels I wonder if they get a deal on buying in bulk but that is not the question at hand. The two couches and the two chairs faced each other with a table in the center so travelers waiting for their chariots can chat. This was done back to back splitting the furniture arrangements into two small chatting and waiting areas so now no two parties are forced to deal with the humanity of each other or others.

To the North near the front door a gift shop stood out and it seemed to have an ample supply of carbonated beverages, chips, localized souvenirs (so you can make it seem like you left your room when you return to your family), and naturally given the surroundings condoms. Across from the gift shop sits the main meeting place for lovable losers, hopeless lovers, business tycoons, horny travelers, and faux writers. The hotel bar.

Next to the bar was a classy barber’s shop that reminded me of a place where old men would get their hair cut and would really enjoy it; both for reasonable pricing and the witty conversation that came along with an old barber who has nothing but time and hates his wife. One of the tricks of any good barber shop is to load the window with pictures of autographed celebrities giving the illusion that the celebrity gets their hair cut from the nice old man sweeping up around the chair. Most of these guys buy the autographs off the internet or trade shows. One autograph always seems reasonable and you can picture that guy actually getting a hair cut at this shop mainly because it’s not a major star like Tom Hanks or Brad Pitt. In this window it was a picture of the big guy who played the Russian in the ‘Rocky’ movie. The more I thought about it the more I started to buy into the fact he probably did get a hotel hair cut from this guy and my first thought was, "I never really thought about his hair before". My next thought was, "Well you know I’ve never seen him with a BAD haircut.” That’s all I needed and a few moments later I was getting a trim infused with witty conversation from the barber about the distain he has for his wife.

The barber was a nice man with a very thick Russian accent. It’s that thick kind of accent where you just laugh lightly at whatever he says, and agree with him every time it seems as if he’s proposing a question. For all I know I had just converted to communism, or perhaps bought into some kind of Ponzy scheme which would mean I was at least involved in something of importance which is hard to come by these days.

I’ve been looking for inclusion in anything lately which is the first sign of boredom. After being laid off my job, my word went from stress to relaxation, to a feeling of failure with absolutely no ability to help the world in any way. So interaction and adventure keep me sane and both are drying up like a trucker’s elbow, American values, oil reserves, dogma, and the feeling of hope.
I hope I can find one more dance of structure before I give up and fade away. But I, like any kid playing a carnival game want to win the big prize in front of God, family, and most of all my friends and fraternity and perhaps it’s that big dreaming that will lead to my massive failure. The risks we take are just as important as the ground we stand firmly upon and lately even that has been shaky.

Vegas just called and I’m not even a long shot to find fame or fortune. I’m a no shot. Perhaps faith is dead and hope is all we have left, and I really am just a lovable loser. It’s a scary thought, but it could very well be the truth, and if that’s the case no crime/no foul I burn out early just as everybody is predicted. But for a moment I have to wonder what if. Now I wouldn’t dare try to paint a word woven picture of "IF" I’ll leave that to talented writers like Rudyard Kipling, but really what ‘if’. The truth is I’m not sure I even have the faith in myself to actually find success but I’ll give it that old college dropout try one more time.

Enough about me, I kept searching and I found the hotel had a basement where most of the action was happening in its conference space. To my dismay the main renter of the hotel was a college aged Christian ministry called Interfaith who were on some kind of yearly Holy Roller meet up. The good news was the hotel was packed with virtuous young virgins whose crosses bounced so innocently between their perfect young breasts; I’m sure Christ would indeed rise again. I was really considering a conversion at this point. Heaven. Hell. Either way was fine with me as long as those girls were involved and at least it was a direction. The bad news was they really, really, really dug Jesus and probably weren’t packing up any drugs or whips and chains which didn’t help my theory. I needed to get to the bottom of, or on top of that later, but first I needed a whole perspective of everybody whom was staying at the hotel.

