Category Archives: PM – Evening Commute

Monday, September 8, 2014 – Homeward Bound – trainspottingChicago

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Good afternoon.

I’m on the most favored 3:58PM out of the City, in the front train car just behind the locomotive. You may have noticed that I haven’t been talking about the morning trains recently. I think that pattern is due to a bit of laziness on my part, coupled with a habit of keeping abreast of the weekend current events and associated satire, as I travel into the City. I will make a point to report my observations about the inbound folks in De course.

It’s a lightly populated train car this afternoon. Jay Cutler is here. He doesn’t seem disappointed in the three point loss to the Buffalo Bills in yesterdays Season Opener. He, like me and many of my friends, were pleasantly surprised that it was only a three point loss. The loss, this time, can be squarely attributed to the three interceptions (nowadays called “turnovers” like the savory puff pastry) deftly executed by Cutler.

Our man pulls out a pack of menthol cigarettes, but quickly puts them back in his pocket, realizing that he can’t smoke on the train without reprisals and media scrutiny. He falls asleep to the rhythm of the train, reliving every open receiver he could have hit to instead of their defensive backs.

Dr. Jeckyl-Hyde is here. He’s talking to the back of the head of the young, Telly Savalas looking, bald fellow seated in front of him. J-H is a little miffed about the state of the GOP.

On one level, it looks like the GOP will take back the House and win over the Senate. Happy days are here again, right? In the name of the American Family, they can repeal the destructive healthcare law that just doesn’t help average Americans. They can finally shut Elizabeth Warren and the Dems about profiting from Student Loans. After all, everyone knows Government should act more like Big Business. What better way to generate profit to reinvest in the debt reduction?

Increase sending rates to banks? asks his RINO personality, to the row of hair growing along Kojack’s neckline in front of him. Are you crazy? retorts Far Right, to the same hairline. Do you want to encumber growth? Stifle job creation? Kill the American Dream? Have we lost our minds?

He looks out the window to his right, contemplating that last question, in silence.

Also here are Clive Owen, Freddie Prinze Sr., the Hong Kong money launderer from The Dark Knight, and Rita Rudner. All are armed.

Happy Monday. Safe travels.

Friday, September 5, 2014 – Homeward Bound – trainspottingChicago

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Good afternoon.

I’m on the 3:58PM out of the City. I am sipping a beer as I ride the train home. A rare indulgence. Fat Tire, out of Colorado, and in keeping with my morphology, if you were curious.

I did a rare thing today. I took a photo, earlier, of a co-commuter. It was her hair, which strangely reminded me of 18th Century France during the time of Le Roi, Louis XIV. I have made all attempts to highlight the hair while masking the persons face. Quite frankly, I cannot tell from this distance if it is a later middle aged woman of Mediterranean extraction, or Chief Judge Antonin Scalia in drag. Here’s the manipulated photo.

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I love her hair. In the train car, it is the most natural and distinctive visual stimulus available. Well…the first stimulus, at least.

Speaking of visuals, there are two women chatting, some five seats back. The one on my left, aisle side, is very pretty. Probably late thirties, kids in school. Her friend is a bit older, early forties, growing gracefully into middle age. Window seat has bigger cheeks, a larger but not unhealthy frame, curly blonde hair.

Aisle seat is an elf by comparison. Kristen Bell with more angular features and brown hair. She reminds me of an unrequited college crush I once had. Aisle’s aura shines with power and stability. Very cool.

Dr. Jeckyl-Hyde is very quiet. His far right self is probably brooding over the Ukraine-East Ukraine-Russian peace negotiations and how its conveniently happening as President BHO is in the Baltic for the NATO summit. His far right side will perk up saying “the US had nothing to do with it”, while his RINO is countering with ” We have roughly 5% of the US population just two generations away from the Ukraine and the Baltic States. We have military bases within pissing distance of Ukraine’s western border. No, we had nothing to do with that.” He looks out the window, contemplating the sarcasm in his own head(s).

