Sunday, November 30, 2008

Endless Sleep, Endless Sleep

JODY REYNOLDS lyrics - Endless Sleep

(Jody Reynolds and Dolores Nance)

The night was black, rain fallin' down
Looked for my baby, she's nowhere around
Traced her footsteps down to the shore
‘fraid she's gone forever more
I looked at the sea and it seemed to say
“I took your baby from you away.
I heard a voice cryin' in the deep
“Come join me, baby, in my endless sleep.

Why did we quarrel, why did we fight?
Why did I leave her alone tonight?
That's why her footsteps ran into the sea
That's why my baby has gone from me.
I looked at the sea and it seemed to say
“I took your baby from you away.
I heard a voice cryin' in the deep
“Come join me, baby, in my endless sleep.

Ran in the water, heart full of fear
There in the breakers I saw her near
Reached for my darlin', held her to me
Stole her away from the angry sea
I looked at the sea and it seemed to say
“You took your baby from me away.
My heart cried out “she's mine to keep
I saved my baby from an endless sleep.

Endless sleep, endless sleep

Sometimes I miss things. Jody Reynolds died on November 7th, he had liver cancer and was 75. He was famous for a song called "Endless Sleep," which charted in the summer of 1958, and was one of the first truly great Teenage Death Songs. The title is sung the way waves would hit the shore, rising with END and dropping with LESS, sliding into SLEEP. Works for riding the subways, too. the el tracks get that whole metal in motion thing going, tt-chh, tt-chhtt, tt-chh. Its still not cold enough to dread the el train; a few years back, during our string of twenty below wind chill nights, someone asked me what we do on the train when its that cold. I replied it was like the end of the remake of THE THING, you stare at the person across from you and wait to see who falls asleep from the cold first. (Added memory bonus: Kurt Russell is in the remake and survives to the end!)

Saturday, November 29, 2008

The Spirit

I had initially planned to have a YouTube someone made in which they drive the length of Lake Shore Drive on a rainy night, and it would be perfect scenery for Danny Colt (with Jonny Algiers riding shotgun). Don't know if the film will be any good, seeing as how Frank Miller wrote the script. But the character Will Eisner created in the 40s was very much one of the most overlooked characters until the last few years. The guy has as many babes as James Bond (or Jonny Algiers). I was hoping to see P'Gell in the film, if only to see how the hell her name is pronounced, but Eva Mendes is the perfect choice for Sand Serif. I'll have to admit that I have a crush on Eva Mendes, I do. Not enough to watch GHOST RIDER all the way through, but close. I'm just waiting on the film, having no expectations so as to not be disappointed either way. I do wish they had filmed in Chicago, though.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Batman R.I.P.

Yea, he's gone. Well, Bruce Wayne isn't Batman anymore. A decent storyline by Grant Morrison, with the build-up going back two years, that's how clever Morrison is with his plotting. But let's forget about that and look back on some memorable Batman moments from years gone by, including the infamous "palomino" panel. (For the record, I've never been a Batman fan, but Grant Morrison can create stories that no one else can, BATMAN#663--the current issue is #681--was entirely written in prose, and he makes connections, well, its like someone wrote a comic in 1958 simply so Morrison can reference it in 2008, and that's why I'm reading this story arc.) Well, that's over with. Think I'll take a look at THE WAR THAT TIME FORGOT, the next comic from my pull list. And after that, VINCENT PRICE PRESENTS...

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Glen Orbik & The American Century

I've added Horatio Salt to my "Unusual Subjects" blog links off to the left, feel free to check the guy out. He can put words together like nobody's business, occasionally with a photo or art as inspiration. (Horatio also hipped me to Tumblr, which will keep a running entry of any number of places I jot things down, be it this blog here, Twitter, Facebook (which I treat as the kids next door having an all night party, giving away gifts and joining clubs, but, hey, its me inside just saying that I can't keep up). (I did forget to check if I could hook up my Bobby The Mitch blog, something to look into at a later date.) Tumblr is cool, like keeping three notebooks together in the same spacetime. Well, back to what I started out talking about. No, no, go read Horatio's work, I can wait...

