Sunday, April 28, 2013

Friday afternoon was just about the nicest day of the year in Chicago, and I thought I would ride my bike down the lakefront to coach first base for a friend’s elementary boys softball game. The kids were all friendly and having a good time, but one thing was clear: there are a lot of city kids who don’t know the rules of baseball. As a child of suburbia, we had all the rules down pat by the end of the 2nd or 3rd grade. With these kids, it was nearly impossible to teach most of them that you can overrun first base, or run through the bag, as we used to say. They were slamming on the breaks and nearly falling down as a result. Taking a lead off was also confusing for them, and we were getting picked off of first like all day long. They would usually get back to the base on time when the pitcher threw over there, but sometimes they would start their lead off again while the first baseman still had the ball, and they would promptly get tagged out. One kid got out to a couple steps for his lead off, turned to ask me a question, and failed to see that the pitcher was throwing over there to pick him off, which he did. We were all having a laugh, but not at all at his expense, and the kid was laughing at himself too. More important than whether or not they look like the Yankees out there is that students are getting outside, they’re being exposed to a new game that they may end up enjoying, and they are part of a team.

I got talking to the other school’s coach, and he said they only have seven eighth graders in their entire school. They had to put a fifth grader in the lineup to round out the team, and he was small even for a fifth grader. I thought for sure he was a batboy until I saw him come up to the plate and beat out a pretty hard hit grounder. Most likely due to enrollment, they will be closed at the end of the year. Yes, if the numbers are way down than I’m sure in many ways it makes sense to move those kids into a neighboring school, but if it’s such a failing school in the eyes of the bureaucrats, than why is it that there was a parent spectator for just about every boy on that team, and meanwhile the school I was coaching had zero parents watching for a school over enrolled at close to fifteen hundred students? What I saw there did not appear to have the makings of a failing school; It was a loving and supportive community with terrific kids and coaches who really cared. Their coach told me that it took him four seasons to win their first game, so if that doesn’t show commitment, I don’t know what does. Hell, they beat us something like seventeen to six.

To put in all that time, energy, and hard work day after day as a member of that staff only to have it all suddenly shut down on you has got to be hard to take, especially considering that the people who make the decisions about that building don’t know the first thing about the staff, parents, or kids in it – they just know about the data. Their coach said that the school is across from Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s house. Chicago’s mayor seems big on closing down schools, but I think he should have taken in this ballgame on Friday to put a few faces to the numbers. After all, there are a lot of parents out there quite happy with their children’s public education, and they can’t all afford private schools, especially the ones Rahm’s kids attend.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

For the last few weeks, I have been going to bed with this guy.  He isn't too good looking, rather ugly, actually, but he is charming in his own way and he never seems to run out of crazy stories to tell me.  Like the time his ex started dating a 17-year-old kid who blew his own head off playing Russian roulette.  Or all the times he went cold turkey off heroin, trying to climb through the walls thinking there would be dope on the other end.  Yeah, he has struggled with his addictions, and he still probably drinks too much, but he doesn't get drunk.  It's like he says, he can drink and drink, but it doesn't really do much - it's just something he does, like waking up or breathing.  Oh, then there was that time he and his friend Mick basically locked themselves in a kitchen together until they finished writing their first song.  

Okay, now you can probably tell that I'm talking about none other than Keith Richards, and when I say going to bed with, I mean reading his biography every night in bed.  I'm through all the good stuff now and well into the 80's, and it's been one heck of a ride.  I highly recommend you pick up "Life" by Keith Richards.  You might be picturing a bumbling drug addled buffoon just because he is hard to understand and has become such a caricature of himself, but in reality he is a bright and insightful man who just loves music and his good friends, like me.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Only at the Gancer: Another Edition To Song Lyric Analysis

I have done a number of these, either analyzing each and every lyric of a song I like, or in this case, having someone respond to what the singer says - with the singer only responding with actual lyrics.  Does that make sense?  Just read and find out what I'm trying to say here . . .

"We've Got Tonight" by Bob Seger

Bob Seger: I know it's late, I know you're weary 
I know your plans don't include me.

Drunk Girl: I never plan, per say, to have drunk dudes hitting on me.  I just always sorta happens . . .

BSStill here we are, both of us lonely 
Longing for shelter from all that we see 

DG: Hey, you seem lonely, but don't assume I am.  Actually, I was trying to get back to my friends before you stepped in front of me on my way back from the ladies' room.

BSWhy should we worry, no one will care girl 
Look at the stars so far away 

DG: Oh, now he's going on about the stars.  This is a new one, actually.  And I know for a fact people will certainly care because I see my friends over there laughing at me for entertaining your proposal for this long.  

BSWe've got tonight, who needs tomorrow? 
We've got tonight, babe 
Why don' you stay? 

DG: We can't stay, Bob.  It's past last call and they've turned the lights on, and yeah, you're even less good looking as a result.  

BS: Deep in my soul, I've been so lonely 
All of my hopes, fading away 
I've longed for love, like everyone else does 

I know I'll keep searching, even after today

DG: If I could offer some advice, don't let a girl in on the fact that you're extremely lonely.  The pity approach rarely works.  Exude some confidence, Bob!  Trust me on this.  

BS: So there it is girl, I've said it all now 
And here we are babe, what do you say?

DG: No, I can't.  I seriously have to get up early and . . .

BSWe've got tonight, who needs tomorrow? 
We've got tonight, babe 
Why don't you stay?

BS: Ah, what the hell.  I have done a lot worse, and you make some solid points.  

(meanwhile, back at Bob's shitty apartment)      

BSWe've got tonight, who needs tomorrow? 
Let's make it last, let's find a way 
Turn out the light, come take my hand now 

DG: Yes.  Lights out.  This is for sure a light's out encounter.  Let's just get it done, okay?


