Friday, September 28, 2007


When I got home from work yesterday Tony called me to the computer to view this fifty year old article from Time Magazine about hillbillies. He wasn’t sure if it was incredibly funny or utterly appalling. I came to the conclusion that it was both. It was funny in the same way as I find all racism funny; its utter disregard and lack of understanding for people and their situations. I thought the article served as a nice juxtaposition to my post from yesterday. I enjoy writing about all issues of inequality, even the old ones.

In 2007, you wouldn’t find an article such as this outside a publication geared towards bigots and hate-mongers. You certainly won’t find it in one of our most recognized magazines. This article let me look back to another time. While I knew that most migrant groups were reviled no matter who they were, to see this article really drove it home.

Some of my favorite parts of the article are as follows:

“Coming from states whose literacy rates are below the national average (exception: Missouri), the clannish, independent migrants show a deep-rooted aversion not only for the law, but also for sanitation, schooling, church, and most other alien urban institutions as well.”

“Reporter Browning set out to stalk and observe a species ‘whose customs and culture-patterns are as incomprehensible to us as dial telephones are to them’”

“They have the lowest moral code, if any, of any [group], the biggest capacity for liquor and the most savage and vicious tactics when drunk, which is most of the time.”

Fifty years ago wasn’t the distant past by any means. I wonder where those hillbillies, and their children, are today. Are the second generation hillbillies still afraid of immunizations? Where in the city do they live? How long did it take them to “assimilate” into everyday Chicago culture? Are they still bitter about the way that their families were treated? If they, as the group that was called the most alien migrants that ever came to Chicago can overcome such stereotypes, why has it been harder for other groups?

These questions are probably not all that hard to answer. You just have to do a little digging. The question I hear asked most often when talking about these issues is the last one and that is the easiest of them all to explain. The answer is that these people fundamentally look the same as the majority of the population. When they get rid of their sure hillbilly signs of “shoulder length bobs (slightly matted, heavily greased) and bubble gum,” they become barely distinguishable from a “native” city resident. In my opinion, the ability to look like the majority with little effort is essential to “fitting in”. I wish that were not true but I think that it is. Until we can get past visual labels we will be unable to truly unite as a country. I think we are working on it, but it is taking far too long. We’ll see where we stand in another fifty years.

Thursday, September 27, 2007


In the midst of learning a new job and working my two current jobs I haven’t been able to do much in the way of posting. Despite the enormous amount of work I have been doing I have simply not had all that much to say. Thanks to the glory that is Bill O’Reilly I now have plenty of fodder.

I’m sure that by now most of you have heard about our dear friend Bill’s trip to Sylvia’s restaurant in Harlem. Back in ‘97 I went to Sylvia’s and enjoyed some delicious macaroni and cheese. I hear that the quality has changed somewhat since Sylvia has passed, but that is beyond the point. Bill also seemed to have a wonderful time at the restaurant as you can see from the comments he then made. According to him, the comments were an attempt to discuss the fact that America as a country needs to get away from race-based thinking because there aren’t all that many differences between the races. To prove his point he made some of the most wonderfully racist comments I have heard in ages.

“And I couldn't get over the fact that there was no difference between Sylvia's restaurant and any other restaurant in New York City. I mean, it was exactly the same, even though it's run by blacks, primarily black patronship. It was the same, and that's really what this society's all about now here in the U.S.A.”

That’s a great observation. This guy really gets it! If he were actually trying to show his fans the lack of difference between the races would he have begun the statement with something like “I couldn’t get over the fact,”? No I think not. He claims that his words have been taken totally out of context. Sorry, you can’t take that out of context. You can’t hide the genuine surprise that is inherent in that statement. Wow, black people owning and running things that aren’t fucked up, what a concept. At least he brought it back to a statement about equality…sort of. But that wasn’t the half of it. The crowning statement was to follow.

“There wasn't one person in Sylvia's who was screaming, "M-Fer, I want more iced tea."