...ok. Glen Orbik certainly has more Daniel Brereton to him than Alex Ross when it comes to comics covers, if you saw his work for DC, you'd see that he's the only guy who can make Superman look swarthy. Big-lipped swarthy. There was a series in the early double-aughts--its what I call this decade, after Jethro Bodine wanting to be a spy like that double-aught seven guy--that DC put out called AMERICAN CENTURY. The covers are flat out beautiful, you'd see the newest issue on the shelf and you'd swear you could reach through the cover and touch the characters' hats or bellies or feel the breeze in most every scene. I found these covers at his website. I wish I could see everything this way, I'd certainly be a better writer.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Mr. State Trooper, Please Don't Stop Me

Saturday night my old roommate from Rogers Park, Gary Krejca (yes, THAT Gary Krejca, I know!), came by and we went to his cousin's birthday party up in Ukrainian Village. Last time we got together, in much warmer weather, we went to Rosa's, a blues bar on Armitage, and that is where I took the cool photo of the kind of back porches there are on the north side. We were fairly close to Humboldt Park and I mentioned to Gary how run down some of the thru-streets were (Crystal, which I grew up on, stopped and started) and I made a point of telling him about the bottom photo when we passed Potomac Street (a block north of Crystal), which goes east-west over much of the city. The side streets are being converted to town homes, as with every other neighborhood up north, the basic three flat keeping its exterior but being converted to six or nine town homes in place of three apartments. Thankfully, the main street, in this case, Western Avenue, is still the same, dumpy apartments on top of taverns and aptekas. Gary commented that we were the oldest people in the bar, the Round Robin (I think). We were carded by a youngster who, Gary also believed, would have asked us to leave because we were too OLD, not the reverse. I just had a few Cokes and Gary had some draft that came from a pointed gnome's head and a tattooed girl who had this Joan Jett thing going worked the stick. Gary and I left around midnight, it was the coldest night here since March, maybe 10 with the wind chill. It makes the streets barren of everything but cabs, and those were few. I'm still familiar with the area--Christ knows I haunt it enough in my stories--so I pointed out a HI-FI store that now had butcher paper in its windows and a Citgo now standing where there used to be a playlot (the tiny park playing a huge part in my story "Augusta Boulevard, Sunday Night"). It was too cold to try sniffing out if the aloe factory was still around. Men who worked there (besides smelling minty fresh) wore huge green buttons that read "Ask Me About ALOE" on their uniforms. As we walked back to his car, I commented that the deserted streets wanted me to hear a Bruce Springsteen song, even the blog entry name, though that song obviously takes place on some county road. On a warmer night, tavern doors might have been open, and if wasn't a polka drifting out onto the concrete it might certainly have been Springsteen, as popular with the Poles as Big Steve & The Stevedores or Frankie Yankovic. It was great getting into a warm vehicle, but it sucked leaving the neighborhood next door to where I grew up.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

The Eyes Creatures

Glad y'all found my Monster A Go-Go post, considering I wrote it fairly late in the afternoon, knowing I was going to be up north in Ukrainian Village last night, and there were some great comments, plus GW Ferguson seemed to have shambled out of hiding. His mention of THE CRAWLING TERROR made me at first confuse it with THE EYE CREATURES, a film where the invaders are killed by teenagers using cameras with flash bulbs. Crazy teens. Though I'll tell you, if you read up on GW's favorite film, there are times during the last 8 years where I've often felt that self-propelling myself into a giant slug's mouth might be the easiest way out. Back to MAGG, why Chicago? Well, at one point some guy in a suit is pointing at a map north of Chicago. My guess is that he was NOT pointing at the now closed Glenview Naval Air Station, but rather at the mythical town of Schermer, the setting of several John Hughes' films, most notable FERRIS BEUHLER'S DAY OFF. If that space capsule landed in Schermer circa 1961 with all the radiation pouring out of it, well, that explains a lot. Also, its funny I just posted on viaducts, because at the end (which I can now talk about because Capcom admitted she saw it, just forgot), the actor from 1965 who played the ten foot tall astronaut (as opposed to the 1961 actor, who was maybe six feet tall and looked like Marty Allen) wandered around our BIGGEST viaduct, lower Wacker Drive (seen in the last half of THE BLUES BROTHERS). A sign that reads Wabash Ave, with an arrow point upwards, well, thats still there. And even though its blurry you can indeed see the Chicago Police Star and logo on the squad and motorcycles. And as the men walk around with those Geiger counters, well, some of those short viaduct stairwells looked damn familiar (I've posted about lower Wacker Driver before, its one strange place, the site of Chicago's only death by crossbow.) What's funny, and I didn't know this until today, the next film after MAGG on TCM Friday night was THE GIANT SPIDER INVASION, filmed in the middle of Wisconsin during Polka Days (and yes, I posted about this earlier in the year). To really make it a trifecta, though, the first film shoulda been THE BEGINNING OF THE END, in which giant grasshoppers go from Rantoul to Joliet to Chicago in a film that is uncannily correct in a Mapquest kinda way. Even though I've seen the spider film recently (to me, that means within the last decade), I'll likely watch it late in the night.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Monster A Go-Go

