Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Jazz Night

I ended up at Jazz Night again. I hate Jazz Night.
I hate Jazz Night because I think that everything good that happened to jazz happened between 1962 and 1969, and that everyone who made jazz interesting is either dead or Peter Brotzman. I ended up at Jazz Night because I was pissed off and needed a drink and a half hour away from the amniotic warmth of my apartment.
Tonight's performance was from a combo of mid-20s white kids. They looked college. The trumpeter was short and nerdy. The bassist I don't even remember. The drummer is the only good thing I ever see at Jazz Night, and I like him a lot because he plays drums with the seeming purpose of making them sound like things that aren't drums. He doesn't play beats; he plays sound effects. The sax player is like the living embodiment of everything I hate about people who play jazz, or in bands at all. He played like someone trying to play like someone who is sure to get his dick sucked as soon as he sets his instrument down. He occasionally stepped back and sat down in a chair, looking worldweary, the chair obviously set up before the performance by him for the purpose of sitting down and looking worldweary. He would sit in his chair and then stand up and approach his sheet music stand and glare at the sheet music and scowl and play a saxophone that looked calculatedly beat-up. All in all it was the most unspontaneous display of pre-scripted spontaneity I've seen since the last emo show I went to. The kid was actually wearing a beret. A black beret, as if he wanted everyone to know so desperately that he was into jazz that he actually wore a black beret out in public. "Has it?" I asked myself. "Has that actually ever got him laid?" I did some quick math in my head, estimated Chicago's population of female grad students with retarded social skills and a desire to get with anything sort of approximating "edgy artist" before settling down with a courduroy-clad English professor, and figured it had.
Meanwhile Bruce was behind the bar. Bruce plays sax too, but he plays sax in a metal band, so I think he's cool. And he gives me my first drink for free, and I'm broke and like to drink.
I got done with my second and last beer as the combo got done with their song. I stood up from the stool and walked out of the room and everyone applauded.

Friday, November 26, 2004

Black Friday. Irony.

Anti-fur activists were out on Michigan Ave. during Black Friday. If they think that the tourists bussed in from Niles, MI are here to pick up fur, they're grossly overestimating our economy. They picketed our store, where the closest thing we have to fur has some ungodly long chemical name and could possibly maybe be picketed under a "No Blood For Oil Which May Eventually Become Faux Foxhair" banner. Later on one of the picketers came in with an anti-fur sticker on her jacket and leather boots on her feet.
Our company's line of pre-destressed, pre-kneeworn, pre-patched jeans is called "Authentic".
I can't figure out if Sweden's comprehension of irony is highly developed or missing entirely. All I know is that in the U.S. of A. the streets are paved in it.

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

South Haven, MI

I missed the part of the conversation that led up to the meth dealer telling the teenage girl that she "could have been an abortion". It was at the Taco John's inside a BP Amoco station in South Haven. I'm speculating on the guy being a meth dealer. He had the professional wrestler haircut, the beard, the freshly bandaged hand that makes you think "bar fight the night before", and the overall aura of a meth dealer. Or maybe just casual user. He was at Taco John's with a kid who was either his son or more likely his nephew, and you could just tell that he had bought the kid a subscription to Penthouse for his sixteenth birthday. The kid was dressed like small-town rebellion: punk accessories with an outfit that approximates hip hop streetwear as closely as one can shopping at Target. The town of South Haven, Michigan is made up of nice houses for vacationing Chicagoans and ranch homes and trailers for townies. There is ample fuel there to ignite teenage rebellion in a townie. His girlfriend, who could have been an abortion I guess, mixed the Avril look with some white-girl cornrows. As they held each other in line the kid looked to his uncle or dad for approval. The dad or uncle was busy throwing joke punches at the fat kid and the black kid that were with them, joke punches hard enough to remind them where they stood in the group's power dynamic. The black kid got joke-punched the most, along with some racial humor the meth guy probably meant to ease any tension of that kind, but which just made the black kid look nervous. They ordered burritos, stared at us. I missed why the meth guy told the girl she could've been an abortion because I was busy following a midget around the gas station. I don't regret not hearing the meth guys reasoning: to the dedicated people-starer a perfectly-formed child-sized 30-year-old midget wearing a t-shirt that says, "The Problem With You Is That You're Stupid" is like finding a twenty dollar bill in your jeans on laundry day.