He must have been there on a day when the patrons were truly on their best behavior. I know that when I go to a primarily Black restaurant I hear people cursing and yelling for iced tea all the time. In fact, when I don’t encounter such behavior I am almost as surprised as Bill O’Reilly. When I go to a restaurant and no one yells I just don’t even know what to do with myself. He went on to follow the priceless iced tea comment with this:

“You know, I mean, everybody was -- it was like going into an Italian restaurant in an all-white suburb in the sense of people were sitting there, and they were ordering and having fun. And there wasn't any kind of craziness at all.”

My question for him is this, how would he expect any business to run for decades if the kind of craziness that was lacking at Sylvia’s was the norm? Does he think that the Black patrons would put up with going to a restaurant where people are yelling across the room for M-Fing iced tea? I somehow doubt that they would. However, it seems to me that what he is trying to say is that much of white America sees Black America as rowdy, uncouth, and irresponsible to the point that a neighborhood, and even national, landmark would be ripe of that type of behavior. He certainly seems to feel that way. If he is right in his defense of his statements and they were honestly made to make a point about how there really isn’t much difference in the races he needs to re-examine his surprise. If that is truly how the majority of white America feels then our country is truly a sad place.

Monday, September 24, 2007


As I was driving to my friend Jenny’s house I had a strange sense of calm. This part was going to be easy. All the people that would be there were certain to be happy to see me. The only twinge of nerves that I got was in trying to find a parking space. It wasn’t hard but I was determined not to have to parallel park and spaces I thought I could fit in were just a little too small. I planned on arriving fashionably late but was the first one to arrive. No worries, Jenny and I were friends and we would have plenty to talk about. It isn’t every day that you get to sit down with someone who is about to go help build governments in Liberia. Soon after they all trickled in; Emily, Sarma, Miako, Mara, and Jasmine I had seen most of them since High School but none in the last four years or so. It was like no time at all had passed. We caught up, looked at old pictures, and Emily pointed out that none of us had peaked in High School. Good to know. Then it was time to head down the street and over to the actual reunion.

As I walked in my stomach clenched. I was sure that by rolling seven deep all sense of nerves would easily disappear, I was wrong. I looked into the room and saw a sea of faces that I mostly remembered. Jasmine looked at me and let me know she just got nervous herself. I felt a little better. I saw my friend Evelyn who was on the badminton team with me and went to say hello. About twenty seconds into the conversation I realized I was not talking to Evelyn and had no idea who I was speaking to. I got out of there fast but no one seemed to notice. Why wasn’t she wearing a nametag and why did she look at me when I said Evelyn? Oh well, crisis easily avoided. We went to get a drink because you always look less out of place in a bar with a drink in your hand and then scanned the room for people I actually wanted to talk to.

Surprisingly, there were some people of interest. People I hadn’t thought about in ages but who I had shared some good times with. They were the ones who I was most interested in talking to. There were some that got a nice nod or a quick hello but others who I wanted to reminisces with, people who I was actually interested in. Granted they were few and far between but seeing them really meant something. I think I managed to put off only one person. The last think I said to this guy was, “I might never see you again and that is ok with me.” I didn’t mean any offense by the statement, it was simply true. He actually nodded. We talked briefly and he mentioned that he was engaged. I said, “good job,” and he looked a little offended. Emily told me I probably shouldn’t say things that sound like I am surprised anyone would want to marry someone, I guess she has a point. I got to tell a good friend’s wife about the day we ha in High School to “honor” him. See he used to wear his flannel shirts all the way unbuttoned and tucked in. He kept the shirt open about four inches, two on either side of his belt buckle. Emily and I came to school dressed that way one day. I mean how do you tuck in an unbuttoned shirt with precision and not expect people to pay homage? His wife thought it was the funniest thing ever and vowed to have a similar day of her own.

I have friends doing really interesting things; moving to Liberia to help get the government up and running, running a biology lab, working in non-profits, going back to school, finishing up residency, etc. They also seemed really interested in what I did, which was nice because I sometimes take the good I do for granted. My only complaint was that you don’t charge people $15 for a function and then only have an open bar for an hour. No that it mattered to me because I was driving, but still. All I can say is that I am very glad that I went and hope that some people will be true to their word and come visit me. The rest I’ll see in 2017.

