Friday, May 30, 2008

Well Damn

The grass across the street on the new parkway is growing in nicely.

Nonetheless weeds are everywhere amongst the new blades. And when I say weeds, I mean that there are just as many (or more) weeds than grass.

Don't get me started on the seeds that the trees are dropping.

Mt. Carmel's landscape crew cuts the parkway every week so it doesn't look like we live in a third world country.

With the presence of the weeds it doesn't exactly look like we live in a leafy suburb either.

But I find it somewhat ironic that Mt. Carmel is replacing the sod on their football practice field with permanent turf and those of us who live on the "other" side of the fence can't even get a bag of Scot's turf builder put down to prevent the weeds.

The parkways in front of the school on 64th Street are absolutely beautiful. They look like a lush living green carpet. Not a weed in sight.

'Cause being a good neighbor means that you're proactive.

Not treating your neighbors like they're an afterthought.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Act Fast

The 7:15, 8:00 and 11:30 show times for the Sex and the City movie at the Loews 600 North theatres have already sold out.

Can you believe it? The flipping movie is still 7 days away.

If you have any interest is seeing this film on opening day, I strongly suggest that you go to Fandango and hop on the bandwagon.

I'm already planning my outfit.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Right vs. Wrong

Apparently the presence of racism in America is news to some people.

The Opinion Page and this news story in yesterday’s Chicago Tribune seem to underscore this theory.

No shit Sherlock.

It seems that America’s dirty little secret is showing with the continued emergence of Senator Obama’s Presidential campaign.

Meghan Daum’s brilliantly insightful opinion piece cast the privilege of whiteness in a new light.

Apparently being White isn’t what it used to be. And the “wrong” type of White people aren’t too happy about this fact.

Yet among this renewed dialogue on race in our country a few things struck me as I watch this political and social drama unfold.

We all know Chicago isn’t exactly the Mecca of racial tolerance---there’s a reason it’s called the Mississippi of the north.

Frankly, the de facto segregation in this city is difficult to miss.

Nowhere is this segregation in plain view than where people choose to make their home.

And while I’m not trying to piss in the wind about this fact, I find it amusing that it’s the subtle behaviors, utterances and actions that let me know that this country has a long way to go before we reach a true racial understanding.

A prime example is when you live on the south side and choose to have a party; it’s interesting how some people will never ever accept your invitation.

And when I say some people I mean White people.

One of my neighbors and I were discussing this phenomenon while on our way to the Woodlawn Farmer’s Market last Saturday.

Its one thing to think that the whole of the south side is a cesspool but it’s quite another to think that someone you share a friendship or a workspace with thinks that you live in a cesspool.

So in the past, when some people would come to my home and remark about “livability” of my little part of Woodlawn I would reply to them “Where did you think I would live?”

“Livability” equals nice. Or at the very least not as ghetto as one would think.

My neighbor and I both decided that if you don’t want our free food and liquor, screw you.

Not that I’m in a financial position to have a party.

But make no mistake, when I get a job and knock down my credit card debt, I’m gonna have a blowout.

I also noticed an editorial cartoon in the April 3rd-9th edition of The Onion.

In the page 11 cartoon you see two panels----one that’s captioned “America When We Don’t Talk About Race” that shows a rural looking White family (I can’t only assume that from the overalls on the father), a beer mug holding Irishman, a Black man with the word “funky” spinning a basketball on his finger, a guitar playing Hispanic man and a Asian woman standing outside of a laundry.

I don’t have to point out the basic offensiveness of that panel do I?

Truthfully I don’t have a problem with that---I can’t go tilting at every windmill.

But the chafe comes in the next panel titled “America When We Do (Talk About Race)”

Chaos has erupted.

The rural father is in a Klan hood, the Hispanic man and Asian woman are fighting and the Irishman has a broken bottle in his hand.

Yet the image that strikes me as offensive is the one where the Black man has the rural mother by the throat---knife in hand ready for the attack.

Jesus take the wheel.

I’ve been doing this Black thing for a few years and like I’ve previously stated in order to preserve my sanity I can’t go tilting at every windmill.

The trick to being Black in America is brush the slights and insults off your shoulders. If you internalize too much you’ll be on a subway train shooting White people and blaming it on “Black rage.”

You also need a way to release the bullshit that’s heaped upon you seemingly everyday so you don’t blow.

I’m lucky---I have a blog that’s mine and mine alone so I can call it like I see it.

But my point, kind reader is that I always knew that White people took a dim view of us.

And when I say dim view I mean that in a “we’ll tolerate your existence until you step out of your place” type of way.

But at least I know where I stand with the “wrong” type of White people.