Monday, November 22, 2004

What Western Michigan is good for

Somewhere in Western Michigan there's a billboard on I-94 left over from the election. It says, "Bush Cheney '04". Above where it says that it says, "Do you want boots or flip-flops?" Somebody give that copywriter a raise. To simultaneously hit the "flip-flop" meme the Republicans were pushing so hard (and apparently successfully) while at the same time casually implying that voting for Mr. Bush's opponent makes one seem like a homosexual rather than a heterosexual is pretty crafty. Bravo, sir or madam, wherever you are.
Also in Western Michigan in the Taco Johns that we stop at every time we go to Michigan. If you are ever driving and you see a sign for Taco Johns, you should stop. It doesn't matter if it's early in the morning or you just ate or you're not in the mood for burritos. Just stop. Order a burrito. Get some Potato Oles. Then cry sweet tears over the beauty of perfectly-seasoned deep-fried potato.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

State of the Autumn

I have as much borrowed nostalgia for the 70s as anyone else my age, but I'm not exactly thrilled with 2004 turning into 1972 overnight. We've got a Tyrant in power and all of the idealsts are at home staring at their defeated hands, but all of the good prescription drugs have been taken off the market and we haven't gotten our Ziggy Stardust yet. As much as I like H.S. Thompson and love P.K. Dick, I never really wanted to live in their world, but here we are.
Tim's got this thing going where he's trying to stay positive in the face of our recent idealogical beatdown. This includes careful consideration of the way he phrases observations and also includes a compilation record he's working on. Myself, I'm just happy to have made it this long with the sun going down in the mid-afternoon without having any specific suicidal fantasies. Dreams where I am a drug addict do not count.
Go to Barr's website and download some mp3s if you need help staying positive.

Thursday, November 04, 2004

Nine reasons to be happy even after Kerry concedes.

1.) Chicago TV Polish-language amateur boxing shows.
2.) White American kids posting comments on Japanese porn blogs pretending to be rich Taiwanese kids.
3.) White American hardcore kids whose favorite bands are clothing lines.
4.) "Drop It Like It's Hot"
5.) "Drop It Like It's Hot" dance moves.
6.) Slint reunion.
7.) The drawing of forest animals where it looks like one squirrel is telling the other squirrel a secret.
8.) Cats.
9.) "It's Called 'Binoculars'": Sunday, Nov. 28 at the Empty Bottle

Perfect Panther Update 11/4

Profile, photos, tunes here. The profile and photos parts aren't really done yet. You can be our friend.
Independent Chicago compilation, featuring the ("howling") track "Gun Court" and a liner note photo that I look kind of bad in available now on Fork Series.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Slate grey with a little white scribble.

The monkey's got the Big Desk for another four years, I'm in day four of a stalemated battle with some virus or another, it's dark out at 5:30pm, and I can't decide whether or not these things mean I should be listening to Astral Weeks or Brujeria. I'm hungry and broke. Someone tagged the Hall Of Justice, which completely ruins the Soviet Modern/Eraserhead view from my front window.
I have this idea for a comic book about a saber-toothed tiger who invents a time machine and uses it to travel through time killing historical figures such as George Washington and Paul McCartney.
I have this other idea about how we should just sell Florida. Put the risk and potential profits and losses in the hands of some greedy corporation and rid ourselves of the responsibility. Think of the money we'll save on bailing them out around hurricane season.

Monday, November 01, 2004


I started Saturday off at 7am chugging the last quarter of what looked for all the world, or at least my bus stop, to be a fifth of Absolut. I ended Saturday dressed in short shorts. In between I developed a comic/movie outline about a time-travelling saber-toothed tiger who kills people in history. There were some beers happening in there too.
My Gay Prostitute costume meshed serendipitously with JR's Gay Dad In Denial costume. I didn't make any money, though, or get any action. On the bus ride home from work there was a youngish white girl who was very popular with the male riders, maybe because she was wearing a long blonde wig and a black dress that went almost exactly to the bottom of her asscheeks, give or take a quarter-inch. She got off the bus when I did and walked north on Western like I did. Cars and especially trucks honked their approval of her costume and the wind that threatened every ten seconds to blow it over her waist. I never figured out exactly what she was supposed to be.
Today I am wearing a black tshirt with a panther head and gold and purple flowers on it, black jeans, maybe black Chucks if the rain lets up but probably grey-and-black Dunks. I've been wearing my black panther head off and on today, yelling at people walking in the rain on the sidewalk.