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

Depeche Mode Came To Town

Posted on June 29, 2018



On June 1 Depeche Mode cleared out the stink in the United Center that was left over from the Bulls and Blackhawks.

I had a good time at the concert. For the most part I was fine with every song the band played, but I as always I wish they would dig a little deeper. How about “Only When I Lose Myself.” Let’s hear that one for a change.

I told my neighbor, Ms. Weregun, that I went to the concert. If you’ve read some previous posts, you know all about her. Especially from the one titled “Ms. Weregun.”

Ms. Weregun reminded me of something I’m not sure I wanted to remember. That time she danced on the bar at Mickey’s Tavern in Bucktown to “My Joy” – a scampy and wonderful Depeche Mode B-side that I wish they had performed June 1.

I spent a lot of time at the concert looking at the row behind me. I thought my ex-girlfriend Angela was there, about seven seats down. I noticed, while Dave Gahan was shaking his ass, that this girl danced like Angela, smiled like Angela, and drank beer like Angela.

She looked a little taller than Angela, but her jawline was straight up Angela. From my vantage point I could not tell, however, if she developed the same crooked eye that Angela did after drinking several beers.

At a point in the concert I stood in line to order a $12 beer, I recalled that Angela didn’t seem to care for Depeche Mode. While eating french fries during “Personal Jesus” I remembered her preference for Latin dance music.

If it was Angela, I wanted to dance with her like we did at my friend Strob’s party in Pilsen. That dance with her was sensual and yet stupid. The song was “Armies of the Night” by Sparks. Then I watched her dance with a girl named Comisa who had a T-Shirt that read “I Will Keel You.”

It made me remember that Angela used to call Depeche Mode’s grungy hit “I Feel You” by another name – “I Will Feel You.”

Depeche Mode did not do “I Feel You” on June 1 at the United Center. And had it been their final song of the night, Angela (maybe) was already gone.




Chicago’s Smallest Bathroom

Posted on April 1, 2018


Chicago’s smallest bathroom may be at a no-frills neighborhood BBQ joint on Granville Avenue in Edgewater.

And getting to the bathroom at Sam’s Chicken & Rib is an experience in itself.

I visited Sam’s one recent late night with a friend who ordered food to go.  I asked the kind man behind the counter if there was a public bathroom. He pointed to a door in the corner of the small dining area. Expecting to walk through the door and into a bathroom instead exposed the kitchen and back area of the restaurant. Just like in “Goodfellas” I made my way through the kitchen past a few workers doing their thing. I exchanged short pleasantries with them and was led to another door in the corner of that room.

I could not immediately find the light switch because it was placed on the opposite wall and a little higher than your usual switch.

This bathroom with its green glow is tiny. It reminded me of an apartment I had in which the bathroom was so small your knees practically hit the sink while sitting on the toilet. In fact it was about the same size minus a shower stall.

After I did my business (No. 1, thankfully), I walked back through the kitchen, nodding to the workers as I met up with my friend and got our food. I don’t know if they let everyone use the bathroom but I was thankful the kind man at the counter allowed me too. It reminded me that I have several Chicago bathroom experiences (don’t we all), which will be the subject of an upcoming post. Cheers. And remember, if you use the bathroom at Sam’s Chicken & Rib, the light switch is on the opposite wall. And even though I didn’t need it, by the looks of it they keep a lot of toilet paper rolls in there, right on top of the toilet. Don’t get your right foot stuck in the garbage can.

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The door that leads to the bathroom via the kitchen at Sam’s in Edgewater.


March Madness Selection Sunday for Sirius XM

Posted on March 18, 2018

With the new Jeep I purchased in September came a one-year free subscription to SiriusXM.

I finally decided to hold my own “Selection Sunday” for channel favorites and scanning. Quite a few channels didn’t make the cut.

I may be one of the few SiriusXM listeners to delete the Beatles channel. Channel 18. You’re gone.

Also not making my cut are the following channels: Elvis, E Street Band, Grateful Dead, Tom Petty, Jam Bands, Jimmy Buffet and the country and blues stations.

Also gone are the 50s, 60s, and 70s channels. I kept the 40s one although I never listen to it. It’s difficult to find anyway. I also dumped that 80s hair rock channel. No Cinderella for me.

I was going to keep the 70s channel in the chance I’d hear Olivia Newton John’s “Hopelessly Devoted to You” but I nixed it. There is a special place in my heart for the song (“You have a heart? You deleted the Beatles channel!) since my friend Heather dedicated it to me in a her killer karaoke session awhile back.

Also gone are the Christian music stations, or any religious station for that matter, and Yacht Rock. In the rear chance I’m on a yacht, it is probably stolen. And I’d more likely to be listening to Ministry then something called Yacht Rock. Give me something called Battleship Rock.

My Final Four presents include 35 XMU New Indie Rock, 173 The Verge, which is similar to XMU, and Howard Stern 100. I’ll also either have channels 8 or 9 up there (80s and 90s) or 33 – 1st Wave.

On my computer/laptop and phone the SiriusXM app has a lot more channels. One I listen to is Cinemagic – film score music. Still waiting on some John Carpenter on that one. SiriusXM could also use a Depeche Mode channel.

This past weekend was mostly set to channel 28 The Spectrum because they were playing a lot of Irish punk rock because of St. Paddy’s Day.

As for traditional radio, even though I’m in a major city like Chicago, local station suck. If not SiriusXM at home or in the Jeep I’ll be tuned to Minnesota’s The Current or Radio Free Santa Fe.

Why Chicago doesn’t have great indie/rock stations like those is beyond me.


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