Dead Presidents & Cheezburgers

While in Dallas, I escaped from the hotel long enough to make a 15
minute walk to where JFK was shot. The spot is marked on the road by
an ordinary white x. The scene is incredibly condensed, the grassy
knoll is just yards away and isn’t any larger than a slice of my front
yard, the buildings nearby are all so ordinary and plain, my initial
thought was, “what a terrible parade route”. The walk to the spot is
pretty depressing, lots of empty city streets and most folks that I
encountered were upon hard times. Between the oppressed, depressed,
and deceased president, it was not an uplifting jaunt, but glad to
checked it off my list.

I have a big event in Chicago tonight at 5:30PM, but my flight got here
at noon, so I walked about 2 miles to the Billy Goat Tavern. This is
the restaurant that John Belushi found inspiration for his Cheezburger,
Cheezburger skit. It is also the same tavern whose owner tried to
bring a goat to the Cubs game in the World Series, but was refused and
ever since the Cubs haven’t won a World Series and suffer the goat’s
curse. After walking 2 miles to the address, I looked around and only
saw a Walgreens. I checked the address again and realized it was 430 N
Michigan Ave Lower Level, which meant I needed to go downstairs under
ground. There’s an entire dark city underground and it looks like the
kind of place to get yourself stabbed. The restaurant was exactly as I
expected, but felt a little charm in that it was fiercely loyal to its
hometown, Chicago. The Cubs were playing and were well ahead against
the Reds, all was great in Billy Goats. I asked for a cheeseburger,
but they refused and made me order a double. The double ended up being
good because the patties are about as thin as a slice of American
Cheese. I would go back again, maybe with more time and less on the
agenda so I could enjoy a pint of Schlitz and take in the last 5
innings of a Cubs game.

The All Fisherman Are Liars, Well I am A Liar & A Cheater

The kids and I have been fishing the Neshaminy Creek across the street from our home and it has been surprisingly difficult to catch anything with the kids falling in and throwing stones into the water. I decided to step things up a notch and take them to the Big Brown Trout Hatchery & Fishing Lake in Effort, Pennsylvania. They have a lake that is stocked to the brim with trout, it is totally cheating, it would be more difficult to catch a fish in an aquarium. When the kids and I arrived, we started out using night crawlers (aka big worms, what a great name by the way, “night crawlers”), we casted the big worm into the lake and let it sit there for about 30 minutes. I imagined the worm sinking down past hundreds of trout and then it was resting anxiously on the bottom of the trout infested lake watching mammoth trout fight over who gets to eat it, and of course, my imagination has the biggest trout ever pushing the smaller trout aside and sinking his lips into the bait and I reel it in and show all the other cheating fisherman my conquest. What actually happened was that nothing bit my bait and despite me seeing hundreds of trout swimming past me and jumping out of the water all around me, nothing bit. Jaclyn and the kids were getting restless and even I began to question my competency, I marched into the store at the lake and decided to make a bold move, I bought Berkley’s Trout Pellets, the same things these poor trout have had to eat for the previous 2 to 3 years of their lives. The moment I casted out the new and improved bait, dozens of trout swarmed the pellets and we immediately hooked up. Winston and Dalia took turns reeling in the fish and everybody had a blast. It costs $2.50 to enter and then you have to keep all fish you catch. I think they charge you about $6 per pound for the fish you catch. It was worth it as the family had a great time, Jaclyn even caught one by herself. Dalia was fearless and grabbed a big slimy rainbow trout up with both hands and put it into our bucket, I hope she stays like that and never becomes too girly.

For all of you who are interested, please know my presentation went very well today. It is a relief to be done with it.

One last thing, I walked by a woman and man talking in the hotel last night and here’s what I heard the woman say to the man:
“Not only is the kid retarded, but he’s standing there in his underwear.”

That statement keeps rattling around in my brain, I am trying to understand how that fit into the conversation.

RKDeem Tackles The Big Issues

I say we bite the bullet and get rid of the penny. I was checking out inflation calculations and a dollar in 1913 is roughly the equivalent to $23 in present day currency, that means a penny then is roughly equivalent to today’s quarter. With that in mind, I say we rid nickels and dimes too.

The Intelligencer featured a big news article yesterday about a prostitute getting arrested in Doylestown yesterday. One thing I could never understand is how can prostitution be illegal, but pornography is legal. Is the only difference that is being recorded? If so, prostitutes should always carry cameras.