Monday, September 17, 2007


Question 1: Do people who are obviously having a good time make you smile or frown?
Question 2: Does it depend on the type of thing they are doing to obviously have a good time?

These were the two questions that I believe were answered last week as Monica and I conducted a little experiment. Well, it didn’t start out as an experiment, it started out as Monica and I seeing which songs we liked on Of Montreal’s album Hissing Fauna, Are You The Destroyer? as it turned out we liked most of the songs a lot. The exceptions were “The Past is a Grotesque Animal”, and “Bunny Ain’t No Kind of Rider”.

It was about 6pm. We parked ourselves at the northeast corner of Dearborn and Wacker (a fairly busy spot for the business types considering the time of day) and, harkening back to the days where we rode the blue line home together, each grabbed an iPod earbud and got to listening. As we listened we tapped our feet and bopped our heads to the beat. We smiled and softly sang along to some of the tunes (until it got dark, then we sang loudly). We were obviously happy. As we sat, we noticed people were responding to us in a wide variety of ways. Some tried desperately to ignore us because they didn’t want to stare. Some really wanted to stare but did not indicate if they were staring in pleasure, confusion, or anger they were just staring. Some simply didn’t care one way or the other. Some were pleased by our fun. Others were filled with disdain. We decided to up our efforts a little bit and see what happened.

Those filled with disdain, although in the minority, made an incredible impression. They seemed to truly hate us. We weren’t even that annoying because most of the disdainful folk came by before we started singing very loud. There was one very drunk woman who looked at us as if we were demon spawn. I don’t see what is so terrible about a couple of ladies boppin' to music that no one else can hear but she thought it was in very poor taste. There was an older man who just looked at us and shook his head disapprovingly. There was a woman in a striped sweater who made a “huff” type of noise and turned her nose up a bit. There was even a guy in a truck who stared at us as if we were setting the race back a few decades and rolled up his window. We weren’t asking for money or anything, just enjoying some music. Still, our ease and obvious merriment made them uncomfortable

Of the people who tried not to stare I didn’t think too much. They were just people who wanted to go about their business and I have certainly found myself trying not to look at people who I didn’t want to acknowledge me. Maybe they thought we were going to try and sing to them, or ask them for money, or speak. It doesn’t matter, I got them. The ones that blatantly stared without any reaction good or bad were another thing all together. The ones that really stuck with me were two women, about our age, who were in a taxi stopped in front of us at the light. They made me really sad. The look on their face as they were staring told me that, while they realized we were having an excellent time, they would not have been comfortable doing something so obviously “weird”. It simply would not have fit into their young professional lifestyle. They seemed to wonder why they were so much older than us. It was a little depressing. I also enjoyed the stares of the elderly, they just seemed miffed. There was also a taxi full of guys about our age who were just craning their necks to see what was going on, they obviously thought we were very interesting.

However, my favorite types by far were the people who seemed to share in our happiness. There were the guys who were taking a photo of a building by us and when Monica missed taking a picture of him taking a picture he gladly posed and she got an excellent shot. There were children in the car with their father who looked at us and smiled and told their daddy. He smiled and waved out of the window of his car. There was the guy on the motorcycle who came up to the corner to smile and bop his head along with us. There were the older businessmen who appreciated our loud rendition of Fortunate Son. There was even the homeless guy who seemed intrigued by our singing and wanted a concert, much to our discomfort. Whoever these people were, we made them happy just by having fun and those are the types of people I would want to be friends with and I am glad we were able to make their day a little brighter. They made me smile a little bigger, dance a little more, and sing a little louder which, in turn, probably annoyed people I didn’t like more. Awesome.

1. In one hand dreams a plenty/ In her smile a secret spell/ In her blood disappointments/ These she knows oh too well.

2. I rap for listeners/ Bluntheads, fly ladies, and prisoners/ Hennessey holders and old school niggas then I’ll be dissin/ an unofficial that smoke woolie Thai/ I dropped out of Cooley High

3. It’s too good/ It’s too nice/ She makes me finish too quick/ Is it love/ No not love/ She turns my sexual tricks. Suffocated Love, Tricky. Identified by Ern and thanks for the lyric correction!

