Essays, Interviews, Observations, Pop Culture, Stories, and other Dodginess

Booze Liquors

Posted on March 2, 2020

While in Champaign at the University of Illinois, Aidan and I decided to stop at one of our favorite places to buy alcohol. 

Booze Liquors. That’s it. That’s the name. Booze Liquors with a sign above the door that said just that but in between the “Booze” and the “Liquor” was a characterization of a drunk man in a top hat with a big shiny red nose. 

Our old friend Kentoff still worked there. But now he ran the place. We knew Kentoff from making beer runs there in college. His dad, who owned the store, died six months ago and left it to Kentoff. 

We tried to shorten “Kentoff” to “Ken” but he would have none of it. Sometimes we would call him Jackoff because we were young and drunk and stupid and thought it was funny and sometimes it was. Or it was a joke back in the fraternity. 

“I’m going back to my room to Kentoff.” 

Kentoff had a droopy, sniffling face to go along with scraggly hair and faded, sweat-stained baseball cat. He looked like a guy who was still sad and pissed off that his garage band never made it big. 

“What the fuck are you chodes doing back here,” he greeted us. 

The place had changed in just the last few years. No more black and white antenna TV that Kentoff’s dad could watch as he rang up your sale on a vintage cash register with big keys that stuck out an inch. Kentoff may not have changed his look, but he sure changed the look of Booze Liquors (thank God he left the sign, however). 

“I couldn’t get that fucking sign down and wasn’t gonna pay some fucker to do it,” he said. “Daddy always liked that sign anyway, and so do I.”

Kentoff had expanded the beer selection, including many craft and imported beers that his dad refused to stock when he owned the joint. 

“It’s mostly stale piss but the market calls for it,” he said. 

We all stood and stared at each other for 15 seconds. Depeche Mode’s “A Question of Lust” came on. Aidan and I put down our beers and danced together while Kentoff watched. 

After that we paid and walked out as Aidan told Kentoff that we had a plan to brew at the old bar we were going to try to get going in Chicago. 

“Maybe we’ll name a beer after you,” Aidan said. 

“No we won’t,” I said. 

“Yea, maybe I’ll name my ass after you,” Kentoff said. 

“The market calls for it,” Aidan said.

 

The Dodgy in Panama City Beach

Posted on March 14, 2019

Panama City Beach sunset

Been taking a break writing and editing the book, and took a break from that by visiting Panama City Beach with Mosquito (featured on this site in various posts and also in the book). That pic above was taken from the balcony of our hotel room.

Panama City Beach – only about a 13 hour drive from Chicago. Quickest way to the ocean by vehicle from the city.

Often referred to as the Redneck Riveria, here is Urban Dictionary’s definition: The most beautiful beaches in the world. Sugar white sand, gently washed by an azure sea. Home of the best spring breaks, water parks for the kids, tattoo parlors, beer joints, crab shacks, burger barns and tee shirt boutiques. Plus more beach trash and trinkets than you can imagine. There are high-rise condominiums with beautiful drunk skinny girls on each floor. 

Well, here is my take on a late January visit. Definitely some nice beaches, and barely anyone on them due to brisk weather (heavenly compared to Chicago, however). I actually prefer my beaches this way. Sweatshirt weather. And not filled with throngs of asshats on a 95 degree day.

Yes on the tattoo parlors, beer joints (though not many on the strip as far as I saw), crab shacks, burger barns and T-Shirt boutiques. However, a lot of the beach clothing stores/gift shops were closed until March. One of the diviest dive bars I’ve been too is there called Donovan’s Reef. Plenty of Miller flowing, a transvestite doing karaoke, smoking allowed (and preferred) and TV screens showing the latest battle in motor-cross.

Also did not see any of the described beautiful, drunk skinny girls on balconies. I didn’t see much of anyone at all. Believe it or not there is a trailer park right on the strip, but it is also next to one of the best eateries there that I would highly recommend (I’m not the only one).
Moe’s Original Bar B Que reminded me of some of the better joints in Austin, Texas. Oh look here is a pic.

moe's_original_bar_b_que

We stayed at the Legacy Hotel and the free breakfast, while free, wasn’t breafasty enough so we headed across the street the top notch Great American Diner. Get the breakfast buffet. Enjoy the toast and the friendly waitresses.

No photos for this recommendation, but definitely check out Great White Pizza in Pier Park, a strip with a lot of restaurants, gift shops and even a Ferris wheel.

I’ll leave you with some Panama City Beach photos, including some nice night shots. Cheers.

The Louisville Hugger

Posted on October 18, 2018

I visited Louisville a few weeks ago.

The last time I was there several years prior our band U.K. Grief played a show at a dive bar that goes unremembered. But it was where we debuted a new song there, “Pretty Little Johnny.”

We went bar hopping after the show and discovered The Louisville Hugger. She was about the age of Courtney Cox when “Friends” ended and wore a brown leather jacket, loose green pants and blue heels. Long scraggily brown hair covered the parts of her face that weren’t already hidden by large sunglasses.

She called herself The Louisville Hugger. She would go around offering free hugs.

She had one of those little Louisville Slugger souvenir bats they give you at the end of the tour at the city’s famous baseball bat museum. After hugging my friend Mosquito, she took the small bat and rubbed it between his legs.

During that incident she showcased a wide toothless grin which made the scene more interesting.

The Louisville Hugger shadowed us to another nearby bar. While Mosquito and another band member talked her up at the bar, I went to the bathroom where at one of the urinals was a pissing man who started burping loudly. Indeterminate fluids  spewed from his mouth with each burp. He laughed and burped and pissed and farted. I hightailed it the fuck out of there.

“You’ve heard of cotton mouth? I’ve got cotton ass and a bad case of it.”

That was what I heard The Louisville Hugger telling my friends as I returned to the bar.

She left us, a drink in one hand and the tiny bat in another, apparently targeting someone else’s genitals.

Back at the hotel room I could not sleep because of Mosquito’s snoring. He sounded like a sick animal. A pig in distress. After going to the bathroom and seeing Mosquito’s tighty whitey underwear stacked on the toilet tank, I decided to crash on the floor in another room where my bandmates were.

The room was near the elevator, which opened as my groggy bandmate Franz let me in. I looked over and The Louisville Hugger was crouched inside, with her bat. As the elevator door closed she put her tongue between her fingers and called me “a fucker” and finished her crap.

I didn’t sleep well that night.

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