Thursday, August 31, 2006

I Used to Lust After Them. My Name is Charlie.

"Once upon a time there were three little girls who went to the police acadamey..."

Was it really thirty years ago? I'd cry to my mother to let me watch "Charlie's Angels." She'd always say no, but I kept it up until the opening credits were over. It was the sequence with Jaclyn Smith, the last quick edit, to be specific, where she'd flip her hair around, a feathered bang landing in front of her left eye. I'd then give up the fight and go to bed happy, then get caught at 9:30 sneaking peeks at the show from behind the sofa. At that point Mom would let me stay up, figuring I'd be exposed to T&A sooner or later. I hadn't developed the faculties to realize that what I was feeling inside was the act of pursuing more furtive pleasures with Kelly Garrett. All I knew was that she, and the other angels, were a different form of pretty than my mother. She probably smelled pretty, too.

They've all held up really well. In varying degrees, that is. Like different wines. Look at Farrah, for instance. She would be a bottle of Yellow Tail you find at your local drugstore. It's ubiquitous and everywhere, but you wouldn't let it sit on your rack for years on end, because its bottled for immediate consumption. It still has a pretty looking bottle, though. And if you took it to a wine party, you'd get some raised eyebrows. Ironically, my stepdad used to call Farrah "Yellow Tail." As in "Boy, don't tell your mother, but I wouldn't mind drilling into some of that yellow tail." These days, Farrah's rocking too much exposure to the sun, a possible addiction to pills, and probably had some work done. You still wouldn't scoff at her if she walked past. And she held it together the other night on the Emmys, as well.

Jaclyn Smith aged like a prized burgundy kept in perfect cellaring conditions. She broke out the bangs for one night, along with a gown slit up the front to show off her legs, and tapped into the seven-year-old with horn-rimmed glasses that that still occupies this adult body. For six minutes, I was in 1976 again.

But will you look at Kate Jackson? Sabrina Duncan was always the angel that appealed to me the least. Probably because she never wore a bathing suit; stayed behind with Bosley to run command on the operations; and dressed, let's say, like a tomboy. "Lesbian" was such a gauche, derogatory term in 1976.

Looking at her in that photograph, Kate Jackson looks so soft and, well, womanly. She's an absolute lock for a MILF. If she had grandchildren (I wiki'ed all their personal information before sitting to write this), she'd be entering the rarified air of Grand-MILF (please don't ask me to spell that out. No one's that daft). In that regard, she's like a young merlot tossed in the corner of a basement bar, and ignored for thirty years. But the basement had the proper cellaring conditions, and the wine came around. The tannins softened, and the wine gained this elegance that wasn't noticeable when you first bought it.

When my friend Chris used to live in a loft on Belmont, across the alley from the Alley, he had a neighbor who called herself "Stick", that Chris said looked like Kate Jackson. So Whitley from Ravenswood and I would then ask, "Which one? Kate Jackson circa 'Charlie's Angels', or Kate Jackson around the time of 'Scarecrow and Mrs. King?'" It was really funny when we were smoking dope, 'cause then we'd bring up "The Rookies" and "Dark Shadows." Stick would pass by, and we'd say "Kate Jackson" like Chris would say it, and laugh until we nearly pissed our pants.

Turned out Chris was right all along.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Open Letter to a Wannabe Vigilante

You don't know me. For all I know you might not even be aware of this little thing we call a "weblog." Anyhoo, I hope someone clues you to tis place, so that you read what I have to say.

I moved to Bridgeport seven years ago as a last resort; it turned into a salvation, of sorts. I've grown to accept the neighborhood for what it is, both its treasures and its flaws. Now, I'm far from naive about the increasingly persistent gang activity in the neighborhood. Like you, I'm concerned about it. Unlike you, I prefer to work with established deterrents like the neighborhood watch, local ward office, and police department to prevent further growth.