4. I miss you/ But I haven’t met you yet/ So special/ But it hasn’t happened yet. I Miss You, Bjork. Identified by Friend.

And a special song just for the birthday girl, FRIEND, Happy Birthday Friend! No one but Friend is allowed to name this song even if they know it and they really want to.

5. Now I’m just average common too/ I’m just like him the same as you/ I’m everybody’s brother and son/ I ain’t different than anyone/ Ain’t no use in talking to me/ Just the same as talking to you. I Shall Be Free #10, Bob Dylan. Identified by Friend, just like she was supposed to do.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007


This morning I hopped out of bed, donned a robe, and stepped into the hallway. I was immediately greeted with a horrific thought. Winter is almost here. I know, I know, it is technically quite a way off and there is an entire season called fall before winter truly arrives. Regardless, I felt the biting sting of cold on my face, fingers, and feet and all I wanted to do was to crawl back into bed and cry.

It has been a really nice summer. I have enjoyed wonderful weather, most of it not annoyingly hot. I have had nice vacations and plenty of in the city fun. It has very likely been one of the better summers I have had in some time. Maybe that is the reason that I am so reluctant for it to end. It has simply been too nice. Maybe I have an even nicer fall and a stupendous winter ahead of me. I just don’t know. All I know was that it was cold. Like up at the cabin without proper clothing cold. Boo.

According to the seven-day forecast, there isn’t a single day about 70 in sight. I know it is September and I know I live in Chicago but it still doesn’t seem right. Why is it that 60 degree weather as we ease into fall feels so incredibly warm but as we leave summer it is so gosh darned cold.

On a happier note, I have decided to go to my High School reunion on the 22th. I am still a little mad at them that it is on Yom Kippur but oh well. I told the planning people very early on that I thought that was very rude being the highest of the High Holy days and all. They didn’t seem to care although someone did mention that they would bring it up to the planning committee. Such a thing would never happen in New York. Unfortunately, Tony won’t be coming with me. I would have liked to see him by my side but it just isn’t practical financially and it is a lot of family time all at once. Tony loves my family very much but they aren’t his family and three visits in a month is a lot for him. He also could care less about meeting people I went to high school with. I guess it is just that insecure teenage girl in me that wants to have a boyfriend. What a lame I am. I’ll be meeting up with some good friends beforehand for dinner and in all honesty hearing they were going to be getting together and them saying how great it would be if I came was my main motivation. We’ll see how it goes.

1. In one hand dreams a plenty/ In her smile a secret spell. In her blood disappointments/ These she knows oh too well.

2. I rap for listeners/ Bluntheads, fly ladies, and prisoners/ Hennessey holders and old school niggas then I’ll be dissin/ an unofficial that smoke woolie Thai/ I dropped out of Cooley High

3. It’s too good/ It’s too nice/ She makes me fingers too quick/ Is it love/ No not love/ She turns my sexual tricks

4. I miss you/ But I haven’t met you yet/ So special/ But it hasn’t happened yet

And a special song just for the birthday girl, FRIEND, Happy Birthday Friend! No one but Friend is allowed to name this song even if they know it and they really want to.

5. Now I’m just average common too/ I’m just like him the same as you/ I’m everybody’s brother and son/ I ain’t different than anyone/ Ain’t no use in talking to me/ Just the same as talking to you

Monday, September 10, 2007


Something rather tragic has happened. I don’t know what to watch. If you have been reading this blog for any amount of time you know that I LOVE TV. It makes me so happy that I even rent TV. In fact, for the last two years, Tony and I have been renting Angel and Buffy from Netflix. We finished Angel about a year or so ago and have been watching Buffy ever since. Now, before you write me off, please understand that I too was skeptical of these shows. I thought they were crap for ubernerds to watch because they can’t make friends. I was wrong. They are shows for ubernerds to watch when they don’t feel like seeing their friends or would rather enjoy a nice day on the couch. What I am trying to say is that I really underestimated these shows. I am so glad Tony made me watch them. They are good, like Flight of the Conchords good or even Arrested Development good. Granted, they may not appeal to the same audiences and many people will argue with me but the self-aware ridiculousness of them compiled with strong female role-models and a sci-fi twist really makes for quality television.

