Things to be bummed about

At least it's been sunny and the temperatures are rising, and we'll have longer days. Because a few things have gotten me down as of late:

  • So I'm finally catching up on news this week, and reading through the paper, learn that state's premier Elvis impersonator, Tom Green, has died. Actually, according to the Journal-Sentinel obit, he died a week ago; somebody paging thorough death certificates must've come across his at St. Luke's.

    Quick flashback to all those times when I saw Green, either being Elvis, or just being himself with that lovely operatic voice. I remember thinking, "Elvis Impersonators, dime a dozen," until I saw Green. You could tell the man loved Elvis, loved channelling Elvis, and not as parody, or cheap imitation. And nobody in this town could sing the National Anthem before a sports event like Tom Green.

    It's so tempting to say "Tom Green has left the building" but I'm so genuinely sad about this that it's no time for snotty (and unoriginal, to be sure) jokes. Save that for his tombstone.

  • The Jewel store at Howell and Oklahoma was sold to Sentry. First off, I loved Jewel primarily for a reason my other Jewel-loving friends may not share with me: Jewel was my little piece of Chicago, just a few blocks away from my house. They carried Scala Italian Beef in the deli. Tabatchnick frozen dinners in the freezer. According to Wikipedia, 80% of all Chicagoans are in a Jewel at least once a month, and so any minute I was expecting Cubs paraphernalia to be sold right next to the "Green Bay Football" sweatshirts. (Dontcha love how they got around having to pay royalties for the Packer's registered trademark?). But there was something about our Jewel that my Milwaukee born-and-bred friends loved. It wasn't trendy and never tried to be. You want organic food? You want obscure ingredients? Jewel was NOT for you. Jewel knew there were plenty of other niche places, (and knew this better than Pick N Save, that's for sure). People who are hardcore about BGH-free milk are going to Outpost or Whole Foods, they're not going to Pick N Save, and they're certainly NOT going to Jewel. So Jewel didn't even try to have shelf space for it. Jewel did have a great deli, with your meat sliced to order (which kept it fresher longer) and you know people loved that because now everybody slices deli meat to order. And who didn't love the giant reach in freezer with this week's meat deal? When was the last time you bought a whole beef tenderloin? I'll tell you: when it was $2 a pound in the Jewel meat deal freezer just across from the deli, that's when. I know, under what scary biological and chemical conditions did $2 a pound whole beef tenderloin get produced? I don't know, but as Rick Lisko of Fond Du Lac said about his seven legged transgendered deer meat, "It was tasty."

    Where did you get those resin lawn chairs for your spring party? At Jewel, where they were five for ten bucks that one day last winter. Where did you get your own deep freezer? At Jewel, where it came with a gift certificate for $300 worth of meat to put in it! Where did you get those hideous but functional tiki torches? Where did you get those atrocious light up Christmas lawn ornaments you so ironically planted in front of your house? Where did you get those off-brand "beanie babies" you stuffed in last years' easter baskets? Jewel! And the union employees who worked there were such a refreshing change from your regular bitter grocery store employees. They had a clue about customer service and they didn't hate their jobs (or at least, they didn't act like it). I have a friend who has custody of his four year old daughter every other weekend. Ever since she was a baby, part of their ritual was to go grocery shopping at Jewel every week, to the point where she misses it if he doesn't need any groceries. Everybody at Jewel knew them, and it was almost the old neighborhood store to go there. I hear this story and I'm really sad, because I know its not just me. We all loved our Jewel, and we're going to miss it, even if we're not all ex-Chicagoans. And what are we getting in it's place. A Sentry. A regular old Sentry, with the smell of overcooked broasted chicken wafting through the entire store and employees that never seem happy. Maybe I've just lived near too many crappy Sentries -- that dingy one at Oakland and Locust, the downtown one (where Pick N Save Metrosexual Market is now) with the rude help and the expired milk, that really raspy one on South Howell. They have some proving to do for me, especially since they're replacing my little part of Sweet Home Chicago.

  • If you work in IT, and specifically, if you're on a help desk or you're an Exchange Administrator (and if you work in IT at all you even know what an "Exchange Administrator" is), thanks to that extended Daylight Savings Time, it sucks to be you. What genius at Microsoft thought it would be a good idea to HARDCODE daylight savings time dates into Outlook (and by extension, Exchange) for the next ten or so years, given our energy issues and our wonderful administration? At least with Y2K we had ample warning. Can't we just make this go away by blasting Pauly Shore and Courtney Love off to outer space?. And then, I get to get up Monday morning in the dark again. Ugh. Don't get me wrong, I love DST. In the summer when I can sit on the patio with drinkie poos at 9 pm and still watch the kiddos wear themselves out to the song of crickets. But right now, all that extra hour of sunlight in the evening is going to do is piss me off that it's too cold to go out and play. Oh well, I'll get the bummer of delayed morning darkness out of the way early, I guess.

So I'm probably going to hang with my friend MJ tonight with the kids, and mourn Tom Green, Jewel, and my IT colleagues' frayed nerves. Brian's going to see Fu Manchu at Vnuk's this evening, a show he's been looking forward to for quite some time. Fu Manchu? Here's how heavy they are: the cover Blue Oyster Cult's "Godzilla" even slower and sludgier than the original but without succumbing to Cookie Monster vocals to do it. They're really good; we just couldn't get a sitter for the night. I've asked Brian to file a report tomorrow. History shows again and again how nature points out the folly of man, eh?


a.c. on the d.l. said…
V'ron, it's amazing that you not only recall these institutions (whether they be Tom Green or Jewell), but put the recollections into words, with color & aroma.
You must realize, then, that you do so for others who have these memories in the recesses of their minds. And for those who don't, your vivid prose lures them in.

P.S. You knew that Sentry was bought by Roundy's, then sold to Sendiks, right? Just like Kohl's, I believe. Big fish eat the littler ones & so on..

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