Tomorrow night's the Grateful Dead show at Soldiers Field and I'm scheduled to take Alexis and the two daughters to the show and for some reason I'm a little queasy about that. I'm a dad, a husband, softball coach, local radio host, the fun uncle, mentor.... And then there was this other life before all of this. Grateful Dead, Berkeley, Greek Theater, Alpine Valley, Watsonville, Ashbury, Barrington Hall, the cooperative. It's like I'm taking a step back in time and my wife and daughters are gonna get a glimpse of what once was and I'm not sure how I feel about that.
Either that or it's just a concert. Listener Lane stopped by yesterday with a garbage bag full of Grateful Dead tee-shirts that he found in his attack. I picked out two. One's a tie-dye and the other highlights Europe '72. I'm not sure which one I'll wear or if I'll just opt for the standard purple polo. I told that story on the air and I'm sure a few people turned the channel after that. Go listen to the podcasts if you're that interested.
But then at 8:30am US congressman Pete Visclosky is coming in to the studio. This is a curious one. Typically, for some reason Visclosky doesn't often come live in to the studio with me. I don't really know why. Maybe we don't ask him enough or maybe his office knows that I sometimes take the stance that after a while politicians who have been there for a long time should be challenged. Pete's been in office since 1985 and it's 2015. Gimme a break already. Somebody take him on. In the end, it'll make Pete better, sharper, have to hone his game. It'll make whoever challenges him better, know how to run a campaign. But in the end nobody challenges him. And also in the end, Pete's doing a he's doing a pretty good job so there.
It's just that there's a beginning, a middle and an end to everything. And if you stretch out the end - without anybody ever challenging you - then it's stagnation. Or repetition. Or worse... a dynasty. You get the picture. If I say that on the air and then mention powerful people like Pete Visclosky and Lake County prosecutor Bernie Carter never getting challenged... then you get the picture. Those two don't really come on the show that often. At least not with me alone.
It's not that Pete's not doing a good job. He really is. You can tell he works his ass off. I even visited his office in Washington, DC, on a trip with friends a few years ago. And he was completely cordial and the only real thing I wanted to sense - and that's what I am, a senser - is if he worked his ass off or not. You know, people sometimes get lazy after a couple of decades... and I wanted to sense if that was happening to our congressman.
Not a chance. He's a workaholic from Gary-Merrillville and that's never gonna change. One thing I did notice, though, is that he has set up roots somewhere near DC. I met his son once at a fundraiser led by Joe Biden, who's a lot taller in real life than he appears on TV. Maybe that's because he stands next to Barry Obama, the former Oxy student, all the time. Obama must also be taller than he appears on TV.
Anyways, I met Visclosky's son, started talking to him, and the thing that struck me is that I didn't even know that he existed. No shit. He grew up outside DC somewhere and didn't really have much to do at all, it seemed, with his dad's district back home. That struck me as curious. I don't know why.
(Hey, JED, does this same line of thinking apply to radio hosts who sit in the same seat for a helluva long time? Hmm. Let me think.... Probably.)
... Time to get up and do a radio show. And then come up with a marketing proposal for a local union. And then get ready for the Grateful Dead show. It's not until tomorrow but I found a really cheap hotel room at the Congress Hotel so we're going up tonight. I want to take pictures and talk to DeadHeads and see if there's any interviews I can do to use for the show. There's a bunch of shit going on in Chicago, including a Grateful Dead exhibit at the Field museum, and I want to record some of it for posterity. Which is what this blog is all about, you know. For posterity. I know and you know that nobody really reads it. I don't even tell people that it's here.
My wife jokes a lot - oh, you gonna save that for your blog that nobody reads and your photos that nobody sees?
She wants me to post on Facebook and Twitter and get involved in that whole scene. It's just not me. I don't know why. I'd much rather type away here in anonymity and post pictures that nobody sees (and do an AM radio show that not a lotta people listen to? No, that one's not true. You know that. I go to the grocery store and every time I run into someone who listens and thinks they just ran into a minor celebrity. Give me that much)
So radio show, marketing proposal, gather all my cameras and audio recorders and lenses and microphones and backup batteries. GoPros. Don't forget the GoPros. There's gotta be some DeadHeads who are worth recording. There's gotta be.