Well, as with my post about THE BREEZE HORROR a year ago, it has now been 12 months since Steve in NZ reminded us that his favorite zombie movie is CHOPPER CHICKS, etc., etc. I saw that at a convention in Providence a long time ago, along with RE-ANIMATOR. Well, Charles emailed that he and Lana thought of me last night while they watched MONSTER A GO-GO on TCM. Capcom missed it, so I can't give too much away, but yeah, I knew it was on. I've been wanting to see this for years. Charles thought of me because it takes place near Chicago, which makes perfect sense, as a squad car was sent to look in a field for a space capsule that crashed. We are told this because a control voice narrates all of this. We see a field, yes, NASA chose Illinois to have the capsule land, because Iowa evidently wasn't available. The cops find a thing that looks like a model, they are actually TALLER than the thing, which is conveniently propped against a bush, and evidently they are concerned because it had been manned (!) and the astronaut was nowhere to be found. The narrator reminds me of the guy who did the intros to all the Quinn Martin Productions (like THE FUGITIVE) in the 60s, so that is kind of cool, because everything is said with a sense of urgency even when it is meaningless. "This is a world of ifs. If only they had not left the party. If only." Sounds like Dubya's Saturday radio address. Yea, the monster (presumably the astronaut has become a monster) is in the vicinity of a happening dance party at some kid's house out near a desolate field where NASA requires its manned spacecraft to land. So there's the go-go part. Bill Rebane started making this film in 1961 and lost funding, and H.G.Lewis took the film and finished in it 1965. With a different cast, in the same roles, because by then most of the kids were in college or in jail. Or had four year old kids and still trying to get SAG cards. I can't give away the ending because it is completely mind-bending. Yet, at the same time, brilliant. I have no doubt that this one film caused everyone to start seriously looking at drugs to get them the hell out of this reality. Yes, I am indeed saying that we can blame the existence hippies on this film. And since it double-billed with MOONSHINE MOUNTAIN, it then begat hillbilly hippies. The best part about this film, compared to say, THE HIDEOUS SUN-DEMON, is that you see absolutely nothing at all. The narrator tells you every damn thing. Even the WTF ending, when the viewers looked at each other, saying Now he didn't just go do what I think he did...did he?" (Meaning the director, bless his mind-bending heart). By all means, go to TCM, put the film on your email schedule (my notices consist of pretty much Mitchum, Frank Gorshin, Jack Lemmon, John Agar, VILLAGE OF THE GIANTS (Beau Bridges' first film), and MONSTER A GO-GO, now crossed off that list. Do it now. Too many people say PLAN 9 FROM OUTER SPACE is the worst film ever made. People gotta quit hatin' on Ed Wood.

Friday, November 21, 2008

For You, The Living

Well, its been about a year since I spent that long Saturday at the printing plant running a big job and finally reading THE BREEZE HORROR. Long enough that I'll spoil it for those who commented a year ago, the book portrayed the first real zombies, not Romero's shambling ghouls. Zombie that didn't run as fast as those in the remake of DAWN OF THE DEAD or 28 DAYS/WEEKS LATER, but somehow, the idea was overlooked in this obscure book. The reason it stayed obscure is because about halfway through the book, things happen that just should not could not would not, but then again, this was a book published by Pinnacle in 1988. After having shot her zombie ex-husband with a shotgun in his chest and face, the ex-wife (the main character) proceeds to live with the zombie and get pregnant by him. Insane? I know. The whole zombie thing was caused by toxic waste in a space shuttle that exploded over New Jersey, and the book takes place on one of those north shore beaches. But there are still pretty graphic images in that book I still recall, and the ending is very neat, the woman in a rowboat, finding no one alive at every resort town she passes, all the while giving milk to a zombie baby. Yea, that kinda milk. And yet, and yet, one of the big deals of the 2004 DOTD was...a zombie baby. Again, I know! So I can bet if someone really thought this out, the book could indeed be made into a film, certainly there have been more implausible films out there.

