Monthly Archives: January 2011

January 31, 2011 – Song 88

One night, several years ago, I heard two of the single greatest sentences to ever come out of other human beings mouths.

Can I get a witness? Song 88.

On this particular evening, I went to see Lez Zeppelin with a friend at the Cubby Bear. Say what? Exactly.

Honestly I don’t really think their name is meant to be anything like a statement, it’s just a funny name.

Not as funny though as Led Zeppelin II. That still cracks me up.

Anyway, I didn’t really think about where we were going until we got there. Smack dab in the middle of Lakeview, steps away from Wrigley Field, to see an all girl Led Zeppelin cover band. Yup, this night had awesome written a l l o v e r it.

When we got there the show room wasn’t open yet so we went to the bar to get some drinks. Everyone in the place had obviously been there for a while watching sports of some kind. We step up to the bar to order beers and this dude, in a classic Chicago accent takes one look at us and says:

“You lesbians here to see the lesbians?”


Later that night, while these girls killed it, and I mean that sincerely (this was before they changed their whole lineup and became kind of a joke about themselves) my friend looks at me and says:

“If there was a Jimmy Page Porno Channel I would just turn to it and wear myself out.”

See ya in hell frat dude. Touche.

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January 30, 2011 – Song 87

I am so ready for this jelly.

Song 87.

Beach or bust babe.

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January 29, 2011 – Song 86

The only way I’ll accept this “New Sign” bullshit is if it officially makes Mister Blake Schwarzenbach (Taurus) an Aries.

Song 86.

“You can look in my palm and see the storm coming.” – Miss Mary J Blige

28 January

No matter how lousy you have ever felt inside, it’s been demonstrated that when a baby smiles at you, you cannot be down or stay depressed.

Your spirits are lifted instantly. It’s contagious.

There’s something about the innocence and purity that intoxicates you, wakes you up, makes you happy. Right now today if you don’t have a baby in front of you it won’t matter.

If you’ve got an Aries around, it’s just as good. Jupiter in Aries with the Moon in Sagittarius is a definite up.

The way you feel after that first zing of espresso.

Aries people are stirring after their seven year sleep and they are rousing other sleepers acting like the harbingers of a cosmic springtime. It’s the first sign of optimism that has appeared like a glowing ember in the cold ashes of what passes for reality.

The Stock Market shows it. It’s the feeling of being alive again.

IS that the end of Pluto in Capricorn? Or does it completely mitigate the tragic consequences of Uranus at 29 Pisces?

Of course not. But can you maybe be cautiously optimistic about a future you were sure wouldn’t be there?

Sure. Why not.

Even while Saturn is retro and things are not moving as fast as you’d like, they are moving.

It’s just as good as if a baby were smiling at you.

Take it while it’s there.

Mister Michael Lutin

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January 28, 2011 – Song 85

Ok. Here’s the deal. An explanation in three acts.

Today, at work, babies asked for it. Next, at Indie Rock Karaoke, a dude I don’t know nailed it. Then, at the bar afterward my friend played it.

1. You weren’t there cause you were in diapers.
2. Your love did the Congress Theater in ’98 justice.
3. You should have been there man.

But the real joke is, a jam like this will live on for another gillion years and will somehow always be younger than all of us minused together.

Fugazi included.

Fact. Song 85.

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January 27, 2011 – Song 84

It’s official. I can not think about this anymore. I must take action.

Lately, it seems like whenever I feel sad or have that lungs full of grief thing I end up in this place that just raises a useless temper in me and makes everything I want in the world seem so grossly out of reach.

Inevitably, I will find myself angrily doing some kind of menial chore having just mentally listed all the ways the world has pulled a real fast one on me.

And in that moment I almost always end up following my thought train to the same dumb place without even realizing it until I literally say the same dumb thing out loud. To no one but the dog.

“Why bring back the best and then not give her anything to fucking do. God damn it!”

Song 84.

So here is my master plan. I have decided I am gonna rewrite the last Indiana Jones movie and then leak it on a website.

I told you I end up at a dumb place.

C’est la vie. Here’s the gist list.

A. It will rule instead of suck.
B. Marion will get to say things besides “Oh, Indy.”
C. She has a daughter, not a son. Duh.
D. It involves The Lost City of Atlantis
E. This might be the best idea I ever had.
F. I will get really famous for my stupid website and they will ask me to write Ghostbusters III instead of just making one that sucks. The third Indiana Jones movie rules. It is totally possible.
G. I am aware that F. probably won’t happen (Claire) it’s a joke.
H. Jokes make me happy.
I. This idea is not a joke however.
J. No refrigerators allowed.
K. If I start saying “What would Marion do?” just fucking go with it.
L. See below. Still my favorite. No joke.

Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade

“You said go betveens dem!”

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January 26, 2011 – Song 83

My friend and writing partner Nicole Johnson is always complimenting me for being “bold”. Like anyone, I have my moments I guess. Tonight we went to see Lynda Barry speak in the amazing Unity Temple because Nicole saw it in the Reader. While waiting in line afterwards she said “I have notecards in my purse. Maybe we could get her to write us something inspirational to hang above our desks.”

I might be bold babe. But you’re the one who always comes up with the greatest fucking ideas. Song 83.

When I was young, probably like 12, I was at the book store with my Mom (see Song 82) and she was letting me browse around for a book. Somehow what I came up with was a book of strange cartoons by Madame Barry called “Down The Street” about growing up in a crazy ass house. The thing that sold me was a panel about being obsessed with her older sister getting her period. It was about sitting in the hallway while her sister listened to “Color My World” over and over again and not knowing what it meant, but knowing that it was huge. What’s funny is that I was thinking the exact same thing about the little book in my hands.

I wasn’t nervous about it at that moment, thank God, because I have always been an easy read. My Mom would have sniffed me out from across the store and the jiig would have been up before it even started. But I hadn’t really seen more than that when I handed it to her. Later, after I got home and read it from cover to cover something about it made me sweat.* There were swears and people smoked and I was convinced if anyone ever saw what else was inside it would be promptly taken away from me. I took to keeping it in an old typewriter box that locked beneath my bed. It was where I kept all of the things I deemed sacred and/or contraband.

I told Lynda this while she was signing our books and she laughed so loud I thought I was gonna die. She then looked at me and said “You are aware that you have just made a writer’s dreams come true.”

That’s funny. I was just thinking the exact same thing.

*After she finished laughing, which by the way was so fucking stellar to hear echoing off the walls of what is probably one of the greatest buildings Frank Lloyd Wright ever designed, she told us a story about a friend of hers who once happened upon a book of Robert Crumb cartoons as a kid. He told her that he knew it was probably bad, but he just couldn’t look away. Eventually he got so nervous about having it he straight up buried it in the backyard.

They don’t call her the Funk Queen for nothing people.

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January 25, 2011 – Song 82

My Mom just came home from a long trip and while she was away she said in an email that she couldn’t wait to read all of the things I had posted. Adorable? Yes. She made me. She has to like me. I mean, she IS my Mom.

One of my favorite things about her is that she is a very normal lady in many, many respects, but at the same time she is also an amazing weirdo. Growing up she would say these random things from time to time as if they were a totally normal thing one might just say and to children mind you. Phrases like, and I’m not joking here,

“She looks rode hard and put away wet.”


“Look it up in your Funk and Wagnalls.”


“I’ve been mostly dead all day.”


“I have to pee so bad my back teeth are floating.”

or, one of my personal favorites,

“A little song, a little dance, a little seltzer down your pants.”

Big surprise I guess that I turned out the way I did. I have spent years trying to get half of the references she would often make. Mostly through such amazing resources such as Nick at Night or Cat Ballou. Although, these days you can just Googlequest up this stuff, if you’re internet savvy.

But for all the times that I must have stared at her with no comprehension of what just came out of her mouth, there have also been things she has said that I couldn’t understand more. Here are two of my favorites.

“Paul Newman is the best looking man that has ever lived.”


“The Graduate is the greatest movie ever made.”

Song 82.

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January 24, 2011 – Song 81

Discussing with the lovely Fatima tonight the completely unnecessary fight that erupted around us the last time we saw each other I was reminded of something a very wise friend of mine said about all of us being in a sort of tribe.

And although we can be somewhat accurately described as a group of “successful fuck ups” there are many other words that also come to mind. One of them is the word “peaceful”.

The gold road’s sure a long road
Winds on through the hills for fifteen days
The pack on my back is aching
The straps seem to cut me like a knife

I’m no clown I won’t back down
I don’t need you to tell me what’s going down

Every once a while a book will get in my way. It always seems to happen randomly and when I least expect it, but possibly when I need it the most. And usually, I can remember exactly where I was in life when it happened.

But I have no idea where this book came from. I don’t remember the first time I read it, where I was or how old I was. I don’t know who gave it to me or if I just sort of found it myself.

