Friday, August 30, 2013

Holy crap, I haven't posted on almost two years!!

It's not that I haven't had much to say...it's just I haven't had the time or the impetus to say it.  

Since my last posting, we've moved my father to assisted living.  His grasp of reality continues to fade.  He has survived several healthcare scares, including a third (minor) heart attack (it's only minor if it didn't happen to you), and an odd cancer episode. 

My children continue to grow up despite my complaints, and also continue to make me proud; and I move closer to middle age.

I should simply give up and admit that I am in the midst of middle age. 

I've been to London and Paris, and hope to go back someday.

The Friday's before holiday weekends are difficult for commission salesmen.  No one wants to see us.  I stopped into City Hall to get my meeting packet, and thought I'd check out a couple of newspapers.  My political career is winding down, and I'm looking forward to taking lots of things off my plate over the next couple of years.

Facebook is my primary means of public communication, and I've even scaled back on posting there, as well.  






This is also a test of the Weirdness Stalking System.  This is only a test.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Brothers here and now.

I'm a proud subscriber to Steve Dahl's podcast.  I became a fan of Steve when he was on WLS-FM in the early 1980's; My family moved to the Chicagoland area in 1981, and I discovered Steve and Garry in 1982 when I spent my summer behind a large lawn mower.  When I transferred to Western Illinois University in the Fall of 1984, one of the bonding points I shared with Artist James was our mutual admiration of the Stever.

A few years later, we went to see Steve and Garry at a live show, somehow scoring 2nd row seats.  Right in front of us, Steve's younger brother, Rick Dahl, sat and drunkingly heckled Steve throughout the entire show.  Steve probably didn't mind, as he was drunk, too.  I could have been.

Steve later conquered the majority of his addictive demons, becoming sober in 1995, and in the past year, got a handle on his food addiction, dropping over 65 pounds and is happy to be maintaining  a sub 250 weight.  He had a huge CBS contract, which paid him until July of this year, even after they took him off the radio 3 years ago.  Instead of finding work back in Chicago radio (which has fallen terribly since the late '80's to late '90's Golden Age), he has decided to subscribe his daily podcast - about 2 hours a day of distilled Steve Dahl...no commercials, no breaks, just enjoyable banter.

Steve's brother, Rick, passed away last week at the age of 52.  Steve has flown out to LA, where Rick had been living with their father for the past several years.  As Steve described it, he and Rick shared many of the same demons, but Rick was unable to conquer his.  Steve's widowed father had been Rick's caretaker for many years, and now he and Steve are trying to clean up loose ends and figure out the future.  While they were not exactly estranged, they lived different lives, especially since Steve cleaned up his act and became an almost normal husband, father, and now grandfather.

This news provides another sign to me, that perhaps I should reach out to my estranged brother.  I spent many years reaching out to him, trying to find him a job, trying to provide some sort of example of a normal, responsible life.  He has two children from a now-failed marriage, his ex-wife and kids live in Ohio (I think), and my brother lives in the suburbs in an apartment near the painting company where he works.  He has lost his driver's license due to repeated DUI's, and with all his outstanding debts, I have no idea how he survives financially.  He has misbehaved to the point where I can no longer get him a job, and I haven't seen him in five years, since we moved my father to Illinois from Indiana.

My brother worked hard to earn my ire.  I won't detail his transgressions, but he let me (and my father) down when we really needed him to be an adult.  I'd like to forgive him and move on, but I'd also like to punch him in the nose.  Of course, I'm sure my heart will melt when I finally do see him...probably at my dad's funeral (whenever that will be).

Forgivness is the hallmark of my faith.  I have forgiven a woman who almost killed my son while driving drunk.   I'm sure I can forgive my brother, as well.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

It was 20 years ago this year....

In 1984-85, my friend and songwriting partner, James Plakovic (Artist James) wrote a number of songs, hoping to become working composers and lead lives of exciting dissapation whilst collecting huge royalty checks.

Although the dissaption part may be a reality, we're still waiting on the checks.

One of the songs we wrote, "In Your Arms" was one of those mid-1980's power ballads in the realm of The Scorpions, Def Lepard and Motley Crue.  We toyed with it for quite a while, performing it with just bass and guitar, trying to capture just the right feeling, if not the right sound.

Prior to his wedding in 1991, James found a way to get us into a studio to record a couple of songs.  Our good friend, Kurt Kvandal, could play the drums, and he was in town for the wedding anyway, so he rounded out our little power trio.  We recorded "When Will We All See The Light", an homage to Peace and Love and all things Meher Baba, as well as "In Your Arms".