Apparently, that doesn't provide the necessary results for you. Which is why you went throughout the neighborhood in the middle of the night, posting on every trash can, light pole, and flat surface a notice that you were looking for like-minded people to "take our neighborhood BACK!!" from the - and I quote - "Latin Kings, wetback Mexicans, and nigger gangs." Nice of you to be so broad-minded and inclusive.

Speaking as someone who utilizes McGuane Park in some fashion everyday, let me state for the record that most of the gangbangers I've seen in that park are white kids, some of them so dopey looking that I wouldn't trust them with a loaded water pistol. None of them have tried to intimidate me, and all of them just go about minding their business, which is mainly sitting on the bleachers all day.

You also printed your phone numbers on the flyers, which I guess is helpful, in the chance you find like-minded bigots individuals for the cause. There're some problems with that, though (and that doesn't include the rash of justifiably angry crank calls you've probably been fielding all day):

  1. Your particular choice of words opens you up to possible prosecution for a hate crime, should any concerned citizen decide to run those phone numbers through reverse directory assistance (as I did), find out where you live, and have a warrant sworn out for your arrest.
  2. Those "Latin Kings, wetback Mexicans, and nigger gangs" could also run your numbers through reverse directory assistance, start vandalizing your house, and harrassing you and your family.
  3. The last thing the police need is some epithet-spewing hothead challenging possibly armed youths who think they have nothing to lose by dropping you like a stone.
In an announcement rife with faux pas, leaving your phone number was the worst one. Anyway, I posted the photo of the Willa Cather quote for your benefit, as well. I shot it in Nashville over the weekend, outside a Christian music store. She's one of my favorite writers, and was also a lesbian, so it's slightly ironic that the stone was outside the store. You might have called her a "dyke" or "carpet muncher." I thought of this quote when I read your notice ths morning, and could only believe that if you spent some time acclimating yourself with your current surroundings, instead of biding your time on wistful nostalgia, the folks you singled out might eventually be recognized as "human."

Friday, August 25, 2006

Hey Stoopid!

So here's an example of how emotions override common sense at the most inopportune moment. I came home from work last night and picked up Emmy from Sue, my downstairs neighbor. After leashing the dog, we headed to the park for the final walk of the evening. The light turns green and as we're crossing Halsted, this kid comes barreling through the crosswalk, head down and fists pumping. I yell for him to look up and look out, but it's too late. He crashes full speed into Emmy, gets his legs wrapped up in her leash, and falls flat on street.

The sensible thing would have been to check on the kid and see if he needed attention. What did I do? I looked down at him on the street, while he was checking his knees for scrapes, and said, "You ... STUPID!!!" and continued to the park.

The kid was stunned. So was I, as we got to the park before the light turned red. As I checked Emmy for scrapes and bruises, she hopped up on my knee, merely frightened at the whole experience, I repeated that mantra to myself. I'm probably twenty-five years older than that kid, and he was just being a kid. A stupid kid? Maybe. But we were all stupid kids once. I should have just gone all the way and called him a "doo-doo head."

I was reminded of last night this evening. Sue, the Professor, and I went to Picante Grill for a three-course dinner with drinks made with Cielo tequila. The turnout was huge, which pleased both Sue and I, as we've been supporters of Picante since the place opened. I don't think that Picante was expecting the turnout they actually had, however, as it took a while to receive each course.

The tequila, on the other hand, flowed like water. When we made it to our table, there were three shots of Cielo already waiting for us - a shot each of blanco, reposado, and anejo. A few minutes after we sat down, we received a pomengranate margarita. We promptly sucked these down as we listened to an overbearing Cielo representative quote rankings given to the tequila from the Beverage Tasting Institute. It seemed like every time we started to tear into our food courses, he would bring everything to a grinding halt, pimping the tequila. It would just suck the festive atmosphere out of the room. He could have told us to get the forks out of our gaping maws and it wouldn't have been as bad as "Okay. Excuse me. If I can get your attention for a moment."