Wednesday, April 17, 2013

I love drinking on airplanes.  To me, the perfect mile high drink is the gin and tonic because it calms the stomach problems that can occur with the altitude.  Also, cocktails are more fun because you get the little bottles of booze to pour into the bubbly and ice, and continuing to pour and drink gives you something to pass the time.  Might as well settle in there and make your tray your own little mini bar!  Sometimes you get one of those little plastic swords to stir with, and those are just fun as hell.

I don't like waiting for stuff so flying is hard for me.  Also, I am a tall drink of water, so I sometimes opt for two cocktails to soothe the pain in my knees.  After all, sometimes it's 1 for 8 and 2 for 11, and that just makes good economic sense right there.

On my last flight I tried to cash in some expired drink tickets to no avail, and forgetting to use those babies was just a God damned disheartening situation.

Does any of this make me sound like an alcoholic?

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Old Black Guys Say the Coolest Things . . .

I work with this old Black guy, and when you walk by and say a quick hello, he never says "how ya' doin'" like any other schmo.  He will say things like . . .

"We do what we can."

"You got to work hard around here."

"I got to get in character . . ."

"Can I put somethin' in your ear right quick?" (That's when he wants to tell me some good office dirt)

The beauty of this is, you remember the time you passed this guy in the hall, unlike all the rest of the stiffs you have innocuous hellos and goodbyes with through out your 9 to 5. 

"Do I really have to tell you how much cooler I am than you?"

Try going through your work day like a cool, old, Black man on your next work day, and let me know how it goes . . .

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Sexier Than Cats

In case you missed it, a player who named himself Meta World Peace came back from an injury and said the pain couldn't hold him back because he is too sexy for his cat.  He then used that phrase to answer 6 or 7 more questions just for good measure. 

Now, did he just happen to hear Right Said Fred's "I'm Too Sexy" on the way to the stadium that night, and he just figured he would say that a few dozen times?  Could be, but others speculate that he could be on pain killers, and that is causing the 90's one-hit-wonder revival movement.

Give it a look, people. 

Couldn't he have mixed it up every few answers, maybe an "I'm too sexy for Milan.  Too sexy for Milan - New York and Japan . . .

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

This Post Has No Point . . .

. . . but whatever.

I went to the Bulls game tonight with some good buddies.  On my way home I had to stop at the grocery store to get some socks because I have been too lazy to do my laundry and need some for tomorrow.  I wanted to stop off and get something to eat too, but because I didn't want to make another stop, I got some jalapeno chips and a gatorade.  Socks, chips, gatorade, and this worthless update . . .

I decided I needed to research a few things I was thinking about tonight . . .

1. A guy named Malcolm Thomas checked in for the Bulls and did pretty well for the Bulls tonight, and despite all of us being Chicago sports fans, none of us had heard of him.  It turns out he played for the Bulls' summer league team but ended up playing in Israel before being signed.  Hard guy to figure out a nickname for . . .

2. I was telling my buddy James Douglas Morrison that I have been reading the Keith Richards biography, and he asked if he mentioned the rivalry between the Stones and the Doors.  No, was there one?  I'll look that up too . . . I could find nothing about that on the internet, but if there was one, based on what I have read, I would say it would be about Mick hating on Jim because he was a better-looking front man using his sexuality the way Mick did.  Keith is pretty open about how nutty Mick was about a lot of stuff, but I will say that at least Mick was never nearly as big a junkie as Keith, so there's that . . .

3. This has nothing to do with looking anything up, but I was thinking about it.  Yesterday I get a text from my father that read: "I was saddened to hear of the passing of Annette Funicello.  As a boy watching her in those sweaters on the "Mickey Mouse Club," she made me love boobs.

Saturday, April 06, 2013

I went to see Anthrax last night because 16-year-old Dr. Ken would never forgive 36-year-old Dr. Ken if I passed up the chance.  I was in the pit for about 30 seconds, and I felt my hand go into someone's mouth (no idea who's) and touch someone's tongue. That was enough. Incredible concert. Once I washed my hands.  Then we went out and got horribly drunk.

Taking public transit this afternoon to go fetch my car that I left at work, I was eating a bag of combos, a horribly unhealthy snack and the only thing I have eaten all day, and I saw a friend of mine walking towards me.  I was then relieved to realize it wasn't him.  There is absolutely nothing wrong with the guy, and if fact, I like him quite a lot.  It was just the thought of putting forth the effort to have a conversation at that time seemed like a laborious task.  

You ever feel like that?

Wednesday, April 03, 2013


During my recent travels through California, we ended up in a surprisingly non pretentious cozy little bar in Santa Monica.  It was there, perched at the bar sipping a 151 cocktail, that I met Reginald, a 62-year-old Marine Corps veteran who more than once told me exactly how long he served (something like 21 years, 3 months, and 28 days).  He kept looking back towards the door, saying he was waiting for his 42-year-old fiance to arrive, a woman lucky enough to have the opportunity to become his fifth wife.

I was sipping on tall pints of Boddingtons, and Reginald was appalled that a man like me (I have no idea what kind of man I am) would be drinking beer.  He said it would make my donger soft, but he could not produce any medical journals to back up these facts.  He then boasted that he is still a red blooded stud and younger women can't keep up with him, and in an attempt to prove this, he got down on the floor and did 25 bare knuckle push-ups.  I was convinced and ordered a 151.

After LSD, my lovely girlfriend, came over to say hello, he said to me, "Is that your queen?  She is a thoroughbred!  You have to hold onto that one!"  I will agree.  She is equal parts queen and thoroughbred, and I fully intend to hold onto her.  Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to get on the floor for some knuckle push-ups so that I can be in as good of shape and as much of a gentleman as Reginald . . .