I'm amazed and glad that zombies are such a big thing in films, I just saw SLITHER the other night (thus realizing that I am in love with Elizabeth Banks), and WORLD WAR Z will be in the theaters soon. Happy because finally (well, once TWILIGHT is gone) there are less gothic pretty boy vampires flitting around like Charles Nelson Reilly. That said, I think its time to rethink my 1992 novella FOR YOU, THE LIVING. I created a type of plague called Treats, a play on a new treatment to fight against a very virulent strain of HIV, where the people are not technically dead, more insane, with sex impulses but no nerve impulses. Downtown Chicago can be perfectly isolated, because of the two branches of the river and various interstate arteries that can be demolished. My characters live in the high-rises near Lake Michigan, and everyone is kept safe by the Department of Streets and Sanitation, who use our many snow plows to safely get rid of the bodies after they are shot dead by cleaning crews or snipers from the skyscrapers nearby. I wrote a love story that goes wrong, and by going wrong it makes the title of the novella crystal clear. I have a writing project I'm involved with and I've said I was going to then write that Frank St. Cyr novel, CITY WITH NO SECOND CHANCES. I think that, before I write the bigger book, I should maybe update FYTL, make the plague victims zombies (HIV is a bit outdated), and write something that might end up book length and my agent can sell it to Hollywood for about $300.00 and it would star Clint Howard and Amanda Plummer. Or maybe I could make a few more bucks off of it. And since I'm always asked, I took the title from lines from "Monster Mash," For you, the living, this mash was meant, too/when you get to my door, tell them Boris sent you. They did the mash. It caught on in a flash.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Over Dere By Under The Viduck

Trying to catch up on the posts I had wanted to deal with, this one following the time I mentioned viaducts flooding after Hurricane Ike in, what, August? And, Bob, I swear I'll write about the time I fell into the hole while scavenging the ruins of Miami Bowl soon, I swear. People in Chicago talk funny, particularly when offering
directions. Over dere covers just about any distance, and in the case of, say, there being two people/places with the same name, you might hear, "No, not Jimmy from over dere, but the Jimmy over dere by the viduck." Viaduct, of course, but still a baffling set of words. So here are some of our infamous viaducts. One not pictured is infamous to south siders, the big, yellow one at Damen. For decades, that was the barrier between black and white south side. It was one long tunnel, as well. Closer to me, there are the viaducts that run between Central Park and Lawndale, with the Grand Trunk RR running on tracks above the cross streets. There are always odd little bars nearby, like Players on 59th and Traxx right near the 8th District cop house on 63rd. That couple up top have no clue. That viaduct in the background runs beneath the Morse Avenue el tracks in Uptown. Kind of a crappy place to be even in broad daylight, worse after those lights go off when the bars close. The theater is on a street where, once you go away from those el tracks, things get better. You're not walking streets that look like the backdrop of a Starsky & Hutch chase scene. Years (I mean, years) ago, that place was called Roy's, and it was a dive. I'd stand on the el platform and hear the jukebox and see cigarette smoke coming from the cracks in the windows. It was one of those places you that had a pool table you couldn't see until you walked into it. One of the few places where I wouldn't try and take a photo for later reference. But it was a great bar to disappear in. My days of drink are over, my days of being able to afford drink gone, but Roy's was a place that I quite honestly believe produced its fair share of John Doe murder victims over the years. I still miss the place, though. What can I say? I'm nostalgic.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Sunday, Sunday, SUN-day...