I'm sure that Kurt had heard us perform these songs in one form or another, but had never played them.  I don't remember which song we recorded first, but I do remember (trying to act like some kind of record producer/arrangee) telling him that "In Your Arms" was "an homage to Def Lepard".  He knew exactly what I wanted, and we proceeded to record this song.

Our first pass was drums, bass, and rhythm guitar, and I don't think we had to do too many takes to get this down.  I added at least one lead guitar (if you could call it lead guitar) track, a lead vocal and probably one backing vocal.

James was the Executive Producer and Mix consultant for the final version.

A few weeks ago, this song popped up on my iPod mix (while I was texting James about something else), and I decided on the spot to post this song on Facebook using their video posting capability.  For the visual portion, I scanned a bunch of photos from our vast and storied past, and also threw in some "after" photos, if only to prove that we turned out okay.  I found some photos of The Who from the period that inspired us most, as well as an older Peter Townsend.  He in no way endorses this song.

We had a buddy who wanted to be in our "band", and he is featured in some of the early photos.  Don't know what happened to Ralph "Lou" Mahkovec, but we're thinking fond thoughts of him today.

Yes, that is Pat Foley, famed Chicago Blackhawks announcer, who was kind enough to stand next to an overserved young man for a 'photo opportunity' before a game in the early 1990's ("Hey Pat, a photo opportunity" was exactly what I shouted at him).

Big glasses and bad facial hair.  Pretty wives who loved us back then (and now, too). 

James is now "An Artist", published, displayed, and galleried.  He has a daughter whom he adores and an amazing wife.

Kurt won a life and death battle with a construction site nail, and has three lovely grown-up daughters to go with his lovely wife.

I continue to live by my wits, with a wonderful daughter and son, and a wife who seems to put up with me.  I look all mature and grown-up on the outside, but we all know better, don't we?

Saturday, October 09, 2010

October Already?

Time flies when you are having fun; but I have also found that it flies when you are no having fun, either.

The green of summer is changing to the golds and browns of Autumn.  The farmers are gleefully harvesting what looks to be a bumper crop of corn and soybeans.  The other day I watched as a combine was off-loading corn into a semi-truck.  A second semi was in the field, awaiting it's load of gold.  Last year it was so wet that a lot of corn stayed in the field until after Christmas, a nagging reminder of a poor year in agriculture.

Football season is also here, one of my favorite times.   An agonizing Sunday night appearance exposed the Bears for what they really are, a not-so-good team.  Our local high school team, after winning their first 5 games, have dropped 2 in a row, and they have to face a couple of really tough teams to finish the season.  Can't turn the ball over so much, boys.

Also, the fall brings my father's annual dose of wonderlust.  He knows that his lottery victory will be soon, and has been making plans to escape assisted living.  It is difficult to even joke about how pathetic this has become.  I'm glad my mother isn't here to live it.  The changes in his physical and metal health in the ten years that she has been gone have been catastrophic, and there is no chance for improvement.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

July. Sure am hot outside!

Al Gore seems to have a problem with masseuses.  Why can't he simply pleasure himself?

The focus of our culture on the pursuit of the almight male orgasm has become the downfall of a lot of celebrities these days.

Tiger Woods, Al Gore, Mel Gibson, Bill Clinton, Charlie Sheen, the list could go on and on.

There is a lot to be said for the quiet desperation of the average man, who shows tremendous character by simply living with the awful truth that they are not able to have sex as often as they would like with their wives. The Average Man (the man from Flyover), does not have the money, charm, fame or like currency to convince other women to give them pleasure.  The Average Man risks emotional and financial ruin, to say nothing of community scorn, if he gets caught in even the briefest of trysts.

And rightly so.

For one who takes the vow and sacrament of marriage seriously,  I chuckle at the indiscretions of my more famous and wealthy brothers.  I find a lot of humor even at those Average Men who dabble and try not to get found out.  They think they cannot get caught, but they do.  And do you know why?  Because they ain't thinkin' with their brains, y'all!  They're thinkin' with their Johnsons!

Live by the Johnson, die by the Johnson.

I am amazed at the huge risks that are taken in the name of that passing pleasure, the orgasm. 

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

World Cup Update: Germany vs Argentina

Which team will Hitler be routing for?

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Summer of Flood

Having lived in Northern Illinois for over 25 years (the first few against my will), I have experienced the cyclical nature of our weather patterns.  They did not really become very important to me until I became a homeowner, when I became responsible for mowing grass, snow removal, etc.

From 1995 to 2006, our summers were typically hot, really hot (for Northern Illinois, anyway).  I could always count on a nice looking lawn until Father's Day, at which point my lawn would burn up and I'd have to run the mower maybe twice a month to keep everything level.  In 2005, I had the lawn at our latest house aerated in early June, at which the ground dried up, and the holes stayed in the yard the rest of the summer.