I further investigated the cork bottle board which listed all the conventions and what rooms they should meet in. One group just had initials and that didn’t really stand out as anything important so I ignored them. Ignorance is the first mistake of all great (and not so great) journalists, cultures, and businesses. The other conference was written in Russian, and also didn’t interest me and at this time of writing I’m not sure why. I discovered later it was a kind of pyramid scheme where people sell them their gold for well under its market value (people hard up for cash) and not surprisingly their target were Americans. Lady Liberty was raped a long time ago, and not to defend those who attacked her, but I think she was kind of asking for it. Have you ever seen that toga type dress she wears? I don’t know, and I knew I didn’t have time to question patriotism so I moved on. I searched down the list and the other group on the conference center listing was "The Foot Lovers Seminar". Bing! Kink, grime, and the kind of filth I could really dip my big toe in to. Finally I had something to attend.

I stopped in the bar for a taste of whiskey before heading into the conference room with "Foot Lovers" on the door. As I walked in the room I did so with a certainty and with an egotistic aura that I belonged. I had my note pad in hand, tape recorder out, and I was all ready to learn about the foot fetish and all it entails. I have in my time sucked a toe or two and who knows what I have to offer these people.

I figured my perspective would really be the key to getting these footlovers and their stories out to the masses of unknowing readers who didn’t hate feet, but certainly didn’t love them. If I had my way Footlovers would no longer be relished to hotel seminars, at least not on my watch. After my story hit the unsuspecting readers these footlovers would get the same love and respect as politicians, scientists, and journalists. Come to think of it they already get treated that way. Never mind. At the very least I could help get their fetish’s foot into the door of mainstream America. Sorry I couldn’t resist.

After an hour and a half of near death boredom I realized that the ‘foot lovers’ name was very misleading. I stood up demanding a refund and was quickly thrown out by two very large chiropractors who reeked of rum and money. You see the conference was a product unveiling to Chiropractors from them to sell foot inserts into shoes that would help straighten the back. Hell they even had a pitch that this simple insert could add points to your golf score (or take away, whichever one is better). Fucking rich people are worried about a golf score while I’m still trying to find a boot that doesn’t hurt while I walk. Spurt surfers rejoice.

On the other end of the hotel near the back parking lot was a single stair well that lead to area that according to the sign was used for corporate training. It like me was a little out of place and weird so I followed the twisting stair well down to the depths of the unknown brainwash centers below. The blue and green carpet and cold red brick wall was hypnotizing me on the way down. If I was on acid I would have died in the oddity of the decoration but thankfully, although against my own will, I was as sober as a Jesus loving college student staying at a Hilton in Illinois.

The basement was perfect as it had a desk, a plug, a comfortable chair, and a tight setting, plus a private bathroom. There was only one conference room and it was empty. This would be the base of my operation where I could take people, interview them, or just escape and write. A pot of ice tea and my laptop was all I really needed to complete the office/war room. All of which could be set up later when I was ready to inscribe this tale.

I returned upstairs to the sitting arena in the lobby where I kick backed for an hour or so and observed. The Christians are an interesting cult. They talk openly about their leader and tell wild stories that even my twisted and disturbed mind could never imagine. Killing brothers, talking snakes (must be referring to the Daly Administration), punishing a man to prove his faith, and on and on. God damn, did I really need to burn a bush, and I’ll take either the sexual or drug innuendo that statement conjures up in your own perverted mind. I’m not a judgmental soul just an imaginary reporter there is a difference as thin as it may seem.

Most of the groups of Jesus Lovers are young: that is the one thing they all have in common, besides Jesus of course. A few older people I noted have been walking around; most conspicuously of these creatures is a man in his mid-thirties who seems to be in charge. A few of the older church ladies kept walking by, but with all the young tail it’s hard to concentrate on them for more than a moment. This is perfectly enough time for the mind to determine that these old bags are disgusting in appearance, and to quickly write them off in our beauty obsessed world. Sucks to be them. Most of these old hags have that ugly old church lady look of conservative hair, too much make up, and almost a masculine appearance. I tuned them out and simply kicked back and watched as people came and went.