I won’t hear how they support diversity yet can’t seem to take a social trip south of Madison Street.

I won’t hear about how they don’t see color or think that racist attitudes are disgusting yet would illustrate a cartoon showing what seems to be the worst of White America’s fears.

Shockingly, to the “right” people race still matters.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Pet Mother

I am clearly a poor excuse for a pet mother.

My cat has ass dandruff.

Those nasty flakes stand out against his smoky gray fur and are causing me considerable angst.

When I googled Mr. Puss’ symptoms it seems that either he’s allergic to something, he’s too fat to reach around and clean himself or I kept my home too warm during the colder months.

So I either didn’t pay proper attention to Mr. Puss, I over fed him or I fried him.

God, I suck.

When money was even tighter a few months ago, I actually bought him crappy, mass produced, low end cat food. Seemingly the flakes appeared overnight.

As I write this post and look at his dandruff, I’m sure the act of giving him a bath isn’t too far off.

Oh joy. Oh rapture.

It’s not enough that I’m practically jingling a cup full of change on the street corner in order to keep a roof over my head, now I’ve got to solve the ass dandruff issue.

Jesus take the wheel.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Don't Forget

Woodlawn's first ever Farmer's Market happens on Saturday the 17th starting at 9:00 AM til 2:00 PM at the Experimental Station located at 61st & Blackstone.

Break out your grocery carts and cloth bags, real food (not Flaming Hot Cheetos) have come back to the 'hood.

You'll recognize me by the loads of fresh flowers I'll be carrying.

Fresh flowers---who knew?

Woodlawn stand up!

Monday, May 12, 2008

Skokie's Come Calling

Yes, the real estate market is in the shitter.

This should come as no surprise to those of you who may have tried to refi or purchase a home in the past 12 months.

Apparently someone forgot to tell the new owners of one of the vintage apartment buildings down the street from me.

I should have known something was up when parking became a little bit easier.

One day the building was full, the next---no one was there.

And then the hammering started.

After a basic search online of county records and the ever reliable Everyblock, I’m relieved to see that the current owners have received the proper permits for the renovations that they’re performing.

There was no way that all of that hammering wasn’t going to attract attention.

Well at least attention from me.

But now the question begs who are the current owners and is the place going to be condoed out?

At first glance, it seems that Astor Properties out of Skokie put the building in a land trust but as we all know, that could be a front for yet another limited liability corporation. I won’t be able to tell you until I take a trip downtown to request copies of the deed and building permits.

But if everything is on the up and up, why haven’t they posted the building permit in a conspicuous place?

Time will tell if this outfit is legit and plans to turn out quality condos or at the very least a quality building.

I’m cautiously optimistic that this renovation will turn out well and add value to our little ‘hood.

I hope that the design of both the interior and exterior stay within the existing standard.

Believe it or not Woodlawn has design standards.

Aside from the people who want to treat our neighborhood like a rubbish bin, I really do live on a pretty block. Most of the 100 plus year old buildings are in reasonably good shape despite years of neglect.

That’s my nice way of saying that I hope the new owner(s) doesn’t paint the brick facade pink and plant huge sunflowers all over the yard.

Don’t laugh, I’ve actually seen that.

Because between you and me it would be nice to see that building’s lawn become a patch of green happiness.

Thursday, May 08, 2008


Since I've been waitressing I've noticed that the more high handed and demanding the guest, the crappier the tip.

And in a seemingly unrelated issue, I saw my developer Carlton Knight in the McDonalds around the corner from my home. At one point we locked eyes and that rage that I used to feel whenever I saw him just wasn't there.

Now both incidents would of sent me into a lather cumulating in a post-a-polooza not too long ago but now---not so much.

Actually, I felt more pity than anger.

As I've plainly documented in the past, Mr. Knight is not the poster boy of responsible real estate development.

Seemingly money is his prime motivator, not producing a quality, safe condo unit.

As for our non-tipping friends, you've got to be missing something in your life if you live to treat the wait staff like your personal serfs and don't adequately pay them for the service they provide.

The upside is that I've lost 8 pounds with all of the running around that I do.

In both cases I've realized that I can be pissed all I want, but the behaviors won't change.

I can only change my reaction.

Now that doesn't mean I'll stop reporting on Mr. Knight's various new and existing real estate developments and legal issues or that I won't remember the faces of crappy tippers.

Oh don't think I won't remember them. Let's just say folks that you get what you pay for.

But it does mean that I won't spend an inordinate amount of time on people who don't give a flying fig about me.

This, ladies and gentlemen, might be a sign of maturity.

Who knew?