The next year, I mowed all summer.  In 2007, we began a cycle of monsoon rains during the last week in August, making the river rise and creating mild concerns about suddenly having riverfront property.  Last year, we had plenty of rain (which pleased the farmers) but cooler temperatures (which annoyed the farmers).  And now it looks like another summer of rain.

This morning, we enjoyed a huge thunderstorm during 8 o'clock Mass.  Father Tim's homily was punctuated by claps of thunder, including one that happened at the end, sort of a divine exclamation mark on a nice sermon.  Rain pounded the roof of the church, and I was not surprised to find several streets flooded on the drive home.  Retention areas have filled up, creating dangerous swimming holes for any of the unsupervised.  We'll see if Darwin was right.

Friday, March 05, 2010

It's March, so I must be having some madness

Allegedly, Spring (the season, not the town in Texas) is about 2 weeks away. I still have to scrape the ice off my windshield in the morning (who am I'm fooling, I don't scrape, I let the car idle for 10 minutes until the windshield is clear. I gave up scraping in 1993 when the Plakovics moved to Austin, and I didn't get to go along).

IF it gets above 35 tomorrow and is sunny, I will remove the holiday lights from my house, and possibly try to straighten up the garage.

Is there anyone in the area who would like to have an antique fireplace mantle? I can't seem to sell in on Craigslist, and my wife wants to burn it. It is more that a shelf, it is about 54 inches wide and 78" tall, and will accomodate a 36" x 36" fireplace opening.  Yes, that's a bevelled mirror reflecting what is hanging on the wall in my garge.



Another one of my parents' belongings that I'd like to convert to cash so my father has a slightly better safety net to catch him when he falls next time.



Sunday, February 07, 2010

Adios, Parker

On January 18, Robert B. Parker passed away (as I'm sure he had always hoped) while writing at his desk. A sudden heart attack, not a fist fight.

I am a huge fan. It may be the case that I've read every word that he ever published, well over fifty books. He sold millions and millions of books, and while that is not the primary proof that he was a great writer, I will tell you he was a good writer. Remember, this is MY blog.

In the last few years, Parker began writing for the "Young Reader" market, and I given my son those two novels, which he enjoyed. As soon as he is old enough, I'll suggest that he begin the "Spenser" series.

I was very sad to hear of Parker's death. He seemed to have a great life, with lots of success, a nice family, and good health. There's no need for me to provide a biography, just go to Wikipedia. His protagonists spoke to me. They were typically morally grounded, quick-witted, and very capable. They cared about what they did. Spenser remains my smart-alec role model. The conflict between his sense of autonomy and his committment Susan (the love of his life, or more succinctly, his "sweet patootie") was the central, yet subtle, theme to the Spenser series.

In fact, personal autonomy was a central theme to all the main characters in the four series (Spenser, Jesse Stone, Sunny Randall, and the newer Appaloosa westerns). Read Parker's bio, and you'll understand why.

Parker had been quoted that he never planned to write books, to be published posthumously, that would "wrap up" his characters' lives. So dying with Parker are the aforementioned Spenser (no first name ever mentioned), Jesse Stone, the police chief of Paradise, Mass; Sunny Randall, a female private detective from Boston; and all the ancillary recurring characters in Parker's books. Described in detail, yet in never too many words, whether well-dressed or in need of a shave, straight or gay, gorgeous or not.

As much as I mourn Parker's passing, I think I mourn the loss of these souls even more. Existing only on paper. Would Spenser and Susan ever marry? Would Hawk ever find his soul? Would Jesse Stone conquer his alcoholism? Would Sunny Randall ever be able to let go of her ex-husband?

Would any of these characters ever age?

So Parker takes with him the promise of more great stories. I will miss him, and I will miss them. Existing only on paper.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Stop the madness!

I wish I had more time to post entries here, but the 'personal life' is a little hectic.

I do want to say, very pointedly, that the following people are Asshats of the first order:

Jay Leno -- Shut up, already. You were never 'fired', you are not funny, and I'm proud that I have never watched your nightly "industry changing" program which is being cancelled after 5 months.

Jeff Zucker -- You'll keep Conan O'Brien off the air for 3 1/2 years? For what, wanting to do the job you hired him for?

Gilbert Arenas -- I wouldn't believe you if you told me today was January 14. Everything that comes out of your mouth is a lie. Go shit in your own shoes.

