Thursday, May 31, 2007

Almost June

Back in December, I had a legitimate offer on my dad's house. I asked the attorney for Chase Mortgage if they would consider a short sale - taking less than the balance owed - to avoid the forclosure process. No answer. Even when I got the offer up to where Chase wouldn't lose a dime, the attorney wouldn't respond.

The foreclosure went forward, and the Sheriff's sale was scheduled for May 17. My real estate agent got involved, and found out that Chase would have taken the short sale back in December if only their attorney didn't have his head up his ass.

After jumping through several hoops, I'm very happy to report that Chase allowed us to sell the property and stave off foreclosure. Someone at Chase advocated for us, and the small loss they took (actually, if you back out the 'penalties', they made about $1500 more than was owed) was a lot less than if the property had gone to foreclosure.

One less thing off my plate.

I spent 2 1/2 hours cleaning the house after closing. I wonder what my brother was doing for the six months he was living there rent-free? Certainly not cleaning it, that's for damn sure.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Happy 62nd, Pete!

One can't acknowlege the birth of Pete Townshend without citing one of his most famous lyrics: 'Hope I die before I get old'

With that cliche out of the way, Happy Birthday, Pete!

In 1986, Artist James and I found ourselves celebrating Pete's birthday on the campus of Kent State. While having lunch at the Wendy's in the recently-built student union, we asked a coed if she had any appreciation for the Kent State massacre.

"Well, we get that day off of classes", was her reply.

Just in case you forgot about Kent State

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Moral Dilemmas

Jerry Falwell, we hardly knew ye.

I am resisting the urge to take one last cheap shot at him.

Will he be greeting with choirs at the pearly gates, or will he find himself on a parkbench in hell?

If I were the Almighty, I'd be flipping a coin right now.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Into the Wayback Machine, Sherman!

A while back, I signed up to take online surveys for the Chicago Tribune. I acculmulate points for each survey I do, and after awhile, I earn a $30 gift card from To me, it's like free money.

When I have 'free money', spending it is an agonizing process. What to buy, what to buy? My taste in music is stunted. It is hard for me to stomach anything that is 'new' and 'hip' today. I'm a big fan of singer/songwriters, and that genre is not that popular anymore. I decided that with this purchase, I would get something that I had on vinyl, but need on CD.

As a teenager coming of age in Pre-Bust Houston in the late '70's, I discovered Jimmy Buffett. This was LONG BEFORE the "Parrot Head" era that has made him a wealthy man. My first Buffett album was "Son of a Son of a Sailor", which was the follow-up to "Changes in Lattitudes...", which was a big seller. Along about the time I could drive, I also bought "You had to be there" a live double-album that became one of my biggest musical influences.

Back then, I was the first kid on my block to buy a 'portable stereo system' (which later became known as a Boom Box). It was a Sony, and it was pretty nice. Because my 'car at the time' didn't have a working radio, I used the box, wedging it between the console and rear seat on the hump of my '72 Cutlass. We could drive to Galveston and take the box with us on the beach. Looking back, I think my parents would have freaked out if they realized the kind of traffic we drove through to get from the FM1960 area of north Harris County down to Galveston Island. Right through downtown Houston at 85mph....and then at 15mph on the way back home in traffic. Learning to drive on IH-45 and 610 Loop made me a fearless driver.

Anyhow, "You had to be there" was what we listened to. I don't think we understood half of the drug references, but we sure knew that everyone was having a great time at the show, and someday we'd be able to get drunk (or high or whatever) and understand what all the excitement was about. We learned all the Buffett songs, and my friend Dan and I would later go on to great fame as the 'Bohica Brothers Band'. (Our luck with girls was so bad, we'd just say Bend Over, Here It Comes Again).

So from the time I was 16 or 17, it was my life's goal to become a guitar player in the Coral Reefer Band. Remember, this was before all the steel drums and grass skirts and shit like that. Not that there's anything wrong with's just a different world now.

Way back then, we'd drive up to College Station to see Buffett on a Thursday night, then see him at the Summit in Houston on Saturday. Later, in college, we'd see him at CS and then run over to Austin for the next show. I remember the weekend of March 6 1982 with great fondness (6th row seats in Austin) because that's when Lori decided that she liked me.

That copy of "You had to be there" had a life of its own. All my friends borrowed it to listen to and tape. On at least 2 occasions, I was given new albums due to some misfortune the lent-out copy suffered. I had it in college, but lost track of it. Either my roommate ended up with it, or it was stolen when I blew the engine in Marshfield, MO in Dec 1983 and had to leave the car there (all my clothes and stuff was stolen out of the car while it was being fixed).

So I bought "You had to be there" with my Amazon gift card. It arrived last weekend, and I listened to it in the car (as it should be) all week. It took me back to a happy time in my life. A time when all I wanted to do was play guitar, drive to the beach, and wish that some girl liked me.

I get all the marijuana references now.

Jimmy as I remember him

Monday, May 07, 2007

Life gets better

My son celebrated his first communion Saturday, and we had most of the family over afterwards for a cookout.

As I was flipping burgers, Artist James called from Texas to tell me that his brother in-law David (who lives up here in Flyvover country) told him some very important news. The kind of news that that I would leave Christ himself waiting on my front porch to hear.

Shiner Bock is now available in Illinois!

As much as I wanted to hang up the phone immediately and drive to any number of suburban Chicago liquor stores right then and there, I decided that the Corona I bought (it was Cinco de Mayo afterall) would have to do.

The next day after completing a round of golf, I actually ran into David, the brother in-law, and he confirmed where he was able to buy Shiner Bock.

At 1:10 CST today, I bought a 12 pack of Shiner Bock.

I think this is the lord's way of telling me that the worst is over, and my life will start improving.

I'm taking my 12 pack home now so it will be cold around 8:30 tonight. I'll only have one.

Moderation in everything.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Not my idea, but damn fine, anyway

I read this during Gene Weingarten's weekly chat yesterday. I wish I would have thought of it.

Our pal Cho stalked a couple of gals on the Va Tech campus. When caught, he was urged to stop and sent back to his dorm.

If he had plagerized his poems and plays, he would have been expelled.

Isn't it sad when a blind eye is turned to harrassing women, but plagerizing (yes, a serious offense in academia) receives its own form of capital punishment.

It's May, it's May, the lusty month of May...

Here in northern Illinois, we are starting our annual 3 weeks of Spring. T.S. Eliot was correct when he wrote that April is the cruelest month. Afterall, it is supposed to be Spring in April, but we usually get our last snowfall around the 10th, and if we have a day above 60 degrees, we celebrate by removing all of our clothes and running naked in the streets.

Okay, we don't run naked in the streets. But I have a list of neighbor ladies who I wish did.

Three weeks from now, it will be oppressive hot. Not for me, mind you, I spent many years in Texas, but for everyone else it will be too hot, too humid and just too much of everything.

I pride myself on not complaining about the heat. In fact, I think that accepting the heat adds to my street cred. It increases my cred when it comes to complaining about the cold, anyway.