finally this blog will be what i want

chicago taught me everything.

i heard myself talking to people but i was really just talking to myself.

be yourself

forget about everything else

you’re younger than you think

take pictures of everything

you’re not alone

this beer tastes like shit

midwest summertime humidity and hospitality is the most magical healing combo ive experienced and trust me ive been around the block

the city and suburbs were warm and green and people, rich and poor look you in the eye and tell you right what they think

babies too.

people had cubs hats on, way more sox hats than i expected, bears shirts, and smiles.

i spotted more than i expected shirtless men.

and amber seriously fell in love with all of it while all along i kept saying this is all a beautiful illusion, for winter is coming.

when you get older and you return to certain places you say, oh yeah, over there used to be the bank and before that it was dinner theater and before that it was a drug store

this time i was turning the dial on the radio and there was no more The Loop.

one day i’d turn it there and its like love songs or something and i kept it there for longer than i shoulda

like i was waiting for something magical to happen and it would come back.

but it never did.

it never does.)

drove around USC last night and made a big mistake

yoAzdo i love driving? yes.

have i figured out how to do this damn thing in pretty much the entire city?


the reason to drive around USC is because it’s little quick trips that are easy on your car, easy on the gas, and very little traffic so easy on your soul.

none of the rides will get you over $4 but like they used to say on tv, its all about volume volume volume. especially on a monday night which happens to be a Jewish holiday thus the rest of the city is dead.

but whenever you figure out a trick, The System will screw you.

the problem with USC is ubes never pays you right. its supposed to be like $3.08 a ride, but if its a pool the system only pays you $1.54 per person – which is half of what it should pay you. and you have to go back in your records and write them an email with all of the ride IDs — and guess what, sometimes Ubes wont write you back.

so you have to write again. and again. and then fight with someone clear across the other side of the world who would be sooooo happy with making $1.54 in 5 minutes, but bro, im supposed to be making $3.08 in 5 minutes. im driving a Benz. im college educated. I HAVE A BLOG TO SUPPORT.

im talking to chinese girls about their midterms. im talking to freshmen frat dudes who say getting girls is easy because the girls think bc youre young you dont know what youre doing, but you do know what youre doing, he says, on his way to taco bell to pick up food for the entire house. youre talking to sorority girls about their perfume. youre talking to a girl who got in on a full ride because shes badass at the Oboe. so i go, who is the greatest Oboe player today?

and she says Eugene Izotov. she says he plays with the Chicago Symphony. i flip my Cubs hat around so she can see it and say, the Chicago? who was the conductor, is that Solti? she informs me that Solti has been dead for years, that the conductor has been Muti for a while. so we talk about Dudamel. i deserve my full $3.08, uber. no frickin robot is gonna spin his Cubs hat around and talk classical while playing punk rock in a benzo sipping on a super big gulp of cherry coke with a forgotten jack n the box taco in the glove box.

at some point i felt like i had had enough. 21 rides in 3 hours. so whereas normally i refused UberX calls, i took one. hopefully they were headed to hollywood. worst case scenario they wanted to go to DTLA. but just my luck it was a french dude who had a tiny suitcase. an Oboe? no. he wanted to go to LAX. mama mia. ok, i’ll make $20 i thought. wrong again. $16.50.

why would ubes lower its fares sooo low that an airport ride from USC (which is one end of LA) to LAX (the other) would net the driver less than $20 if he is trying to make the Uber X hustle? dont they know thats exactly what will kill the driver? that will make him stop – or worse – thats what will make him just switch over to Lyft exclusively because on such a ride, for sure the passenger will tip him a few bucks, because trust me, if i can exchange classical facts with a pretty girl on a 4 minute ride, what can i parlez avec un frog on his way to Chicago on a 45 minute LAX run?

i told him to get a girlfriend immediately because when the cold wind blows he might need two girlfriends to keep him warm, skinny as he is.

illustration by the French artist YoAz

WLS in Chicago is dropping Rush Limbaugh

rush limbaugh

Some things, especially evil things, you’d think would last forever. But alas, life constantly surprises.

News is coming out that WLS-AM, one of the biggest radio stations in the nation, is ending it’s deal with one Rush Limbaugh, biggest blowhard on the air.

It’s clear he hates women, minorities, and the poor, and ironically, he is one of the reasons that WLS (which originally stood for World’s Largest Store: Sears) has lost $4 million over the last year in sales. Apparently advertisers aren’t as giddy about being associated with the likes of Limbaugh as they once were. Boycotts are nasty things.

But life isn’t.