An Asian kid with an eye patch that made him almost look robot kept hanging around with a gay black kid both trying their damndest to fit in. I guess it really is a new church although some things never change as the two of them seemed like outcasts. Waves of excitement came and went and were usually caused by the most simplistic of stunts within the faction that are then matched by others in the same tribe in communal displays of cult like behavior. For example a young girl put her hair up so that it looked like it was in a Mohawk. All the other kids flocked to her; they all laughed, took pictures, and within the hour another gaggle of girls had their hair up in the Mohawk fashion being greeted by a similar reception. This process came and repeated most of the night till just about every girl had their hair in a mo-hawk styling. Things were getting heady in my sober state of confusion.

Education is key to the strength of the entire organization. None of these kids are stupid as all of them appear to come from different colleges. Penn State, University of Illinois, Notre Dame, Princeton, William and Mary, are all well represented by warm sweatshirts. Education is encouraged, and is often the crux of most conversations between the Jesus lovers and the older staff.

It’s not a bad strategy as the church has failed in recruiting the mass number of kids it used to. Sex scandals, inability to modernize, and a changing attitudes among adults has resulted in a major blow to a once dominate institution. If you can’t win through sheer public appeal to the masses then restructure and focus, on what, and who matters most to your organizations survival. Why not start with the leaders of tomorrow, as those with dollars are the ones with the loudest voices as money talks and the rest of us are forced to listen. Influence out ranks mass numbers in our system, and drafting influence is the church’s strategy and it’s well placed.

It’s a smart tactic, and whomever the leader is of this interfaith cult knows exactly what he is doing. At one point in the night the guy I assumed to be in charge sat down near me and I listened to him talk about his own kid to some old lady for about forty minutes. I wished and prayed very hard that one day both him and his daughter would visit a crazy lady with a drug addicted monkey whom was going through withdrawals angered by their presence the monkey would lash out in withdrawal rage and tear their faces off. Not sure how soon God gets back to you on those kinds of requests, but to my knowledge it has yet to happen. This guy went on to tell this lady how cute his daughter was and how he’s going to have a problem with the boys because she is so cute and…sexy. Mind you the kid is no more than five years old now. The leader monster went on to debate himself in an arrogant and self serving debate trying to figure out if he should send his kid to a public school, or home school her. Not because of religious reasons, he was very clear to point out, but because she is sooooo smart she might be bored by the slow kids and teachers of the public school system. Please God send the monkey’s as soon as you can.

The marketing is brilliant as capitalism and Catholicism have always been bed room buddies. One shirt had the "GAP" logo on it, under the logo it read, "God Answers Prayers". Pardon me once again. God this is AL can I please live out the American Dream. Thank you. Anyway tons and tons of logos were bastardized by the Jesus marketing team probably by old Jews left on staff from the Old Testament days. Why the hell not, we all got to eat and Jesus hasn’t been very busy lately at the fish market. As a matter of fact if I ever do marry I have to be sure to invite him, I hear he’s great at weddings.

I walked around again still exploring, still seeking, still wanting to find the kink and filth I KNEW was in this hotel ,and no Jesus loving freaks could change that. Most of the rooms had small gold name plates that explained what was happening in them agenda wise. Room titles such as "transformation", "inspiration", "faith and FILL IN THE BLANK", occupied the labeling slots. One small room was dark and packed with media in a sect like brain-washing fashion. It was unoccupied so I sauntered in looking to learn. Well, that or steal some of the unguarded laptops. These kids got to learn somehow that God’s faith doesn’t include health insurance or theft.

The room was truly creepy, yet interesting. Bulletin boards filled the walls asking two very contrasting questions hoping to make a connection to both by use of stars as votes. Let me explain it a bit better than that. Basically it was plain white poster board that had been split by two questions. On the table were star stickers (the kind a teacher would put on a good paper) and you would place a sticker anytime you experienced or agreed with the question. If the two questions had equal stars then they must be assumed to have a connection. If one is, then there for the other is: that type of brain wash thinking. A very dangerous and misleading way to bridge issues as it implies free choice. However people looking at it objectively can understand two options is not free choice. How about those elections?

