Enjoyment.

I couldn’t help but look around this evening and marvel as to how much I’m enjoying life in Chicago. I’m a very lucky man to live here.

President’s Day.

Today is President’s Day. Or is it Presidents’ Day? Perhaps Presidents Day?

I’m old enough to remember when we had Lincoln’s Birthday and Washington’s Birthday, but I think we had only Washington’s Birthday off. Later in my elementary years we started getting the whole week of Washington’s Birthday off; since that was usually the snowiest week of the winter. Sometimes, but not always.

Whatever we are calling this holiday this year (it varies from state to state), I still don’t feel compelled to buy a mattress, a car, or Turbo Tax. I’ve never understood why mattress companies go right crazy during this week in February. It’s not like anyone is going to want to haul a heavy mattress in and out of their home at this time of year. Is it because we’re working our way through the winter and we should have worn out the mattress by this time? I’m getting old, we don’t bounce the box spring as much.

Today was not a work holiday. Today was a normal day at work and it was fairly intense. I could probably handle it better if we had a new mattress but I still don’t feel the need to buy a new mattress.

I could go on a political tirade at this point of the blog entry but we don’t really have a president to talk about, so there’s no sense on going on a tirade. The country is pretty much on auto-pilot with occasional threats of the complete and utter destruction of democracy as we know it, but as long as La Marmalade can tweet the news channels are happy and the speed limit IQ folks feel vindicated.

I look forward to when we have a reason to celebrate Presidents’ Day again.

Rules.

It makes me crazy when folks departing the train use the door on the left. As one can see in this photo, it is clearly marked “Emergency exit only”. To the right of this Emergency Exit, you can see the revolving gate to allow for normal exit from the ‘L’ platform.

I have never witnessed anyone enduring an emergency of any sort when exiting through this door. The only emergency was one perceived by the person engaging in the passage through this reserved door, and that emergency was either laziness or haste.

Just go through the revolving gate!

It takes a great deal of energy for me to not confront folks on trivial matters such as this. It irks me more than it should. Not to pick on the train, but when folks are listening to music without headphones, I’m also bothered by this. The rules are simple. Do not listen to media devices without headphones, so as not to disturb other passengers on the train.

Keeping with the train theme, stand right, walk left on the escalator. Not difficult. This theme also applies to airports with moving walkways.

Trivial matters like this bother me more than they should. It’s as grating on my nerve as a quartz clock that clicks an irregular beat, or a fluorescent light that hums loudly. Before LED light bulbs became all the rage I would hear the incessant squeal of CFLs or Compact Fluorescent Lights. They disrupt my focus. Years ago I convinced all my office mates that the fluorescent lights in our new work area were way too bright so we removed around 75% of the bulbs. The removal of the high pitched hum or the incessant buzz did wonders for my sanity.

It takes so much of my energy to ignore and tune out the noise. It’s no wonder I fall asleep in less than three minutes at any given time or place.

The world is way too disorganized.

Cursing.

My father rarely cursed. My father was generally a man of few words, but when he did share verbal expressions of emotion he rarely swore. The closest things he would say that would come close to cursing was “Jumpin’ Mice” or “If it’s going to be a pain in the nuts…”, which the latter is probably more crass the cursing.

I followed his lead for the first two decades or so of my life and rarely swore. I can actually remember the first time I swore. It was 8th period gym class in 7th grade. I had dropped the watch from my grandfather’s estate between two lockers in the locker room and I was really bothered by it. When the teacher asked why I had put the watch in this precarious location I simply said to him, “I fucked up”. That was the first time I had swore to anyone other than myself and he instantly knew that I was really bothered by losing the watch left to me by my grandfather.

We successfully retrieved the watch.

It wasn’t until my radio days that I started a tendency of swearing like a sailor. It was the most effective way of communicating with the owners of the radio station because they were yelling and screaming most of the time. I can still remember my father’s wince when he asked why I wanted to leave that particular job and I replied, “because the owner is an asshole”. But the fact of the matter is, my language adapted to the situation because circumstances dictated that the only language they would take to heart was when someone yelled and swore at them. Then again I did witness the husband and wife team throwing a knife across the room during an argument, so swearing was probably the least of my problems at the time.

Michelle Obama famously said, “When they go low, we go high”. In a sane society, or at least in a society that doesn’t consider pajamas as an outfit to wear on an airliner, Ms. Obama’s declaration would be absolutely valid. But we live in a time and place where we are deeply, horribly divided. Truth, the validity of facts, and the elimination of a general moral compass has rapidly distorted our values. We are living in “the low”. To take the high road merely means to tell the truth now, and when bad actors no longer care about the truth, they’re sure not going to understand anything unless you lean hard on your intent, and that means dropping f-bombs to get people’s attention.