Hang in there, nice people. Evil doesn’t always prevail.

hi early morning northwest suburbs of life


it’s true that staycations are cheaper and stressfree, but we should stretch our wings a few times a year.

and for sure you should see your momma as often as you can.

chicago the last few days did its best to make itself known. a lot of things went wrong.

im typically cool under pressure but i was out of my comfort zone and very little went right.

but my mom and i were able to eat at my favorite chinese joint and i was lucky enough to sample a wide variety of local and foreign beers.

my poor mother must think im a drunk because everywhere we go either im drinking or looking for a drink. truth is i barely touch the stuff in LA, perhaps because i’m usually driving.

but my mom drives everywhere around here and won’t negotiate when it comes to that so i just drink up and enjoy the ride.

yesterday we did the old swap where i gave her my xbiphone and i took her phone.

it’s one way to keep the snoops off yr trail but unfortunately they put so much malarkey in there it’s tough to erase and restore, which is what i was doing all night.


only got a few hours of sleep because i had to get a 6am (!) limo from her house to the airport so i could catch my 9am flight.

sometimes i think my moms favorite thing to do is to wake up early to catch a plane. she was up before i was to collect all my crap and make sure i got up and showered in time.

shes the best of all.

limo guy was a little too anxious. clearly a new agent. i put in my earbuds and ignored him.

he drove wildly, tailgating, honking, cussing.

i took out one of the speakers in my ear and i said, tommy

he said, yes sir.

i said it’s freaking 6:30 in the morning. pretend theres an open bowl of water out here and if none of it spills you get an extra $20. also, slow the hell down.

he got the point.

the midwest was beautiful as we drove past cornfields and rivers as the sun rose and poor shmucks went to whereever they had to go on a saturday morning.

and even though i know money doesn’t really solve any problems, i schemed ways i could get a few extra bucks so i could take my mom

and maybe my niece or my nephew to a fun spot in the next year or two.

italy, vegas, sweden.

somewhere no one has to wake up til noon.

and somewhere where phones are not the center of our universe.

dude sets fire to ONE facility and causes a shut down of a super busy airport


and thus cancels a flight of a former xbi agent?

said agent finds said dude

who is later discovered with “self inflicted” wounds.

“stop stabbing yourself, stabby,” he keeps mumbling to himself as he is wheeled to the ambulance.

two things: why is it that our electrical grid is so sensitive that entire states can be wiped out due to human error?

and how come the second busiest airport in america can be crippled because of one stinking fire?

all these electrical engineers making all this money and no one knows about Redundancy?

if the US was ever attacked we’d be doomed.

if I was Obama, i’d fund one less air craft carrier and reinvest that money into the infrastructure of the good ole USA.

do you know life is weird?

lucydo you know charles shultz tried to warn us via Peanuts?

all those kids who were lo-key and monotone so much

intellectual but had already given up by 8 years old.

and the biggest lesson was Lucy’s going to try to f you over whenever she can.

shes not gonna let you kick that ball, charlie brown.

try all you want, but you’ll never be cooler than your dog.

it all became true.

tonight my mom and i ate sushi, drank sake, and tried to figure out what the plan is gonna be like for christmas.

shes the hardest working person in showbiz and even in a job that doesnt respect her she gives 100%

shes nervous they wont let her take christmas week off because it’s so busy there at that time.

we walked around the mall that was built when i was in high school.

it’s so run down inside and out that she doesnt even notice the dumpsters in the parking lot.

this mall was the most sparkling hopeful place in all of the suburbs a few decades ago and now half of the stores inside are empty and the other half are halfassed stores that arent even trying.

we walked into a sports shop to browse jerseys and hats and there were three old men from india behind the counter

one guy couldnt stop coughing and the other two just looked at each other.

i swear i saw a tumbleweed roll by.

only stores with any business? the cinnabon and the one black barber shop on one side of the mall, and the black beauty parlor on the other side of the mall.

usually when i see an empty space my mind can think of some way creatively to fill it

but this place, oh man, i got nothin.

turn the whole place into the midwest’s largest strip club?

an orphanage? for like every orphan in chicago?

only thing i could think of was to film a zombie movie in there cuz thats how it felt.


another guest post by Chicago Uber driver Scott Van Maldegiam

scott and charlie from chicago hopeLast Saturday night, I picked up 4 women in Lincoln Park and drove them to Lottie’s Pub. They were very fun and included me in their conversation.

I couldn’t tell you what we talked about except at the very end.

They mentioned that someone named “Charlie” was going to be there.

It was obvious from the way they were talking that they believed this person to be important or famous.

I asked “Charlie who?”

They said a guy on Chicago Fire.

I was skeptical until we pulled up a short time later and saw the actor that plays Peter Mills on Chicago Fire standing outside Lottie’s.

I watch the show occasionally, but my wife and son watch it every week.

I knew I needed to get a picture with him.

He was a super nice guy and was more than happy to have his picture taken with me.

I haven’t driven any famous people yet, so this is as close as I have gotten so far.

If you are an Uber driver and have an interesting story or two to tell, and you want it posted on the world famous busblog, feel free to email it to me here at busblog at gmail dot com