Then he'd go into his sell, and I'd sit at the booth, correcting him in a low voice. "This is distilled from 100 percent blue agave," he'd said. "Most tequilas are these days," I mumbled, "that's the first thing I get out of the way when I get sales calls. 'Let's just assume I know it's 100 percent blue agave and move on, alright?'" "Notice that hint of honey and pepper in the blanco?" he'd ask. And I'd reply to Sue and Professor, "That's not pepper and honey. That's cream on the palate, and charring from the roasting of the agave hearts." I knew that because a few months back I sat down with someone from the distillery, sampled Cielo, and gave my thoughts to the guy. When you hear sales pitches like that every week, it's hard to sit through them when you're trying to enjoy a dinner. I really felt like pissing in the pool and asking him why Cielo didn't taste like Cabo Wabo.

Another thing with Cielo tequila is that the quality seems to decrease with aging. I think it might be because they're thinking too much about the casking process, trying to get too creative. "We use brandy, bourbon, and sherry casks, then blend the three together", our emcee said. I thought, "So that's why the anejo tastes like ass?" I almost had to ask for salt and lime, and I haven't done that since I became legally old to drink.

We were asked to pair our shot of anejo with the flan, our dessert. And it almost ruined it. But when you're making a margarita, few tequilas suck. An hour after the dinner started, we drank our blanco and reposado samples, the pomengranate margarita, had both a regular margarita and tequila mojito in front of us, and our entrees were nowhere to be found. Soon enough, we picked up on the waiter's tendency to mention that our drinks were made with Cielo reposado. To get our minds off the fact that we were quickly becoming hammered, Sue and I started ending our sentences with "Cielo reposado."

"I'm gonna have a smoke outside, with Cielo reposado."

"While you're doing that, I'm gonna take a piss, with Cielo reposado."

After a snafu that saw me pay for the tab, we headed to the Skylark for a nightcap. Upon entering, we noticed someone that I hadn't seen in a while, who bounded up to me with some enthusiasm. Sue was apparently checking out the body language between the two of us. After exchanging pleasantries, this acquaintance excused herself for some fresh air. Sue looked at me and said, "Go talk to her."

"What?" I said.

"I think she's letting you know she's interested."

"No she's not."

"Chuck, just go over and talk to her. What have you got to lose?"

Instead, I sat on my stool, like a tool. She decided to strike up a conversation with someone in the back, then gathered her things a few moments later, and left with her party. As she's leaving, I remembered the inscription on Charles Bukowski's tombstone, "Don't try."

We chatted briefly, then I remembered something she told me once, about wanting to tour a chocolate factory. I asked her if she still wanted to do that. She said she would, but that Blommers doesn't do tours anymore. "How about a brewery tour?" I asked. She allowed that she'd be interested. She turned to leave, and I grabbed her hand.

"So how do I contact you, then?" I asked.

"I can find you," she answered, "you're all over the internet. You're a whore."

In the distance, I saw one of her party come back inside to check on her. I let go of her hand and said, "Better get back to your man." Walking to the exit, she turned her head and gave me a look over her shoulder. Sue asked what I said. I replayed the conversation for her. She said, "Well, it's a start."

Inside, I kept repeating, "You ... STUPID!!!"

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Heng Dai

There are pancakes, and there are pancakes "Deadwood" style.

Enjoy the frontier Shakespeare, cocksuckers.

Slow Week

After the hectic weekend, running around, getting the backyard ready for company, and grilling like a fiend, it's nice to have sort of a slow week, for a change. By Saturday night I was exhausted. As usual, I bought way too much stuff for a gathering. So we moved the beer can chicken to Sunday (word of advice: use a honey bourbon glaze for the skin), and I now have plenty of leftovers.

Monday night was spent eating foie gras right before the city's ban on the delicacy takes effect. Alderman Joe Moore, who speahheaded the ordinance, looked absolutely clueless when asked to defend the ordinance on "Chicago Tonight" this evening. The question was asked, "If Mayor Daley hadn't lost power, would this ban had passed?" And everyone said no. It should be noted that Mayor Daley hasn't "lost power", he's busy running damage control after the Hired Truck scandal, violating the Shakman decree, and having his patronage chief convicted in a City Hall hiring scandal. But, like Don Rumsfeld said in the aftermath of the Iraqi invasion, "Democracy is sometimes messy."