Look, I’m not a fan of talking like a sailor. I still have a microsecond of shock when David Rose drops a “fuck” on “Schitt’s Creek” or Patsy and Eddy drop all sorts of profanity of “Absolutely Fabulous”. But this is where society has taken us, and this is how our language is transforming to keep up with society.

A recent tweet passed by on my timeline criticizing the use of profanity on “The Circus” on Showtime. As host John Heilemann responded:

My response? A super condensed version of what I’ve written in this blog post.

I’m not going to walk into a church and start a “blue set” behind the mic at the pulpit. I’m not going to walk into a fancy restaurant and start swearing like a sailor nor am I going to begin a profanity laced litany in a room full of ladies (I still have an ounce of chivalry that I show once in a while).

But when it’s time to call the President of the United States a fucktard, I’m going to call him a fucktard.

Total Geek.

So I remember this song from when it first hit the clubs in 1986. I was out of high school, becoming comfortable with my sexuality, and really loving the whole dance club scene (that I could find at the time).

Seeing this video for the first time in a very long time, the geek in my can’t help but marvel at the amount of computing power that was necessary to generate the graphics in this music video. I’m pretty certain there was a Commodore Amiga involved.

Here’s Tia with “Boy Toy” from 1986.

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Rough Life.

After ripping down the shower curtain, liner, and shower curtain rod in the guest bathroom, a guy has to take a break.

And tell me, why do the hoomans keep shaking cans full of coins at me? Rattle rattle rattle. Rattle this.

“Hamilton”.

Official press photo.

Tonight the family got together for Valentine’s Day and we saw Hamilton at the CIBC Theatre here in Chicago. The tickets were a Christmas present for Chris; it was a delightful coincidence that at the time, the first night available was Valentine’s Day

I knew the history laden musical was all the rage these days but other than that I didn’t know much about the show. It’s the 21st century of a Rock Opera, complete with lots of rap music, 21st century riffs, and lots of remixing and synthesizer sounds. Musically, the show is a delight. But I was mesmerized by the blocking and staging of the show. Rotating stages, clever choreography, moving sets, and masterful lighting augmented wonderful performances by all members of the cast. The cast and crew worked hard to tell a nicely woven story, and I was happy to see them all take the curtain call as one, no highlighting of the “star”, no spotlighting a particular cast member.

I found that refreshing.

The only thing that bothered me about the entire experience was the audience; I’m surprised at the number of people that can’t get through a Broadway show without checking their phone (and its glaring LED glow) or having a conversation with a person near them. There was a low murmur of nearly constant chatter a few rows behind us. The folks that came in nearly 40 minutes late and needed to be seated in the center of their aisle should be shunned, not mentioned, but here we are.

When did we forget how to be a respectful audience member?

Overall, it was a pleasant experience and I highly recommend catching the show if you can.

Restless.

The winter blahs may be lifting. I put myself on the club airplane schedule. I’m going to knock some rust off my aviator skills with an instructor and get ready for a spring and summer of flying.

I will never understand how my dad and grandfather went the entire winter without flying at all. Not getting up there gets me way too moody.

Agenda.

Pet Shop Boys have released an EP called “Agenda”. Pardon my language, but it’s fucking brilliant. “Clash” features a review.

The theme of the four track EP is on point. Described as “three satirical tracks and one sad track”, it sounds like classic Pet Shop Boys with modern lyrics. The last track, “The forgotten child”, made me cry.

Here’s the track listing, you can probably figure out the overall theme on your own.

  • “Give stupidity a chance”
  • “On social media”
  • “What are we going to do about the rich?”
  • “The forgotten child”

I’ve included the lyrics to “Give stupidity a chance” to portray the vibe of the EP. It is available on Apple Music, Spotify, etc., and the CD is available for pre-order from their official website.

“Give stupidity a chance”

Intelligent people have had their say
It’s time for the foolish to show the way
Let’s lead this world a merry dance
Let’s give stupidity a chance

We’ve heard quite enough of experts and their dealings
Why face the facts when you can just feel the feelings?
Let’s lead this world a merry dance
Let’s give stupidity a chance

Forget political correctness
I mean W-T-F
I don’t wanna think about the world
I wanna talk about myself

Instead of governing with thoughtful sensitivity
Let’s shock and awe the world with idiotic bigotry
Let’s lead this world a merry dance
And give stupidity a chance

You say corruption, I say justified reward
Keeps the cronies loyal chairmen of the board
Let’s lead this world a merry dance
And give stupidity a chance

Forget political correctness
Let’s talk man to man
Chicks are always up for it
You gotta grab whatever you can

We need a leader who knows that money means class
With an eye for a peach-perfect piece of ass
Not a total dumb-cluck, just one of the guys
Let’s give stupidity a prize

Let’s lead this world a merry dance
And give stupidity a chance
Let’s give stupidity a chance