Jayson Williams -- Spent years lying about shooting your chauffer, at one point even claiming he committed suicide with your shotgun. Now you say you were being careless in your aim. Hello, it was a shotgun!!! Enjoy prison, dickhead. Good luck getting a drink inside.

Okay, that's enough vitriol for now.

Happy New Year, everyone!!

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Dan Fogelberg The Last Nail

From YouTube.

This is my favorite Dan Fogelberg song. His intro is representative of his self-deprecating humor.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Day late and dollar short

Try as I might to be timely, I just don't get around here to post those wonderfully pithy comments you come here for.

Anyway...

It's is interesting that Kanye West likes to interrupt defenseless females during award shows. I wonder if he would have had the guts to do that to a 28 year old Roger Daltrey? Heck, I'd pay to see him try with the 64 year old Roger Daltrey.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Ted Kennedy

You know, I had a hundred cheap shots lined up for Ted.

But at the end of the day, let he without sin cast the first stone.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Fuzzy Lines Can Get Crossed

There's lots of buzz and commotion about some video taken of ESPN reporter Erin Andrews. The video was taken without her knowledge while she was alone in a hotel room. Evidently, she was not wearing any clothing while the video was shot.

I must be getting old, because although Ms. Andrews is by all accounts an attractive person with admirable features, I will not be looking for this video. The creep who somehow managed to install a peep-hole camera in the room should be taken out to the village square and whipped.

If I want to see Ms. Andrews without her clothes on, then I will go about it in the old fashioned, time-honored method: I will meet her, court her, marry her, and THEN see her naked on her own terms. Of course, seeing that I'm already married to a hottie, there is no need for me to bother with Ms. Andrews.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Gee, what to write about?

Governor Sanford and his trip to Argentina?

The late, great Michael Jackson?

Football great Steve McNair?

Thanks to Facebook, I don't have time to update the blog. Not that I am so verbose on Facebook, it's just I only have so much time to type out pithy prose.

The big news in the family isn't that we're moving my dad into supportive living, or the interesting means by which I convinced him to go. The big news is that we're headed back to Disneyworld in November.

Can't get enough of that place.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Here come the 'Hawks, the mighty Blackhawks!

Well, here we are.

The resurrected Chicago Blackhawks will begin their first conference final on Sunday against the hated Detroit Red Wings. I'm not going to labor under any notion that the 'Hawks can win this series. The Wings are the defending champion, their bench is deep, and they are simply an awesome team.

That being said, this is PLAYOFF HOCKEY, where anything can happen, and usually does. Take the fact that the 'Hawks are even here as an example.

Playoff hockey is magical. I find it very difficult to watch on television because I need to see the entire ice to know what is going on. So much of what happens in hockey takes place away from the puck...the matchups, the checking, the strategy. I find myself sitting on the edge of my seat or standing during a televised playoff game trying to ward off the inevitable anxiety attack of not knowing what is happening and then suddenly "HE SHOOTS HE SCORES!!!!" It takes a lot out of me.

The Blackhawks are still owned by the Wirtz family, and since Bill passed away a few years ago, his son, Rocky, has done a great job of running the team. He hired John McDonough (formerly Cub president) as team president, he has reached out to former greats such as Bobby Hull, Stan Mikita and Tony Esposito to become ambassadors for the team, and more importantly, all games, home and away, are televised. Thanks to former 'Hawk player and broadcaster Dale Tallon's drafting and trading acumen, the team is young, fast, and not aware that they are underdogs.

This will be fun.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

H1N1

I'm not calling it swine flu. It's H1N1.

I was watching NBC News tonight and learned that Egypt is ordering the slaughter of all hogs, even though the flu is not caused by or transmitted by the presence of hogs, or the eating of hogs.

Lebanon has banned the 'greeting kiss', a popular custom.

And France has banned extra-marital affairs.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Been a long time...

Sorry, I've been working to re-elect our mayor, so I've been sort of busy doing other things. The incumbent won re-election 75% to 25%. Our main strategy was to simply ignore the other guy. I think it worked.

Anyhow, after all this time away, the only thing I can think of to write is that I don't think the 'Madonna falling off a horse' story is a big deal.

A better story would have involved the horse falling off Madonna. Shades of the Catherine the Great legend.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Liar Liar Pants on Fire!

U.S. Sen. Roland Burris has acknowledged he sought to raise campaign funds for then-Gov. Rod Blagojevich at the request of the governor’s brother at the same time he was making a pitch to be appointed to the Senate seat previously held by President Barack Obama.

Latest developments at chicagotribune.com: http://link.chicagotribune.com/r/VKC7L0/X61RL/TUV6VV/KTK0/KEFPFC/28/t

Monday, February 09, 2009