Have you ever known somebody who was beaten? Have you ever known somebody with a drinking problem? I HAVE I HAVE!!! Have you known somebody who had an abortion? Have you known somebody who killed themselves? Yes. Have you known somebody who did drugs? Have you known somebody who got into fights? Ummm are they spying on me!! Have you known somebody who stopped praying? Have you known somebody who had cancer?

I found the last one to be kind of funny and it made me laugh loudly. Cancer? Jesus Christ he really is a vengeful god isn’t he? It is very clever and very well crafted, as kids would come into this room in packs and no doubt give in to peer pressure not wanting to stand up and say, "most of these questions are problems, yes; but they are not all related". God forbid somebody had a voice other then what they want you to say or think.

The only thing that really offended me was a board where the kids would write on sticky note pads what they thought was the reason for everyday problems. No, Christians were not an option. The question was about the poor and most of these ignorant drones attributed poor to lazy. What happened to not judging? Anyway the truth is the poor are often a product of lack of opportunity. Most poor are born into poverty, it’s not something they asked for or volunteer to accept. It’s like getting the stink off your hand after a misjudgment while wiping. It just doesn’t go away no matter how hard you scrub. It’s a stain and a smell that stays with you. I wrote a nasty note and posted it and moved on.

I was getting nowhere fast so I decided to take a nap which turned into a few hours of sleep. When I got up I headed to the hot tube for a soak. I was hoping for the pool area to be packed with cute girls in bathing suits forgetting Christ for just a moment or two. But like everything else in my life it against didn’t go as planned. This is a common theme in these tough times of economic despair and deep depression where dreams are fading and shackles are gaining while I just slowly just lose my mind and nobody cares. It seemed the church bells were ringing and all the young ladies were in some gospel ho-down in the big conference room near the front of the hotel.

I petrified myself by reading the warnings on the wall outside of the hot tub and fairly quickly removed myself from that death machine. Yes, I enjoyed drugs, booze, sex, and worry about heart issues all apparently bad things to enjoy if you want to use a hot tub. I started to think I was having a heart attack in my hypochondriatic state known as sobriety. I demanded an ambulance and very hard sedatives but no life guard was on duty, everybody else was at church, and my throat was a bit hoarse so like my prayers my pleas for help went unanswered. I returned to my room and took a hot then cold shower before grabbing my laptop to type up this story you are reading now as my self imposed deadline was approaching fast. At least that’s what I thought I would do when I started heading down to my writing area.

The hotel was empty it was like a ghost town or high noon in a Gary Cooper movie. Only a few staff members roamed around wishing their day would end so they could go home, hoping and praying I wasn’t going to cause too much trouble before that point. But trouble is what I was seeking, just not at that moment and certainly not with their cautious eyes upon me. With all the kids in church service my investigation was thrown for a curve.

I got the urge to turd after a hotel restaurant cheeseburger finished its digestive process. Now was the time to capitalize on my clandestine basement area with the private bathroom and good typing atmosphere. At the very least I figured I could start the story and fill in the rest as I found it, surly it was only a matter of time before the kink and perversion would come out of the shadows as it was almost ten o’clock . What I found in the basement was neither private nor clandestine as a group of church ladies were occupying its once empty sole conference room.

Something was odd about the whole damn scenario and that didn’t sit very well with me. Why were they not in church with the rest of the loons? Why were they in this cut off area away from the other conference rooms? Why was enchanting horn heavy music and loud cackling coming from their room?

I went back up stairs and looked again at the board that listed all the conferences and discovered it was not church folk but rather that weird group I wrote off earlier because of their weird initialed name. I needed to discover what it all meant and In the process learn my lesson not to judge a book by its cover. I went back down stairs to investigate further. My plan was simple I still had to dump that cheeseburger off in the private bathroom which was right next to the room these ladies were cackling. So all I needed to do was get close enough to peak in, or wonder in, and investigate further.