Anyway, over the weekend we watched Buffy season 7 disc 6, the final disc in our two series 12 season extravaganza. It was quite a wonderful ending I went through every possible emotion which is the mark of a great series finale. It felt finished unlike Angel, which felt finished but rushed. It was though because they received word mid-season that it would be their last. They had to wrap things up pretty quick. Damn those evil network executives who didn’t know that Angel was easily one of the best shows ever it was easily better than Buffy (although some may disagree) but got two less seasons. Crap.

I digress, what I am trying to say is that I no longer know what TV to rent from Netflix. We rented Undeclared since Tony hadn’t seen it and we like that Apatow but, although a fine program that was cancelled before its time, it isn’t as quality as the shows we just finished watching. Someone suggested that we watch Charmed since we like Angel and Buffy so much but, from what I have seen of that show, it isn’t as smart or as funny or as well done and that would just be a huge letdown. We were pushed toward Firefly since we obviously like Joss Whedon but it is just a little too hardcore Sci-fi for us to get into. Whatever should be done? We need help. I fear nothing will ever come close to satisfying my TV renting again.

Don’t tell me to go out and explore the world. I explore when I feel like it and winter just around the corner. Don’t tell me to watch Desperate Housewives or Grey’s Anatomy, I’ve seen little bits of those shows and am simply not impressed. I need humor, witticism, creativity, and the unexpected. I need to never have watched these glorious series so that I can experience them all over again for the first time. I need a show that I have low expectations for to come in and hook me hard, I need a revelation. What, oh what, should I do? I know, reveal the unguessed songs from last week.

1. I went all the way to Paris/ To forget your face/ Captured in stained glass/ Young lives long since past/ Statues of lovers everyplace. History of Us, Indigo Girls

2. Baby your magic is working/ I lose control of myself/ Whenever you are near me/ I feel myself changing/ From a guy thought too cynical for love into a hopeless romantic. Your Magic is Working, Of Montreal

5. I like a girl with caked up make-up/ in the sunshine smoking cigarettes to pass the time/ Who wakes up to a bottle of wine. So Rich, So Pretty, Mickey Avalon

Friday, September 07, 2007


The saga at work continues. I felt significantly better this morning and headed off to work with a spring in my step. You know that feeling when you thought you were going to die and then all of a sudden life is shiny and new, yeah, it was that kind of morning. Then I got to the office. Upon walking in the building I immediately stuffed up again thus realizing the probably cause of my curious and sudden ailment. Working in a building with half-finished ceilings and constant construction=throat infection. I wonder why I didn’t figure that out before. After that initial disappointment, I walked into the large room where my desk resides and noticed that my desk was out of place and empty except for the broken remnants of the wonderful wax ant that Tony made me. I looked in horror and wonder at what was going on. At least Tony’s birthday present was sitting on a desk in the corner, it being his birthday and all I would have been sad had it not arrived.

Apparently, people were bringing the fire door that will close the reception area off from the elevator bank though my window. I turned around and hit the down button on the elevator. I went downstairs, dropped my Netflix in the mail and headed to Dunkin’ Donuts for a bagel. I brought the bagel upstairs and went directly to the lunchroom, not even stopping to see what was going on in my work area. I sat there with the paper and leisurely ate. I tried not to think of the students I had to call for my class on Monday or the Volunteers I had to call to tell them the workshop they signed up to volunteer for was cancelled. I would get to them when I could. It was beyond my control.

As I sat there doing the crossword, I was informed that not only LaVerne (who has the desk opposite mine) and myself were kicked out of the work area but both of our entire departments had to evacuate for safety reasons. I chuckled and tried to think of a five letter acronym for plans not working out as they were drawn up. Oh, FUBAR, of course (that wasn’t actually in the crossword but wouldn’t it have been funny if it was). I was told the Executive Director was taking our departments out for breakfast but since I had just eaten a bagel and wasn’t exactly a happy camper, I opted out. So did LaVerne. Instead we sat and griped and I found the number for the Volunteer who was scheduled for Monday in the Volunteer Director’s office where I put all the stuff I no longer wanted to deal with.

