Jesus Christ or Buddha,
a recurring game
for want of fame
We have to say
we want to know
why we’re even
There will be a time
a simple mime
will explain the game
all to us.
I just hope that
on the way a bomb
won’t up and
By now, the three or four of you and I have been together so long that we can almost tell what the other is thinking. We are in each other’s envelope.
You’re thinking that I’m being lazy again, aren’t you. You know – I don’t have to tell you – that I have been a slacker for most of my 56 years. This is defined as someone who doesn’t really try to control the outcome of a situation.
It could be defined as laying on the couch watching TV when you should be out looking for a job.
It could be defined as putting a trade on and going to bed and hoping for the best.
It could be defined as running a business without a plan, rejecting routine, refusing to write down any goals.
Or it could be defined as you just sit around and wait for what’s gonna happen next. We’re all gonna die anyhows.
In this context, I took a day off from doing the show this morning. Thank you, Dave Kusiak, for filling in. But you really didn’t have much of a choice now did you?
Dave Kusiak grew up in the neighborhood where I grew up. He hung out with my little brothers and got beat up by the neighborhood bully, Joey Chruby. Sometimes I let Chruby mess with little Kooz and sometimes I wouldn’t.
“Cut it out, Chruby. Let’s go throw tomatoes at cars.” That always got Chruby going. He would release the headlock on Dave and we would search for plants. Later, we’d search for other kinds of plants. But as extreme youths, it would be tomato plants.
Mrs. Chihoski had some decent tomato plants behind their garage. And Dr. Mintz grew some on the other side of the willow tree. But the best tomatoes in the neighborhood were grown by a woman, an older woman, who lived by herself and no one knew her name. She drove a Chevy to the store once a week. Other than that, no one ever saw her come out of her house. I don’t even know how she got those tomatoes planted and tended to so surreptiously.
A couple of times Chruby and I got caught for throwing tomatoes. One time, a guy in a Harley Davidson tee-shirt chased us across a dozen yards down to the Little Calumet river. When he caught us, he grabbed Chruby’s arm and said he was gonna “beat our asses” for messing up his Camaro.
“I could bash your heads and throw you in the river and no one would ever be the wiser.”
Since life is made of timing and nourishment, his girlfriend – his braless girlfriend – came huffing and puffing around an evergreen tree just as Chruby and I were gonna meet our demise.
“Hank, cut it out. It’s just a couple kids. Let’s go.”
“You’re f—ing lucky,” Hank said as he threw Chruby to the ground.
There’s a couple things I remember about this incident. One was how thick this guy’s arm was. It was the early 1970s. Not a lot of men lifted weights. You see all kinds of unnatural tree stumps for arms these days. But not then. He must have been a boilermaker, or an ironworker, or a pipefitter. They all have naturally taut arms from carrying heavy shit around the construction site. Electricians don’t have those kinds of arms. Neither do sprinkler fitters.
The other thing I remember was the woman’s shirt was a little wet, either from sweat or the slight mist that was out that night, or both. In an instant, I had a little trouble concentrating on the man yelling and Chruby squirming.
That’s because it wasn’t the woman as a whole that first rounded the evergreen tree. It was breasts then woman. I know that that three or four of you are thinking that these are one in the same. But not in this case. Literally, the breasts rounded the corner and then the woman.
I would figure out later that it was my first experience with a wet tee-shirt contest, and I liked it a lot. There were these pointy pencil stubs in the middle of a tank top mountain range. I couldn’t think of anything else. I didn’t even want to run from the danger. I just wanted to stare.
This has gotten me in trouble a few times in my adult life. Once in a while there’s this crevice above a woman’s dress or shirt line and, for whatever reason, I can’t look anywhere else. My eyes fixate on the entertainment. Time stops. There are no birds chirping nor Borman Expressway roaring. Me and the crevice are one.
In this case, between the evergreen and the chain link fence not too far from the black water of the Little Calumet River, I simply stared at the woman’s chest. It was obvious. I couldn’t help myself. Chruby and I had stolen his dad’s Playboys a few times and looked at the airbrushed variety. But here it was for the first time in real flesh.
“What the f--- you lookin’ at, you little pervert,” Hank said as he huffed away. And with that, he gave me a karate kick to the gut. I fell down, had a little trouble breathing. Chruby kneeled down next to me –
And get this, so did the woman from the wet tee-shirt contest. Dazed, I looked at Chruby. He jerked his head to the side, mouthing, “let’s go. let’s go.”
The woman reached for my arms to lift me up. There they were. These perfect creatures, right in my face.
“Are you okay, little boy. Hank didn’t mean to hurt you.”
It was as if she said it from the end of a long tunnel. Her soft voice echoed. It reminded me of Marilyn Monroe standing on a subway grate. She smelled of oranges and cigarettes. I wanted to take a bite of all of it.
She helped me to my feet. Chruby grabbed my arm and we started running toward the river.
“Let’s get the hell out of here,” Chruby said. “That guy’s crazy.”
Every bone in my body wanted to go back. I wanted to be on the wet ground with those melons in my face, smelling the oranges, looking at the strands of her hair highlighted by a streetlight. The moment was over and I’ve been searching for that perfect mix of danger and sexuality ever since.
…. Enough of that. I took the day off from doing the show. I’m a slacker for that. And I’m a slacker in that I sat down to write a blog entry to the three of four of you about bombs. Instead, I talk about tits.
Robert Deniro got a bomb today. Someone’s mailing these little bombs to prominent Democrats all over the country. The bombs don’t explode. Democrats are blaming the bombs on the tone that is being set by Donald Trump.