at Sante Fe Speedway, that's what we heard on the radio here. My friend Ray told me at lunch that the Frosted Mug is now torn down, so I am glad to have taken those photos I posted in September. Sante Fe Springs was a town just outside of Chicago that had been host to the Sante Fe Speedway. The stock car track was demolished years ago, UPS is pretty much covering that same stretch of land, in a town called Hodgkins, still close enough that I can get there on a single bus ride. Sante Fe Springs still shows on old maps, but I'm assuming it was not much more than a trailer park. Welco Corners can be found on old maps, as well, near Joliet, because that was the town that was officially the first stop on Route 66. A few years back Ray and I went past the sign to take photos of it, I had long thought one good windstorm would take the billboard down. About six months ago, the entire building was torn down, but not by nature. It was replaced by a bright neon billboard that changes ads every few seconds. Ray was glad I took the Frosted Mug shots and I again thanked him for driving me out to Wolf Road to take the billboard shots. More ghosts.

Monday, November 17, 2008

True Story, Except It Was An Ant...

...and the woman wasn't dead, as far as I could tell. This happened decades ago, it had just turned cold and people were wearing their winter jackets for the first time. Years ago, on the Division Street bus, on my way to see Ileana Gomez in the middle of a summer night, I sat amazed at three cockroaches trying to keep their balance as the bus bounced along. They kept changing position, like the game where you guess the ball is under which cup. Kind of like a living three card monte game.

The second segment of my post relates to this day in general. It snowed and its cold and now it will take a few days before my body adjusts the clockwork, I get the odd pains, a knuckle, the side of my knee, my little finger. Everything gets back to normal in a day or so, but I must now face my true nemesis for the next six months. Tonight, I'm the wet bird in the photo, by Thursday, I'll be the usual bald-headed goofball.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Undisputed Stigmata

I had planned a different post but things got out of hand in the real world today and regardless of what my time stamp says, it is 12:39 Monday morning. One of my other blogs (all are pretty much photos, little more), I've been running photos from my 1989 body modifications. Christ, but I hate those Larry King glasses. I came across these yesterday, taken when the plates in the arm broke in half. I didn't think much of it, because I was pretty much mindless in pain that year, but when I went for my doctor's checkup three days later, the nurse about shrieked. The doc, good 'ol Robert Sciapppa, asked me if I could move my fingers, which I showed him I could, then he said fine, let's go fix you up. I still have the hardware, check the photo by Martel Sardina off to the left. I wish I could have taken more photos, you should have seen me shaving when my arm was like that. Well, I still have plenty to do as I stay hunched over the keys. Sorry for the strange interlude...Wayne

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Redemption In The Streets Of Night

First, regarding "Spirit In The Sky," its not about the lyrics. Read the book as those first chords play, by the time the clapping starts, its the Painkiller's footsteps. When we both have the time, I'm going to get Greg Loudon to do a series of subway photos of me that we can blur together. And if anyone watched that Norman Greenbaum video, its like watching the beginning of H. R. PUFNSTUF after having a pint of Haagen Daz with another melted pint poured on top of the first one. Anyways. About redemption:

Last night I dreamt of the other Chicago again. The last time I posted about this strange version of my city, Rich Chwedyk (yes, THAT Rich Chwedyk, the Nebula winner) told me of his other-Chicago, with two separate skylines, yet just as clear as mine is. This time around, I was again in the office with dark blue carpeting and silver chairs and desks. The top of this building (which I've seen from another, taller building) has a roof that curves up and around, like the entire rooftop is a heating vent. Don't ask me why I know what is in one building when see it from another vantage point. I just know. Whereas most of my dreams are in that weird monotone where the background looks like gunmetal, and now you see a that a lot on television shows like HEROES, to me I always call that light the false dawn, in these downtown dreams it is the dead of night, I'm alone (I mean, no one is in the buildings or rooms), and some shit is gonna go down. At street level there are demonstrations, or possibly there are armies looking for people, maybe me. I've been at ground level outside the taller building I mentioned, there is (quite inexplicably) a broken chain link fence that hangs like a drape between that and another, squat building. In other dreams going back decades, I have plotted out this city palmisest well enough to give me screaming headaches at 4:45 AM. I'm not certain why I was in that room with the blue carpeting again, its not from a real experience and its NOT a spaceship, I last was in that room about a year ago. My belief is that is that this is where I go after I die, or if I am dead already, that is the next level, I keep going through different versions of Chicago, somehow redeeming myself to move on each time. I don't think I found what I was searching for because I woke up pissed off and with a very high heart rate. So I'm at least shut of that for awhile. Regardless of where I am, who I see, if its the black marble hotel shaped like a cone or the flooded streets with marionettes and yellow balloons dragging in sewage and a damn loudspeaker just far enough away that I cannot hear the words, it is always about redemption. The best way I can ever explain it. There is a reason I am there, one night I'll be close enough to that loudspeaker to hear what is expected of me, so I can do it and move on.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Soundtracks of Our Lives