I opened the men’s room bathroom door to a women standing at the mirror with a dudes hair cut and a females wig in her hand. These were not church ladies they were transvestites!! How could I have been so blinded by them? They were not the kind of tranny you see on day time TV, or that one that looks like Brittany Spears. These were old, wrinkly, transvestites dressing like Dustin Hoffmann in Tootsie or like any waitress you’ve ever ordered eggs from half drunk at a small dinner at three o’clock in the morning. Fuck I need to get back on drugs I’m falling apart.

Finally I found what I was looking for right in front of me was weird sexual deviants. In shock I shot the door and back away I sat down in a hallway chair just an ear shot from all the action and weird music. I listened, and listened hard, but the lady-dudes spoke quietly and I had no idea what they were saying. I will never forget the laughter that came from that room. It was husky like a bears roar, but yet manacle, confused, and demented. For the first time in a long time I was actually scared. I don’t know why I was frightened it wasn’t a fear of pain, emotion, or threat. I think it came from the general weirdness and inability to understand what the fuck was going on, and when the mind is confused its default emotion is fear.

At that point with the deadline for this piece fast approaching I had to act fast. Truth is I’ve been putting off writing and investigating thanks impart to a deep depression. For the past few days it’s been a task to get out of bed. The kind of dark, dwelling, depression that makes watching TV a task. I hate it, but I can’t run from it, I can’t avoid it, I can’t escape it, I can only do my damndest to sleep through it which is the only thing that beats the alternative of giving in to it.

My story will be loved or it will fail but it still weighs heavy on my mind. You win some you lose some. Life goes on. So on and so forth. That’s my attitude, but I have to admit this spell has been particularly rough, dangerously dehabilitating, and harder than most. I guess it could be worse, and it will get better. It always doe’s, doesn’t it?

If I was going to make this interesting I had to mix the Jesus kids with the old trannies. I’m not sure what I thought would happen but I was sure it would be something interesting. Would the trannies and the Christ warriors engage in a battle of moral decency and acceptance? Would there be bloodshed? Would this usher in revelations? Did Jesus Christ die for nothing? We all would soon find out, or at least that was the plan.

I went upstairs and again studied the cork agenda board. The trannies and the Jesus freaks were both having a party at 11pm. The plan was simple, as the best plans always are. I just needed to schedule both groups to meet in a ball room in the basement for their party at 11pm. A truly wild accidental experiment conducted by me for your pleasure.

I re-printed the fraudulent agenda from the hotel business center computer and pasted it where all could see. It was time to catch a few winks of depression and return to my experiment right around 11pm. I slept and dreamt a delightful dream where I became a famous actor and the world loved me. President Obama was so impressed he named me the countries new Drug Tsar and I single handily ended the drug war against our own people, saved Mexico from civil war, and in turn our economy with legalization. It was high times for all in the land of plenty.

Fuck. Me. Hard. The clock said it was two in the morning meaning I missed my experiment. Everything I built up to is lost, I’ve failed. I have failed yet again. My story is ruined and you probably are going to cancel your subscription to my meaningless blog. I went down to the ball room, but it was empty with no signs of war, struggle, love, decadence, filth, or even any signs of life. It was clean, pristine, and empty which also described my soul.

I went back to my room and I slept some more, just to get up to sleep some more. I was wide awake but I couldn’t get out of bed it was like I was tied down but I wasn’t. I was free as a man in a country of repression entrapped not by a political oppressor but rather my own dark mind. I finally got up because I had to finish this story and the trannies are now long gone, the Jesus Freaks have checked out, and I’ve failed you as the phony journalist that I am. The editor in my head is screaming that I have about an hour before this story is due. A DEAD line. I guess I could sit here and apologize to you, but that has never been my style.