And also lacking in common sense.

I'll be heading down to Nashville this weekend to see my friends Harry and Monika, and their darling daughter Lily. The last time I was down there they enlisted my brawn in moving into their new home. I'm hoping to keep manual labor to a minimum this weekend, except to go eat hot chicken at Prince's, and meat and three wherever we can find it.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Fan Mail

Wanna ask again why I don't enable comments here? Check out this from my write-up of the New Maxwell Street Market, posted by "FU Chuck":

Old Maxwell was a rotten rat-infested shithole that only deserved landmark status in the gangster hall of fame.

"Read the chapters on "Bloody Maxwell" in Gem of the Prairie if you think it was ever anything but that. You could also read "Barney Ross" if you want to know what kids coming out of that neighborhood had to overcome.

"The new Maxwell Street, aka University Village, is a thousand times better and a thousand times more useful to the city and to the world than that rotten stinking slum ever was.

"Admit it, Chuckie-wuckie: YOU are just disappointed that YOU can't go down on Sunday to see the "ghetto knee-grow" in his natural habitat like you were fucking going to Brookfield Zoo you useless piece of shit.

"I hope you choke to death on your next Taco, you fucking white pig asshole."

I'd love to refute the comments, but can't, since the author has such conviction behind the comment that he or she left no e-mail address for me to respond. It only leaves me to speculate who might have written it. Maybe it was left by someone who is involved in some way at Junior's Sports Lounge or Morgan's, which I decribed in the article as "polished turds" (and I was being nice, by the way). Or maybe it was written by a patron of the former whose sex life has really taken off since discovering rohypnol.

Regardless, if the author of those comments wants to discuss this matter and winds up reading this, show some stones and e-mail this "fucking white pig asshole" directly. I doubt you will, as you might wish to stand behind the anonymity of a keyboard - like the bitter, reactionary and spineless individual you came across as to me by leaving the comment - but the offer's out there.

Friday, August 18, 2006

My Favorite Thing This Week

Here's the Buddy Guy video I posted on Chicagoist Monday.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Sometimes you Wait a Lifetime For a Moment Like This

This is worth going the insomnia I'm suffering right now. The video is of Kelly Clarkson joining the cover band Metal Skool onstage for some off-key singing of "Sweet Child O' Mine." She also drinks some Chivas Regal straight from the bottle.

That's awesome.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

She's Seen Better Days

She's Seen Better Days
Originally uploaded by bridgeportseasoning.

And so have I. Of course, the only thing I have to complain about is that I was late for a meeting that I didn't have high hopes for anyway this morning. And even that turned out to be a golden opportunity, once I settled down.

Went to St. Jerome's Croatian fest this evening. The smell of barbecue in the air was a precursor for the weekend, when I open the backyard for some Bridgeport hospitality. I ate some clams, some fried dough, ice cream from Original Rainbow Cone, and gawked at those pretty gerls (ruining their skin at the tanning salon).

Ladies, please don't become addicted to the tanning salon, or you'll wind up in worse shape than the Ramova.

Monday, August 14, 2006


Greetings, all Bridgeport residents of Asian American descent. We've watched with curious eyes for years as you step out of the way, and in some cases into oncoming traffic, to avoid the dogs of this neighborhood. Just the other day, one of you nearly briskly walked your way to oblivion trying to avoid a pomeranian, only to bring traffic to Sox Park to a halt (Emerald is hell on game nights, especially with the Dan Ryan as jacked up as it is).

I believe that the only way to conquer your fears is to meet them head on. I know that in in your country of origin you don't have much opportunity to acclimate yourselves with dogs, and, in the few cases you do, they might be trained to maul you in order to force a confession that you've been practicing with the Falun Gong, whether you do so or not.