Also here are Benched War Correspondent, young Chuck Norris, Woody Allen, Rosa Parks, Hank Greene, and Ally Sheedy. All are heavily armed.

Happy Friday. Safe travels.

Friday, September 5, 2014 – Homeward Bound – trainspottingChicago

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Good afternoon.

I’m on the 3:58PM out of the City. I am sipping a beer as I ride the train home. A rare indulgence. Fat Tire, out of Colorado, and in keeping with my morphology, if you were curious.

I did a rare thing today. I took a photo, earlier, of a co-commuter. It was her hair, which strangely reminded me of 18th Century France during the time of Le Roi, Louis XIV. I have made all attempts to highlight the hair while masking the persons face. Quite frankly, I cannot tell from this distance if it is a later middle aged woman of Mediterranean extraction, or Chief Judge Antonin Scalia in drag. Here’s the manipulated photo.

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I love her hair. In the train car, it is the most natural and distinctive visual stimulus available. Well…the first stimulus, at least.

Speaking of visuals, there are two women chatting, some five seats back. The one on my left, aisle side, is very pretty. Probably late thirties, kids in school. Her friend is a bit older, early forties, growing gracefully into middle age. Window seat has bigger cheeks, a larger but not unhealthy frame, curly blonde hair.

Aisle seat is an elf by comparison. Kristen Bell with more angular features and brown hair. She reminds me of an unrequited college crush I once had. Aisle’s aura shines with power and stability. Very cool.

Dr. Jeckyl-Hyde is very quiet. His far right self is probably brooding over the Ukraine-East Ukraine-Russian peace negotiations and how its conveniently happening as President BHO is in the Baltic for the NATO summit. His far right side will perk up saying “the US had nothing to do with it”, while his RINO is countering with ” We have roughly 5% of the US population just two generations away from the Ukraine and the Baltic States. We have military bases within pissing distance of Ukraine’s western border. No, we had nothing to do with that.” He looks out the window, contemplating the sarcasm in his own head(s).

Also here are Benched War Correspondent, young Chuck Norris, Woody Allen, Rosa Parks, Hank Greene, and Ally Sheedy. All are heavily armed.

Happy Friday. Safe travels.

Thursday, September 4, 2014 – Homeward Bound – trainspottingChicago

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Good afternoon.

I’m on the 3:58PM out of the City. I have decided to re-inhabit the first car, behind the engine, and hang with my favorite co-commuters.

Unfortunately, my absolute favorite spot is being occupied by a sleeping Vince Vaughn looking, drunk, thirty something fellow. He sleeps with his left hand tucked far into his pant waist. Far far into is pant waist. Now, I am unsure if his drab green, loosely fitting pocketed T-shirt was originally white. His not-hip, scruffy, un-jump-worthy, barely AirGazan (TM) gym shoes add an overall effect of high-functioning seat usurper.

I’m really not supposed to be on this train. I got caught up finishing off work I didn’t want to do. Some of it my boss tried to do, but couldn’t complete it in part because he recognizes that I have better language skills for official letter.

I give good …. diplomacy.

On Thursday’s I try to get on the 3:18PM because I have to get home and take my children to after-school math club. The club/tutoring is about twelve miles (~20km) from my house – all local traffic – about a forty five minute drive. We have to get there at 6:00PM. Getting home early gives me a chance to wash up, change into comfy clothing, and otherwise prepare for parenting after being in business mode.

That didn’t happen today. The curve ball in the game of day-to-day living. The good news is that, after chatting with my wife, she said she called the tutor and rescheduled the math class due to the previous long weekend. I’m home tonight. Good.

Not as good as the stylish Chris Tucker looking fellow, who is on his cell phone and, like the fast talking comedic actor, has not stop talking on his iCrackerBot since the train cleared the station.

He is a property manager for a large property development group, in charge of residential clients in low-to-mid level housing. He is chatting with a coworker or a colleague about Section 8 housing, a lapsed renter and what to do next. He may be a lawyer. After discussing the business issue, he goes back to chatting, incessantly, about a wedding he is attending and the drama happening around and about him.

