we are in suburbia, my home, amber loves it

she wants to move here. it’s quiet. i say what about those planes flying overhead.

she says what planes. i say what about all of these big box stores going out of business.

she says have you seen how cheap houses are?

i say what about all the malls dying. she says i have seen zero homeless people.

she says look there are kids playing in the streets. look theres black kids on bikes.

look theres woods everywhere and green grass and clean streets and fresh air.

no grafitti. the cops wave at you. there are two high schools, one just for the freshmen and sophomores so they wont get beat up by the upper classmen.

look at all the land people have. look at the colors. gas is only how much!

lets move. lets move lets move she says.

i say, this is all an illusion, a siren song, a mirage of the lotus eaters.

for winter is coming, sweet valley girl.

and soon the white walkers who bring with them black ice. wind chill.

and all this green grass and leafy trees and happiness

flees to california

where it’s safe.

she says lets move here.

hello from the other side

i ran into some racism growing up in the sticks outside of Chicago but thats not why i flew to LA the day after high school graduation.

i came here for the weather and the pretty girls and a fresh start.

they say you are capable of completely changing every seven years and they say that lots of people do it.

even though i was popular in school and had lots of good friends, i knew from visiting california in the summers that there was something here that was me that would be very difficult to fulfill in the midwest.

there is a drive here. a spirit of creativity, acceptance, freedom.

now 33 years removed it shocks me sometimes to read the things i do on facebook from the people i went to high school with.

the racism is out of control, not to mention the fear and hate and absolute close mindedness.

where did it come from? why does it fester?

we see it so clearly in and around St Louis and gradually now in Wisconsin and Indiana but Sweet Home Chicago?

and why isn’t it here? i know in the 70s and 80s the gangs in South Central were serious business, all based on race

but maybe that was just a totally different thing.

of course theres racism here too but it’s more “i will Not buy a house in Inglewood, Mandy.”

not “omg please don’t ask me to take yoga from Jamaal again.”

i think the secret might be in the stirring of the pot.

in the midwest everyone pretty much stays in the same neighborhoods and area codes.

in the west people are moving in, moving out, swirling and mixing.

especially when you’re young, if you meet a group of people and you call women “girls” or “gals” or “bitches” thinking you’re funny you will get pushback reminding you that you are not funny and if you wish to be funny, make some, you know jokes. real jokes.

but if you grew up with a crowd and you say dumb shit, they’ll let it slide because thats how the tribe survives – you can’t eat your own, you adapt TO THEM not to the whole wide world.

but in the swirling pot of the west you have to adapt to the whole wide world because you want to get along with your neighbor, your boss, your new friends, and that hot babe across the table from you who is from a totally different country entirely.

and so you learn that certain words are unacceptable, but better, that certain ways of thought will stop you from getting laid.


if you wanna be some narrowminded racist sexist modern day archie bunker AND get laid, you might be able to find a small portion of hot babes who will tolerate that sort of nonsense but the world will not be your oyster.

because the world, in general, does know the deal.

and the deal is racism and being a fucking dumbshit is for another time

and another place.

namely the past and not here.

here is the place where new ideas sprout up and solve old problems.

here is the place where i want to swirl the best of what ive got

with the best of what youve got and i dont mean surfacey bullshit things

but things pertaining to the soul

as a starting point.

when i get depressed it is when i start thinking that i have not lived up to the great potential that i dove into when i moved here

and im not living up to what i am capable of.

i know i am no longer slacker from the sticks.

and it’s liberating to know there is nothing here to hold me back

but it’s also frightening because then why are you still back.

why arent you front.

why am i not front.

leading the way.

or even close to the light.

and thats when i appreciate the supportive words of the enlightened who say

your concepts about front back darkness and light

are old

and wrong.

do better.

which is what i almost always need to hear.

it rained here, and thundered, and lightninged

trump facesthe house shook, the roof made noises

the squirrels bailed. the birds flew to florida.

but the best was when the skies darkened like the smoke monster in Lost.

perfectly nice gray got covered with a thick phalanx of fuck you black.

it was a tremendous parade of doom.

and unlike when that happens in LA, here in Illinois it paid off: it poured.

the thunder bellowed and the lightning struck trees and billy goats and volkswagons and corn fields.

my mom told me to get away from the windows but what are the gonna do, shatter and scar my pretty face?

the indians didnt run from the plate glass every time the angry gods raged.

we were headed to ginos east pizza, the finest in the land, but first we needed to stop at the drug store for iphone cables and rum. dicks were outta both. so walmart it was.

but mom had a better idea, lets speed back home asap and wait.

i really wanna uber a lot more than i currently do so i can buy her a new car but she likes her crossover SUV and today i realized why: weather. theres actual weather here and it’s nice to have big wheels to go through the puddles and potholes and snow and the fallen.

i wanted her to have an electric compact car or something but shes right, you need an actual vehicle in these parts. something that can take a punch. but something that will fit in your garage too. she chose well a decade ago and i hope to get her into a safe and sound vehicle soon, but right now shes cool, which is good because my hands and arms are appreciating this rest from eight hours of tap tap tap and three hours of driving.

i probably shouldnt even be blogging right now

but momma didnt raise a quitter neither.

heres what people should probably say about me at my funeral

old style

1. for some reason he loved, as in LOVED, the worlds most mediocre beer, a beer that, now that the Russians own it, they will sip and say: this is why we hate America.