In that regard, allow me to introduce you to the neighborhood's newly appointed canine ambassador, Emmylou. She's never bitten anyone, always makes the first move of introduction, loves treats, chases little blue balls and streams of water with equal vigor, and is the smartest mammal in this household not typing on a keyboard. I'm also teaching her how to kick around a soccer ball right now. So, if you're practicing morning tai chi in McGuane Park and you see her sidling up to you like a shark, don't be afraid; Emmy's just breaking the ice. Just say "Good morning" and scratch her behind the ears a couple times. She'll be on her way finishing her walk with me, and you'll have taken that first step to conquering your fear.

Thank you.

Friday, August 11, 2006

I'm supposed to be writing a wine primer on about grenache for Chicagoist, but I just found out that iTunes now carries the radio stream, so I've been jonesing the past twenty minutes listening to the soundtrack of high school, boot camp, and college. Speaking of, check out Brian Posehn's "Metal By Numbers" on You Tube. It's worth the five minutes of wasted time.

It's been a week now, so folks in the neighborhood reading this please give a warm Bridgeport welcome to fellow Chicagoist-a Smussyolay. She's already been warned about Punchinello's and recommended Gio's and Polo Cafe. If you see her walking around looking lost, make her feel at home.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Back to Our Regular Scheduled Programming

So here's part 2 of "Perversion for Profit". I find it facinating that in forty years the mindset of the narrator is now the (im)moral base that's running the country, and that few things have changed since then, outside of our tepid acceptance of homosexuality. You know, how the GOP only wants to bring up its tolerance of them when Mary Cheney's involved?

I also imagine the narrator found a secluded corner on the set and rigidly masturbated to the "physique" magazines, during breaks in filming. Can't you see him standing with his slacks to his ankles, perfect posture, abusing himself with little jerking motions as he hisses about "bestiality" and "perversity?"

Well, you do now.

I Know I Promised Something, But...

We'll get back to boring you later.

Sue and I went to see Tom Waits last night, and it was as amazing as I expected. Here's the set list:

Make it Rain
Hoist That Rag
Shore Leave
God's Away on Business
All the World is Green
Falling Down
Tango Till They're Sore
Tom Traubert's Blues
Eyeball Kid
Down in the Hole
Don't Go Into that Barn
Shake It
Trampled Rose
What's He Building in There?
'Till the Money Runs Out
Murder in the Red Barn
Lie to Me
Get Behind the Mule

Encore 1:
The Day After Tomorrow

Encore 2:
Whistling Past the Graveyard
Time Time Time

When we made it to our seats in the gallery, there was a woman behind us who was in the throes of a panic attack. Ten minutes later, she was text messaging on her Sidekick. We discussed whether the panic attack was real or fake the rest of the night. It also looked as though shooting for the cheap seats in the gallery was also a blessing, as the lower sections of the Auditorium Theatre was a heat sink, with people dropping like flies. We were blessed with being seated under a vent, which had an odd raspberry scent coming out of it. This gave us the suggestion to head to HotHouse for a nightcap of Young's Double Chocolate Stout pints with an added shot of framboise, which was like candy, but also put us to sleep.

Before that, we ate dinner at Tamarind. I still find it hard to believe that this place is run by the same folks who ran Charming Wok, which was often lacking in charm. That place had to have had one of the filthiest fish tanks I've ever seen in a restaurant. But they've acquitted themselves well with Tamarind. Do yourself a favor and check it out.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Video Find of the Day

Here's the descriptiopn from Google for "Perversion For Profit":

"Anti-pornography film produced by financier Charles Keating, linking pornography to the Communist conspiracy and the decline of Western civilization."

The best thing? There's a second part. That'll be up tomorrow.

The Vanguard

Here is an article I wrote about rosé wines for Chicagoist around Memorial Day, and here is an article about rosé found in the Sunday styles section of the New York Times. Which means that the NYT is about three months behind me in spotting a trend.

I guess I should take a wait-and-see approach to how the hipsters embrace rosé before I start disparaging it again.