Couple of things, first off. Yea, the last post was boring, but I think I'm back in the groove. Capcom and Lana, maybe Steve in NZ, may not know of the Four Sticks Curse. Its a minor curse, more like a stubbed toe than a gaping head wound. For example, today I was reading a Green Lantern comic totally at random and it was set in Sector 1111. Hemlockman discovered an 11 earlier this year at his job. My buddy ex-roommate from Rogers Park 1985, Gary Krejca, stuck me with the curse and you really just pass it on to others. You look at a clock in the morning, and increasingly, you will see it at 11:11. Icalled Gary on Tuesday, got what I thought was his answering machine, said "Four Sticks" in my best Rod Serling voice (the toxic ink from the printing plant has helped this particular impersonation quite good, and I'm working on David Janssen now). Well, I dialed area code 603 not 602 and today a guy from New Hampshire called me to ask what the hell I meant. I first tried to pretend he had called an asylum, then just told him the truth. And now Four Sticks is in New Hampshire. And the center does not hold.

OK. Yea, there's those videos attached. Here's the scoop. There are two instances in my novel where I see it so visually I can taste the air, one is at the beginning, when Mike Surfer is wheeling back to the Marclinn House, almost the first scene in the book, Mike Surles known as Mike Surfer because of how he rolls down the streets. I can see him even now, with the full three minutes of Three Dog Night's "Family of Man" playing, the instrumentals hitting as Mike went from sidewalk to street several times over.

The second instance involves the Painkiller walking into the Red Line subway to find Lex Bastoni, another killer who is in a wheelchair. Because everybody else Frances Madsen Haid killed were good people and he was taking them to a better place (in about the only truly supernatural scenes I have ever written, and ever will), since this guy, as Haid would find out, would do nothing but explode and go to Hell, I always hear Norman Greenbaum's "Spirit In The Sky," another one of my Wayne's Ultimate Funeral Mix, because it would echo so damn well in the subway. The scene is within a block of where Mike Surfer was weeks earlier, the book covers maybe a half-square mile of a downtown now gone. The subway is still there, and the song still fits. For those of you who have the book handy, the Painkiller enters the subway on page 146, but reads towards the bottom to get the feel for the desolateness of that long echoing tunnel.

Other songs that I've connected with THE HOLY TERROR, well, I can think of one. One summer I descended the stairs and in the next platform, a block south, unseen, I could hear a guy strumming a guitar and singing Johnny Nash's "I Can See Clearly Now." I recall that so clearly, again, like visualizing Mike Surfer, only this was 100% real instead of my usual dilution of real life events to 94%. To stand there and smell piss and sweat and chocolate, hearing a ghost sing. I could have walked to the next station underground, but it was more memorable standing there, holding my book, and just taking it in. Its winter now (pretty much). So instead of guitars, you'll hear saxophones. That's the way it is underneath the streets.

In the soundtracks of our lives.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Ground Control To Major Tom

I'm going to try and get into blogging mode again. One would think I had enough time, although I do slow down as winter approaches. Well, going back to voting night--oh, by the way, Sid just AIMd me that Bush is trying to pass a bill before Obama gets in that will let the government put surveillance on anybody with the pretext that they are crime suspects. I think they've been doing it all along, I likely misunderstood Sid, they are likely more dire implications now. Bush & Cheney will burn the White House down in January and turn into vampire bats and fly off, but only after sharing an erotic kiss with Bush bottoming from the top (a phrase I read in a Batman comic, of all places, earlier this afternoon).