Trump took a body punch on it for a few hours. Yesterday, he said we all had to come together as a country.
But you knew he couldn’t’ take being docile for too long. This morning, he blamed me and others –
A very big part of the Anger we see today in our society is caused by the purposely false and inaccurate reporting of the Mainstream Media that I refer to as Fake News. It has gotten so bad and hateful that it is beyond description. Mainstream Media must clean up its act, FAST!
This is where we are at. We are not just a country divided. We are a country that doesn’t have much of an independent media. Really. Donald Trump is right in one aspect – much of mainstream media is left leaning. For whatever reason, as far as I can see it, it’s true.
And there’s the fairy tales of Fox News. This is a propaganda channel for the right. Once in a while they’ll do a news feature about the dangers of saccharine or about overcrowding in Atlanta, but for the most part it’s a mouthpiece for the Republican party.
And MSN is a mouthpiece for the Democratic party. And so is Bill Maher’s show.
And Laura Ingraham, who runs on my radio stations from from 9am to noon, is a shill for the right. And Don Lemon, who runs on TV on CNN every night, is a spokesperson for the Left.
You can go on and on. And we all, whether we want to or not, participate in the charade. So what the hell?
As the three or four of you who read my blog know, I write this not only for you but also for a few broadcasting students at a small liberal arts college on the East coast 50 years from now. I have this vision of a bunch of slackers smoking weed late at night and one of them waves a hand at the internet bubble and up pops my blog.
“Yo, dude, look what I found. There’s this dude from 50 years ago who writes about his life as a radio dude. Pass me the Cheetos and let’s look at this.”
One of them winds up writing his thesis on the role of party in early 21stcentury America – and he quotes me in his paper. One of the women writes about the death of radio. What was it anyways? Did people really punch buttons on their dashboards and listen to JED every morning? What was that like?
I’ll answer that. It was beautiful. Really, it is a beautiful thing to roll out of bed, walk across the hardwood floor in my bare feet, kiss my wife on the forehead and go do a radio show. I stand outside for the first half hour yelling about big trucks – there are a lot of them coming out of the mills – and I try to make sense of what is happening in America.
Which is really hard to do these days. I say that I’m out there trying to make sense out of what is happening in America, from a Midwestern perspective, but really I just like the entertainment. You know that. I’m too much of a slacker to have much of a strong political slant. I’d much rather sit on the fifth level at a Dodger game than go to a Trump rally. I’d rather eat peanuts than hear Biden speak again.
After a half hour of talking in the rain, snow, cold, heat, whatever - I go inside and put on a headset. That’s when I do a real radio show. People call in. We argue. I interview people. We play a ton of commercials. Life is good in the Region as long as WJOB continues the tradition of being good and pure and beautiful.
There is ugliness within the framework of beauty. Yesterday, a guy named Left called in and made some wild accusations about the federal prosecutors over on Hohman Avenue.
If I’m understanding his words correctly, he’s suggesting:
- that the feds had an informant
- that they put the informant up to trying to plant a gun at Lefty’s place
- Lefty’s a felon so that would have meant a bunch of years in jail unless…
- he cooperated with the feds in a sting operation
It’s a wild story. Ultimately, there was a sting operation involving tow operators like Lefty. It wound up with Lake County Sheriff John Buncich sitting in a prison cell for the next 15 years. Lefty says this gun-planting thing happened in 2012. Who the hell knows anymore?
That’s just one of the ugly things that happened on the show yesterday. The attorney general of the state of Indiana beat the wrap on some groping allegations by state rep Mara Candelaria Reardon and some others. It’s an ugly issue. Did this guy get all wasted and start grabbing asses at two in the morning?
We may never know. But a special prosecutor named Dan Sigler interviewed 56 people about it and said there wasn’t enough there there to file charges.
The surprising thing is that he didn’t interview the attorney general himself, Curtis Hill. For this information, Mr. Hill submitted a video as his course final. It’s a weird thing. The Indy Star cries foul.
Hill is an elected official so he doesn't have to play by the same rules.
If you or I faced a criminal investigation, would we be questioned via video?
The answer is no.
Hill was afforded privileges and preferential treatment that any ordinary citizen would never receive.
This is the kind of thing that goes on in America these days. Not only do ugly things happen – or allegedly happen – when we go to clean them up, things get even uglier.
Aha, there is a bright spot. It makes for good radio. As soon as Ryan Walsh turns on the microphone, it all gets real. And for Curtis Hill, Joe Biden, John Buncich, Donald Trump, George Van Til, David Capp, Judge Moody and the rest of the cast of characters –thank you for providing material for my morning show.
There is something I want to get back to. Amidst such division, what is my role? What do I tell the stoner broadcasting students 50 years from now about what is my – and ultimately their – responsibility in such an atmosphere.
We are divided.
Our media is often biased.
Where do I as a media person fit in?
For this and all my sins, Father, I am heartily sorry – but I have no answer. I just ride my bike or drive my car down to the Purdue Northwest Commericalization and Manufacturing Excellence Center and I start talking. Afterwards, I go work out and then I hang around the stations acting like I run a business. In the evenings, my girlfriend and wife of 30 years (they’re the same person) walk around Wicker Park looking at a golf course and all the people speaking different languages. Every once in a while there’s a deer along Hart Ditch. That’s a really big deal.
In the evening, I search to relive that moment of danger and sexuality, with a Mexican. It’s a beautiful radio life. It really is. But somehow I feel as if I’m falling short. I should have an answer for broadcasting students at a small liberal arts college on the East coast 50 years from now. But I just don’t. See ya.