At about noon my work station was essentially up and running. I couldn’t set up my desk properly though because an electrician has to come over the weekend and fix some things. I was only allowed the bare bones, a computer and a phone. It would serve my needs. I also spent some time in my new classroom watching people hang up white boards. That was fun. It is now 3:11. I have done all the work I can do at my limited workstation and I haven’t taken a lunch. I wonder if that means I can leave an hour early. I doubt it. Have a good weekend all.

1. I went all the way to Paris/ To forget your face/ Captured in stained glass/ Young lives long since past/ Statues of lovers everyplace

2. Baby your magic is working/ I lose control of myself/ Whenever you are near me/ I feel myself changing/ From a guy thought too cynical for love into a hopeless romantic

3. Somebody took the papers/ And somebody’s got the key/ And somebody’s nailed the door shut that says hey what you think that you see. Cool It Down, Velvet Underground. Identified by Monica

4. Hey little sister what have you done/ Hey little sister whose the only one/ Hey little sister whose your superman/ Hey little sister whose the one you want. White Wedding, Billy Idol. Identified by Mom.

5. I like a girl with caked up make-up/ in the sunshine smoking cigarettes to pass the time/ Who wakes up to a bottle of wine

Wednesday, September 05, 2007


Last night before I went to sleep I thought to myself that today would be the first day since Aug 15th that I would go to work two days in a row. When I woke up at 4:45am with huge sneezes and a throat that just didn’t want to swallow and a temp of 99.8 (very high for someone who is normally in the low 98s) I realized that today would, in fact, not be a day for going to work. I called the office and let them know that I would instead be hitting the Dr’s office and I would keep them posted.

I got up at eight so I could make an appointment and then got back in bed for a few hours. I headed to the Dr at 11. I checked my temp before leaving the house and it was at 99.3, still very high for me. The train was so unbearably slow that I somehow managed to end up being fifteen minutes late to the Drs office. It didn’t help that they had also switched floors in the building but that only added another minute onto my commute time. I sat around the office for a little while reading the cursed Red Eye. That paper is like crack, I know it is bad for me but I just can’t stop. Not that I ever have done crack but I have heard stories and I have an active imagination.

The nurse took my temp in the office, it was an incredibly normal 98.6. That is still a little high for me but not at all impressive. I was somewhat disappointed. My throat didn’t hurt as much as it had, my neck didn’t feel like it was in the early stages of Meningitis, and I could kind of speak without sounding like some kind of non-human creature. Why is it that whenever I make it to the Dr I am never as sick as when I decided to go? I don’t think I am the only one who has this problem. I think it is universally experienced. It just isn’t right.

I waited for the Dr and read InStyle. The magazine had a perfume sample in it somewhere and I hoped the nauseating smell would be enough to make me seem sicker when my Dr came in. I don’t think I needed it. She looked in my throat and felt my glands and promptly concluded that I had a throat infection but luckily came in early enough that it hadn’t gotten incredibly horribly bad. Not that my throat wasn’t red and gross, it just could have been worse. She wrote me a prescription and sent me on my way. I shouldn’t be contagious by tomorrow morning so back to work I go. However, Mom thinks that the half constructed office may be the cause of my illness and she may be right. If that building makes me feel worse I am taking home a few sheets of paper and making some calls and that will be that.

1. I went all the way to Paris/ To forget your face/ Captured in stained glass/ Young lives long since past/ Statues of lovers everyplace

2. Baby your magic is working/ I lose control of myself/ Whenever you are near me/ I feel myself changing/ From a guy thought too cynical for love into a hopeless romantic

3. Rush hour/ And the day is dawning/ And the rain came/ And pushed me under the awning. Ani DiFranco, Rush Hour. Identified by Brooke.

4. Let me tell you how it will be/ There’s one for you nineteen for me. Taxman, The Beatles. Identified by Brooke.

5. It was the third of September/ The day I’ll always remember/ Yes I will/ Cause that was the day that my Daddy died. Papa Was A Rolling Stone, The Temptations. Identified by Mom.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007


Things seem to finally be getting back to normal. After my planned vacation I returned to work to hear that I was getting an unplanned vacation because the new office building we were moving into wasn’t ready. We were given three days off and asked to report in Friday the 31st at the new location. On Friday we worked for about half the day because things still weren’t really ready to go. When I came back to the office today I still had no power and no phone at my workstation.