It’s as if it was just always there.

Years ago I had this really vivid dream that I woke up in the middle of the night and couldn’t fall back to sleep. I fight it for awhile, but eventually I give in and get up. I find myself in front of my bookcase looking at all of my books. I feel like I am looking for a particular book, one I have read many times before, because in that moment I know that all I want to do is read something comforting. A story that I already know and already love. I’m too tired for anything else. I run my hand down my shelf, touching the spines of my books. And then my hand stops. Here it is, the perfect book. I pull it out and take it to the table.

Just holding this book makes me feel good. It’s like the book knows how much I love it and it shines that right back at me. I sit down and flip through it, randomly stopping here and there to muse over the scenes I find. I know them so well I could almost recite them word for word. I decide then and there that I am going to reread it, from the very start, in it’s entirety, for the one gillionth time. No matter how silly that sort of seems.

I pause for a second and then open the cover so I can begin again, at the very beginning.

It’s then that my whole world falls apart. Somehow, someway, I have never once seen the first chapter. In my dream I am so confused…I can’t figure out how this can this be. I flip around the book again, opening and closing it. I even decide, in my dream, that I must be dreaming. But no matter what I do to wake myself up, it’s obvious to me, that I am totally awake, and yet there it is, as real as me, the first unread chapter.

The weirdest part, is that sitting there, I know that it’s always been there. Right there, where it’s always been.

I am the one who just never noticed. Song 81.

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January 23, 2011 – Song 80

A friend was lamenting the other day about writing a cover letter for a job she didn’t even really want. That idea made me laugh because the only jobs I’ve ever gotten from cover letters were jobs I also didn’t really want. I have fell into every job I have ever stuck with, but one in particular has evolved into a real odyssey, over a decade in the making.

This job has brought so many wonderful things to me…friends, music, laughter and opportunities so far beyond the scope of the position itself it sometimes still seems surreal. But there is one little thing that it brought which has altered not just my daily schedule, but my life, forever. Song 80.

I still remember the day, almost ten years ago, when I went into work at the Broadway Reckless a week or so after Thanksgiving. I had been out of town and had missed a recent development in the life of the manager Henry. It seems that Henry’s friend, who I didn’t know*, was walking his dogs in Humboldt Park when a little black pitbull approached them. This little fella was worse for the wear. He was skinny and his coat was matted. He had several marks on him that suggested he had come from a bad scene, the most obvious of which was the missing ring of fur around his neck. It was pretty obvious he had been tied to something, and for a while. He was collarless, there was no one around and it was cold as shit. So Henry’s friend took him home.

The problem was this dude already had three dogs. He kept him for a bit but it was just too much. He called around but all of the shelters warned that they often have to put pitbulls down. He even tried the pit rescue but the waiting list was miles long. There are many things to be proud of in this fair city of ours, but the amount of abandoned dogs who for one reason or another failed to make the fighting cut is proof there are also quite a few things to be ashamed of too. But, don’t you worry, this is the part where Henry comes to the rescue. He agreed to take the pup home until a proper home could be found. Even though he himself had quite a mess of cats.

I didn’t know about any of this that day however. I just walked into work. And there was this little black pup just hanging out. When I stepped behind the counter he came over to sniff me and so I petted him. Then, very gingerly, he sort of stood up and very gently put his paws on me. I had never seen a dog do that before. I still remember laughing as I said “Who’s dog is this?” and Henry looked at me smiling and said “Heeeee could be yours.”

But in my mind he already was.

*Many, many years later I was walking Levee down Division Street when I saw one of the most bizarre things I have ever witnessed making it’s way down the sidewalk towards me. It was this punk rocky looking dude on a skateboard being walking/being pulled by several dogs. And there was literally a group of kids skipping behind him like he was some kind of Pied Piper. As this crazy parade passed it was impossible not to laugh, it was so weird, like a scene out of a modern day fairy tale.

But suddenly, the whole party posse comes to a halt and this dude picks up his skateboard and comes over to me, dogs and children still orbiting around him. He looks shocked. “Where did you get that dog?” he said. And so I tell him. And smiling ear to ear he says “I always wondered where his home was!” We chatted for a moment or two and then he hopped on his skateboard and the whole crew continued on their merry way.

There’s no such thing as magic my eye.

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January 22, 2010 – Song 79

Since the very first time I heard this song on 120 Minutes it has never failed to lift the corner up for me.

All I need sometimes is a little peak to underneath. Song 79.

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