2. he was basically emotional-less no matter what super high highs befell him or terrible tragedies. but if the Chicago Bears were about to play or were playing or just won or lost he will even curse out his dear dear mother. it was best to pretty much stay far away from him on game days.

3. he could only identify 2-3 bears each season.

4. as religious as he was, churches bothered him and felt the most holy place on Earth was the bleachers of Wrigley Field.

5. super underachiever. maybe the best underachiever of all.

6. could never sleep in Illinois.

7. hated dreams. they irritated him. biggest waste of energy and movie-making.

8. loved his high school chums, had a very healthy, interesting experience there, and yet never ever ever went to a reunion and probably never ever will.

9. hyper critical of salespeople and couldnt understand why so few of them ever asked the customer why they wanted what they say they wanted and/or what they loved and hated about the thing they are replacing. QUALIFY THE CUSTOMER PPL!

10. even though he never really liked visiting his hometown, was always impressed at how tall the trees grew there and how beautiful it all ended up looking decades later.

bob miletta, rest in peace

bobfor some reason bob and i started hanging out in high school and it was good.

we played whiffle ball and soccer, walked to the store, talked about the cubs.

somehow we did this for years. happily.

his family were the type of warm italians that you see in the movies with something always simmering on the stove, and old school dean martin on the radio.

if it wasnt for bob i probably wouldnt have gotten my first girlfriend. for it was because bob was playing a hockey game was i able to say on the phone one day hey mary wanna go to my buddy’s hockey game tonight, and history was made.

bob ended up with one of the hottest girls, himself, the next year and i experienced my first feelings of jealousy. basically she looked like she could have easily been playing for the Runaways.

it was in bobs house that i first heard the word marone.

as in what bobs older brother probably said to him when he first brought her home.

marone, little brother, whered you find her?

according to the newspaper bob was driving, possibly had a heart attack or stroke, and drove right through a yard, hit two trees and the corner of his house and his suv rolled over. and he died.

and what a way to go. obviously distressed because of a young child had just drowned in his pool and the next day bob was headed to the store to dismantle the pool when he died.

The autistic child was staying at his grandparents’ house in the subdivision while his parents were out of town. The child was last seen sleeping on a couch about 5 a.m. but apparently wandered away and was found in the pool at 10:47 a.m.

One report said the victim was on his way to buy a pump to drain the water from the pool to tear it down when the crash occurred.

i found out because via facebook i was invited to his funeral mass.

i was all funeral mass?

nobody i know should be having funeral masses, i thought, but there on his facebook wall i read all these very nice messages from his family and friends. and a link to the story and photo gallery.


stunned i kept scrolling down his wall to see if he had any virtual last words, and lo, the bob miletta who i grew up with, was right there again:

Here is something to ponder for all of you White Sux fans, how your team is in first place and nobody goes to the games. It’s beacuse all you fair weather so called sox fans that will jump on the bandwagon come playoff time and root for them, while the Cubs no matter what the team is doing pack Wrigley Field. Shows true colors and support. Yes the Cubs do suck at times but they still have sellouts. Also it’s funny that now The Cell has Ivy in Center Field.

im sorry i lusted after your girlfriend,

ps your twitter just broke my heart.

blast from the past

junior highweirdest thing happened today after andrew breitbart died. i blogged about it, then put it out on facebook and twitter as i rarely but sometimes do.

boing boing superstar @xeni retweeted it and because she has a (deservedly) huge following, a young lady i went to grade school and high school with saw it, clicked over to me, and realized it was her old classmate.

she left a mysterious comment saying that she used to have lunch with me a lot, but then she moved to california around junior year of high school. i thought i was the only one who had moved to california! oh i was so wrong.

“What I remember most about that high school cafeteria is those chocolate chip cookies. I bought one almost every single day that I was there,” she wrote.

From what I remember they were on these long metal pans, big, flat, and just out of the oven melty. So great!

“And ‘People Are Strange’ playing on the jukebox in the lunchroom. Every. Day.”

omg sooooo true. there was this girl named Jamie Highlan who was super into the Doors. in art class she would draw the most beautiful portraits of Jim Morrison. still when i would pass her in the hall i would sing van halen’s “jamie’s crying” and change it to “jamie highlan”.

maybe she was playing that doors song for me.

“If I remember right, you and I also went to Greenstream Middle School by the putrid landfill together. Nothing makes a kid feel valued like busing them at 7:30am on a January morning to stand outside locked school doors for 20 minutes, freezing their fingers off and huffing atmospheric methane. I know none of us snuck cigarettes on that campus or the place would have blown to Brazil.”

true story: first girl i ever kissed was in first grade on a winter day standing in line waiting for them to unlock the doors. there in line was this really pale fat girl whose cheeks had turned super red and for some reason i found them irresistible. so i kissed her on that big cold red cheek.

perhaps little first grade me was light headed from the fumes of the landfill over the dale

maybe its good that she and i moved as far west as possible to get away from those fumes.