I went to Springfield, Massachusetts yesterday. Really enjoyed the radio on the trip, listened to a foreign broadcast out of NYC and they played music from everywhere, then listened to an alternative station in Connecticut, and finished up with some Boston sports talk radio (they are very concerned over the slow start of the Red Sox), on the way home, I got caught up on all the top 10 hits with the nightly countdown. I also listened to my CD teaching me French, I freaking struggle with that language, I was not meant to speak french. Can’t think of a reason for anyone to visit Springfield, Mass. Reminded me of Scranton, Pennsylvania…but instead of the optimism of college students sprinkled in, I saw a woman mercilessly beat her significant other than throw her keys at him.

Heading to Dallas next week, can’t wait for that week to be over.

We’re planning a birthday party for Jac & Laurie in late May (I think May 26th). Mark your calendars.

Curve Of The Father

As our kids get a little older, I see that I’m beginning to apply more pressure on them and ask for greater accountability. I think there’s probably some algorithm out there, the curve of the father. At first, when a father is first introduced to the baby, the kid can scream, crap his pants, spill his food, and stay up at all hours and the dad won’t say a thing. As the kid enters the late toddler/elementary school years, the father begins to apply more pressure to behave properly and treat teachers and adults with respect, at the height of the curve is highschool, where dads need to put pressure on their kids for sleeping too long, eating all the food, doing their chores, staying out too late, not doing well in school, behaving badly, and I’m sure many other things. After highschool, the pressure will gradually decrease over time, until the dad only needs to give you a couple pointers on home repair or career advice. Maybe it is less of a curve of a father and more of the curve of a kid.

I went to the Hair Cuttery last Friday, when the woman finished cutting my hair, she walked to the front of me, bent down and looked close at my face, then stepped back and asked if I wanted her to trim my eyebrows. I almost asked, “Do they need trimming?”, but then I imagined myself a month down the road looking at my eyebrows in the bathroom mirror with disgust as they are growing back in and I have to pluck them to avoid looking awkward…”No, no, nope, no need for an eyebrow trim, I’m good for now, I don’t want to go down that path.” She could tell she hit some weird nerve, so she quickly dusted me off and sent me out.

Our cable was switched to Comcast yesterday, can’t wait to cancel it a year from now when they jack up the rates for no reason.

Selling Out, Maybe Not Such A Bad Thing

Had the opportunity to see Bruce Springsteen last Thursday. I give that dude a lot of credit, he just freaking rocks his brains out for 3 hours and he barely scrapes the surface of his greatest hits. I love the old poetic, rambling, jam session Springsteen songs, but even when he plays dorky songs like “Dancing In The Dark”, Bruce totally sells out and you reluctantly find yourself totally feeling it.

I respect Bruce Springsteen, he pours so much into his music you’d be dead if you weren’t feeling it. But a couple of times, I felt like I was cheating on Bob Dylan. Watching Springsteen crowd surf, do laps around the crowd, pull a girl out of the crowd onto the stage to have her sing along with him, sliding across the stage on his knees, and pouring every ounce of his being into three hours of music, you just have to respect his effort. But Dylan doesn’t care if you like it at all, his songs were too long for radio, his voice sucked, he didn’t dance, he had folk followers, but pissed them off by going electric. He got religious. I went to a Dylan concert once and he didn’t say a word to the audience all night, he had the crowd in a total frenzy, seeking some sort of acknowledgement and he just grinned, bowed, and left the stage. Bob Dylan just keeps putting music out and I’m nearly certain that he doesn’t care whether or not people like it and he’s certainly not going to do something crazy to convince you to enjoy it. The only reason I am comparing Bruce and Bob is because they both came from the Woody Guthrie lineage, they are both phenomenal, but it is fascinating to think about how they each built their success.

I guess you get these kinds of people everywhere, Ted Williams fought in the war, batted .400, and was inducted in the baseball Hall of Fame, but never made any attempt to really connect with fans or be admired. Woody Allen is obviously not trying to come out with a blockbuster or to appeal to the masses. The Edman does his thing, etc.

I guess the whole point of this is, if you’re going to be a jerk, it is helpful to be really good at what you do. Another point is, you probably get a pass on doing something less than great, if you’re at least selling out and trying hard. My last point is, Bob Dylan really is an amazing performer, you should really download the following songs and give them a shot, nobody can come close to it:

It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue
Don’t Think Twice Its All Right
Farewell, Angelina
Blind Willie McTell
Visions Of Johanna
Shelter From The Storm
Idiot Wind
Simple Twist of Fate
When I Paint My Masterpiece
Not Dark Yet
Mississippi (from bootleg series)
I Shall Be Released
Standing In The Doorway