Tuesday, July 26, 2005


Which stands for "pound it." That's the logo on the back of my brand new Goose Island "312" ballcap, which I received today after a meeting with some folks at the brewery. I had "pound it" on the tip of my tongue but instead blurted "number it" as my answer when asked if I knew what it meant. Goose Island chose that tag line over "#1" ("pound one" for those of you trying to solve the thick algebra). I understand. If I owned a beer company I probably wouldn't want an obvious reference for alcohol abuse as a tag line for one of my beers either. Although it does seems to work for Sam Adams' Jim Koch.

We got to tour the brewery afterward, taste some samples of not yet available product, and left with a half case of soda. Looking into the mash vats reminded me of the trip to the Maker's Mark distillery I took years back with my friends Harry and Monika. We could smell the sour mash for miles before we arrived at the distillery and probably got high on the fumes driving there. At Goose Island that sweet smell of fermenting grain was lost in the haze and pollution of city air. I feared that my sunglasses would fall into the vat for a fleeting moment Hmmm... fresh beer. Any meeting that involves tasting beer is a productive one. it's days like this that remind me of how much fun my job can be.

So it's finally making like a monsoon outside after a whole summer of no rain and excessive heat. I made it through Sunday, but not without a couple scares. I took the dog for a walk before the heat really ramped up, then followed it with some light grocery shopping. When I got back the winds outside popped one of my windows open, wasting all the cold air I built up with my air conditioners. Emmy was panting- it was 85 degrees and humid in the livig room. By the time I had to go to work I managed to make the apartment comfortable again. But when I got to work a freon leak caused the central air unit in the main performance area to pump out only the air from outside.

And we were hosting a wedding. The organizers were gracious about the situation, and we tried to alleviate it as much as possible. But the bride should not have had a melting wax staue glow happening. I myself lost about three pounds of water weight that night. By the time sunset came it was hotter inside than outside. I was glad I opted to not wear a cotton shirt as it would have clung to me like a second skin.

But The Wrigley Field Ivy Looks Immaculate:

The ballfields at McGuane Park are fried, which makes walking the dog an even more arduous task, since Emmy is a fussy shitter. She only wants to drop loads in green patches. Since there are so few left in the park I've taken to walking her farther down 31st Street to a vacant lot where hearty thornbushes are thriving. Emmy isn't too keen on walking there, but her natural impulses take over once she's faced with the challenging foilage.

Still, this is Bridgeport and some things never change, although they do become trends. The tai chi group that meets daily in McGuane have a few new recruits in some middle-aged white folks who've hipped themselves to the knowledge that practicing tai chi helps you live longer. The new folks have even taken to using sticks on days when they practice sword movements. It's a beautiful study in acceptance- the movements of the Chinese flowing effortlessly from years of practice and repitition as they guide the others along a slow but steady learning curve. No judgment is made; no one is ridiculed or dismayed. All that matters is the moment and the tranquility gained from losing oneself in the movements. I especially love watching them when they break out the fans and the exercises gravitate towards something more resembling dance.

In Case No One Has Read I'm Not A Fan Of Whole Foods:

The original point I wanted to make in last week's Chicagoist post was that sometimes there's a feeling that one pays for the privilege of shopping at Whole Foods between its socially conscious mission and commitment to organic produce. I don't know if it was the guttersniping tone of the post or the post's headline (both of which I readily admit to), but it started a whole slew of commentary that- once you waded through the Greek chorus of "Whole Foods Sucks/No, YOU SUCK" that was written- underscored the class divide that's becoming more problematic in urban areas in the early 21st century. Cities are becoming largeer versions of suburbs. As metropolitan areas transform from rundown industrial areas into giant residential areas where everyone is stacked on top of each other, a lot of the melting pot mentality that marked cities is becoming either homogenized or altogether wiped clean. Walk down some streets in Chicago these days and you find yourself passing an seemingly endless loop of sushi bars with expposed brick walls, bar/restaurants, and clubs with soundalike bands on stage. Some readers commented that they welcomed the building of a Whole Foods in the South Loop as they have few options for fresh groceries in that neighborhood, let alone shopping in general. I'm on their side. Thanks to the new Target at Roosevelt and Clark I don't have to go all the way up to Logan Square for seafoam green plates anymore.

Anyhoo, the "boojie" Jewel on Roosevelt and Wabash was redesigned two years ago: although some of their design cues were lifted from Whole Foods, apparently they opted to stock the same mealy produce one finds at Jewel. And Dominick's partnered with Starbucks in their cafes years ago. So residents in the South Loop need some variety. But why can't some of that TIF money go toward an entrepreneurial independent grocery that wants to sell organic without all the bells and whistles of a Whole Foods

But the residents who angrily advocated the building of a Whole Foods in the South Loop are entitled to their opinion. After all, they chose to live a cul de sac subdivision lifestyle in the middle of the city, so they should be afforded all the attributes of modern upper-class suburbia.

Friday, July 15, 2005

Dustier Than My Living Room...

And I'm not really motivated to clean things up around here right now. Suffice it to say that I've been keeping myself busy.