Notice how I said workstation and not office? That is because I no longer have an office. Despite constant reassurances and the fact that my office was on the floor plan it no longer exists because there wasn’t room for it. There are, however, about 8 storage rooms and one empty office. The empty office is, I believe, an overflow area for the executive team to work in when their offices, the board room, and the executive work area just aren’t doing it. When I complained about this in an angry email I got called into the Deputy Director’s office and was told I was unprofessional. Huh. I would have thought it was unprofessional to neglect to tell an employee that they no longer have an office and let them find out when they go to tour the new facility, but maybe I am wrong.

When I came in this morning there was still no power and no phone. I helped unpack some other rooms and sat around until about 12:30 when I left with a co-worker for a nice long lunch. When I got back both the phone and the computer were on. Hooray. That means I can get back to the important things like my job and my blog. I start teaching my Customer Service class again next week. That should be awesome.

Over the holiday weekend my parents were in town for the Chicago Jazz fest. It was a great time. While they were here we listened to good music and ate good food. In fact, we even hit up The Gage where Johnny Yen works but I didn’t see anyone there that looked like him. The food was just as awesome as he says it is on his blog. YUM. It was so great to have them here, even though I just saw them the other week in Minneapolis. I love those guys.

At Jazz fest there were a couple of jerks and I love to talk about jerks on my blog. Jerk #1 was the no smoking lady. While I am a huge supporter of no smoking in areas where there are no smoking signs or where it is socially expected that no one light up, I am not a huge supporter of asking people not to smoke when there are none of those things going on; like at a free outdoor concert in the park. She first turned to some young folk and held up a fake cigarette to her lips while giving them a disapproving wag of the finger. It wasn’t just what she was doing but the way in which she was doing it that made me want to die. After they put their cigarettes out (nice kids because if it was certain folk I know they would have blown smoke in her face or used her head for an ashtray) she turned to a grown man a row in front of her. He looked at her like she had lost her mind so she went to security. The guard she approached was smoking, which was pretty funny. Although I couldn’t hear their conversation the security guard did a lot of shrugging and shaking her head while the lady waved her hands about and looked upset. On her way back the lady spoke to the smoking man again and he got up and left the seating area to finish his cigarette. This leaves me with a question, did she lie to the man or was he just fed up with her?

Then there was the self-important jerk sitting all alone in the row in front of my parents and I. This guy turned to some young people who appeared to be tourists from Japan who were sitting next to us and did the talking motion with his hands at them. They weren’t talking very loud because I couldn’t hear them and I was right there. In fact, my Mom and I had to be talking just as loud. He didn’t say anything to us though. Again, it is a free outdoor concert, get a life guy. Then some kids came and sat in the row in front of him despite the fact that he had five empty seats on one side of him and about seven on the other, he tapped one of the kids on the shoulder and asked if he would trade seats with his shorter friend so that this guy could see. The kicker is that they moved. Maybe I am an ass but I would have looked at him and said, “Why don’t you see if your view improves in one of the twelve empty seats surrounding you?” How rude.

To continue with things getting back to normal, here are some songs to guess.

1. I went all the way to Paris/ To forget your face/ Captured in stained glass/ Young lives long since past/ Statues of lovers everyplace

2. Tie yourself to me/ No one else knows/ You’re not rid of me/ No you’re not rid of me. Rid Of Me, PJ Harvey. Identified by Eve.

3. No you didn’t just leave/ I actually kicked you out/ I couldn’t hardly believe that the words came out my mouth. In The Way, Ani DiFranco. Identified by Brooke.

4. I don’t want to wait in vain for your love/ From the very first time I set my eyes on you girl/ My heart says follow through. Waiting in Vain, Bob Marley. Identified by Phil

5. Baby your magic is working/ I lose control of myself/ Whenever you are near me/ I feel myself changing/ From a guy thought too cynical for love into a hopeless romantic