So, election night I was in the old 'hood, you saw the photos of the grinning pigs. This really will be a boring post, at least compared to when I riffed about Archer Avenue. I lived just north of those pigs, then at the corner of Pulaski there was this INSANE five way intersection with 87th and Southwest Highway (Columbus Avenue), a street which eventually will go all the way to Stateville Prison. Well, there's a lot of changes at that intersection now. The Pain Clinic is now some indecipherable place since Dr. Rodriquez died. The real name was Southside Physical Medicine Center, and man they did some evil crap to me there trying to fix me up, but in big letters next to the street address it read PAIN CLINIC. This is where they put needles in me and toggled them around to see if any nerve endings screamed out on the LED screen. Bluebird Lanes used to be Laredo Lanes, which had a HUGE red neon B O W L sign that never, as far as I could recall, had the B lit up, and so every night, the last thing I saw was the word OWL backwards above the treetops, from the hallway window. Earl Scheib's is gone, first time I saw his commercials he was painting cars for $29.99. Bill's Grill is gone, there was a waitress there I could swear was being abused, my dad checked it out with the cops to no avail. SW Highway is no way as cool as Archer, though it is an artery, eventually passing the old M&R Drive-In next to the Zayre's and Big Ben Shoe Store. On weekends, my Uncle Ed and I would drive through the tunnel under the screen and there'd be a huge flea market. Ed taught me how to do the...well, I just call it The Ed. Four pockets in your jeans, dollars in one, quarters in another, nickles and dimes in the third, your wallet in the last. Learned to go for whichever pocket made me look tapped out. Within about a half mile of the drive-in (the entire mall is gone now, the trainyard to the south is still there), SW Highway dead ends at 71st & Western. You could always tell where it ended because of the giant Mr. Shrimp bucket. That's gone, too. Guess this is why I haven't been posting, not a heck of a lot to say.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Here's My Ride!

Actually, that's not Death lurking by the street light. Its some dude reminding me that it will be Four Sticks Day in a few hours.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Get Into The Pit & Try To Love Someone

On the way to voting Tuesday, I took my camera because I knew I'd be passing by an old landmark from where I used to live. I moved to 85th & Springfield (one block east of Pulaski) in June of 1966 and Rosario's, up a block at 86th, was where the entire neighborhood bought their lunch meat. I had to go there often to pick up meat and jars of olives and pickles, but never had reason to look at the sign itself. You just knew where the place was. Well, as I got older, I did take a good look at the sign. It lights up at night, each pig separately, but it really doesn't photograph well. But here you have it, pig after happy pig, jumping into the meat grinder. Gotta love this city, man.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

This Night, in Chicago...

Sid's in Denver and I told him I'd grab the paper to send him local photos from the election. I was nowhere near downtown, but I was in the city, having gone to get my anti-inflammatory shots. I told Sid that one day there would be a nonfiction novel, not a memoir, more like a cop story. The entire novel would be in one neighborhood in Chicago, one night, ending even before voting stopped for the night. The air was both electric and static and heavy. George Pelecanos wrote THE BIG FOREVER, and its a period novel, but is set entirely during the March Madness basketball games in the late 70s, covering maybe two weeks in Washington DC. Its a violent book, I'd hope the news I've been hearing of gunfire in certain areas is simply a rumor or an exaggeration. But it was something, walking the streets and sitting on the buses earlier this evening, afternoon turning to dusk, then to night, me at various transfer spots. The air is what I remember most, it was like breathing in something that really wasn't oxygen. Hard to explain, really. And I know I won't be the one writing that novel, and I'm not saying it will even be written anytime soon (refer to Pelecanos above). But THIS NIGHT, IN CHICAGO might be a pretty good title to start with...Wayne

Ride, Captain, Ride

Well, here's the thing. 'Ol G.W. Ferguson thinks the Ides of March song rates right up there with Bloodrock's "D.O.A." That's a song about a plane crash, and I wonder if the band knew the letters also stood for Dept. of Aviation (as they, perhaps, unfortunately do here, as these blocks are all over Midway Airport). But, let me pose this to G.W., does that song ever get covered by a Polish polka band at someone's 70th birthday party? To offset this horrible yet mind-bending YouTube from Milwaukee Avenue (AKA Polish Broadway) Hell, I also found a video of Blues Image singing "Ride, Captain, Ride." I've always loved this song, I can hear it playing in my head next month when we pour Harry's ashes over Lake Michigan, but I really don't know what the flaming hell surfboarding has to do with this song. Sure is a cool hole in the rock where they set up the band, though, huh?