Truth is the one thing I’ve learned is you are who you are and you can’t change that. Money can help, love is amazing, and ice-cream is comforting but at the end of the day the man or woman in the mirror is all you will ever be. Most don’t like what they see and I certainly am most. I wish I was younger, I wish I was smarter, I wish I could write better, I wish I could lose weight, I wish I could win more life battles, I wish I had a better and more influential role in the world but I don’t. I most likely never will. I’ve blown chances and I don’t regret the choices I’ve made; which in the Sudoku puzzle that is life it makes it very had to put the numbers in the right places. Happiness will never be something I can obtain and I accept that.

I came to this hotel looking for filth, for evil, for the sick underbelly of the worst kind. To be truthful I didn’t have to look upon or judge others, I just needed to find a damn mirror. That really is the answer to most of life’s problems it’s just such a horrible solution. What I found in this hotel was something much deeper, something realer, and something more innocent and righteous. What I found was faith. Nothing more and nothing less which is really a good thing when you think about it.

The Jesus folk have a very real, a very strong, and very interesting blind faith. I don’t know if I agree with it but I certainly understand and appreciate it. They give their life, their time, and part of their earnings to a cause greater than their own self interest. They have created a community with in a society where together they can move forth their goals, dreams, dogma, and ideology. They are dreamers sharing the same course to the same place in the sky. It really is magical.

The lovable Footlovers. I was bored to dust by them but they were passionate about their business. It was their identity, it was their lives, and it is who they are. They define it in their names going by ‘Doctor’ a proud and noble title. We all for the most part become what we are in our similar search for survival. I am a satirist and I share that bond with my worst enemy and my best friends in the business. Like us these foot lovers have created a community they have bonded as friends, and they have seen the highs and lows together. They have a definite faith in their profession and have chosen to dedicate most of their lives to a job that provides for them and their families.

Even the Russians with their gold pyramid schemes share a common bond. These men and women are just seeking a better life even if it is at the cost of others. Let’s be honest what in our world isn’t at the cost of others? Some break the laws, the powerful go around the laws, the really rich re-write the laws, and all of us speed. Putting faith in the vulnerability and vanity of fellowman and human nature seems seedy and wrong, but not to them. It’s bad, a shitty way of a life but a way of life none the less. They are just as much victims as those they seek to victimize. It’s hard to understand the faith of others if you’ve never walked in their shoes or in the case of the trannies their heels.

Here are a group of people that have so much faith in their sexuality they are willing to become pariahs of society. A group of people who are so sure of their own strange feelings they are willing to make the world a very hard place for themselves to live. I personally don’t get them but my god man their faith is a testament to us all. The hotel is their one place for them to come and be themselves which oddly to the rest of the world is them not being themselves. Odd times, but I guess that’s the way the world goes around, huh?

I don’t know if any young catholic boys ended up with the shock of their lives and a sore asshole. I’m not sure if any confused girls took another girl to their room to explore sexuality just to find a surprise that really makes them confused. I don’t know if anybody was pissed on, if toes were sucked, or if nothing happened at all. I just don’t know. The only thing I can be sure of is that faith was exercised over and over throughout this hotel.

Did I just find the faith I lost in myself years ago here in this hotel? I don’t know yet, but I can tell you before this story started I had little hope and little faith in my skill or chances to reach my dreams. Hell I thought faith in man was dead. Now here I am days later and I think I might have found the faith I had no idea I even lost. That’s the funny thing with faith it’s like a hot bath, you know it’s hot when you first get in but at the end hours later when it’s cold you hardly notice because it consumes you and the gradual decrease never allows you to feel the temperature’s true state. I had lost all faith in myself and didn’t even fucking know it and coming from a gypsy like me that is very sad. But now I will say I have found faith and conviction in a hotel and for the first time in weeks, maybe months, perhaps even years that makes me happy.

Wish me luck, and go check into a hotel and live a little on the edge because you too might find the faith you didn’t even know you lost. I’ll see you on the flip side.