I am sitting such that there are at least four or five sleeping heads blocking my view of Dr. Jeckyl-Hyde. This annoys me to no end.

Octomom is here. She is seated across from Chris Tucker and is seated next to an attractive, Laura Kightlinger looking woman. Both women’s legs are crossed daintily. Very “Real Housewives of the Western Suburbs” potential here. Lots of friendly chatting, but Octomom is totally gauging Laura’s  “backstabbing friend” quotient. I am not really sure if there is a metric, but a veteran “Real Housewives….” fan knows that there’s always one Housewife, in every location, that is doing the calculating.

Also here are Kirsten Dunzt, Harry Belefonte, Will Forte, Harvey Keitel, and Chris Rock. All are armed.

Happy Thursday. Safe travels.

Monday, August 26, 2014 – Homeward Bound – trainspottingChicago

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Good evening.

On the 5:00PM out of the City. My sons just had their first day of school. Fourth grade. New school. I will go home and, although I still have a ton (the literal definition) of stuff to clear away, I will instead suppress the urge to Facebook (used as a verb), Twit, Tumbl, or Pinter my children’s post-newskool experience.

Later, the more memorable reporting will be shared. Fans of the Speed Racer & Racer X fan club will share,, partially, in my experience.

Enough about the dog days, except that, the start of school is by far my favorite time if the year ever since I was a young student. Why? Possibilities.

I am not used to these people. In that, my sons and I had a similar experience today. My experience is temporary. This train is a true express; it travels from downtown to the tertiary stop along the line, then the penultimate (my stop), then bypasses the terminal end and goes straight to the yard to be rerouted back into the City. In short, I don’t have much time to be as detailed about my observations as I can be (or have been) in other posts.

I have dubbed the 5:00PM the Orient Express. In other train cars and at other times, I am an infrequent  commuter of Indian Subcontinent origins. This train reverses that trend. About 60% of the commuters in this car are from India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, China, Japan, Vietnam, Korea, Nepal, and even Myanmar and the Philippines. As this isn’t a Quiet Car, there is a cacophony of Telugu, Tamil, Mandarin, Viet, Korean, Urdu, Arabic, and Tagalog interspersed with the mix of Minnesotan-Swedish English drawl, mixed with fourth – generation south side Chicago Irish trill, and highlighted by some southern twang (Georgia?, Texas?, Mississippi?). Anybody “afraid” of urban life can find a place of belonging just by following the sounds of free speech.

All that exposition has put me at the Pretty People train stop. In gotta go. Present for your contemplation are (in no particular order), four orcs from Mordor, a retired Daley-machine precinct captain, a Desi version of Mos Def, Larry David, and Alfred Pennyworth. All are heavily armed.

Happy Monday. De La Soul is not dead.

Safe travels.

Monday, August 25, 2014 – Homeward Bound – trainspottingChicago

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Good afternoon.

I’m on the 3:58PM out of the City. I’m in the front car. I missed the old neighborhood enough that I came back to it. All my old friends are here.

For example, Clive Owen is seated two seats over. His temples have grayed since I saw him last, but he looks as handsome as ever. He is, as usual, fixated upon his iCrackerBot, which he is tethered using the proscribed earbuds provided by the manufacturer, as opposed to a high end, mini-subwoofer augmented, air traffic controller certified set of noise isolating headphones. Pfft. He’s such a Philistine! How can he expect to have an all inclusive, three dimensional, polyphonic immersive experience with a simple set of rural Chinese made plastic ear wax removers? Rube.

Benched War Correspondent is back. He’s been at the office e since 4:00AM, going over the influx of police brutality claims, both video-recorded and witness-corroborated, in the hopes of understanding the cultural reasons for this surge of excessive enforcement procedures. He’s looking out the window, contemplatively. Is it possible, in the name of “infotainment”, the Fourth Estate has contributed to the elevated fear of non-white folk?Is the acceptance of, and open publication of, rhetoric reminiscent of Jim Crow? Is he wondering about the effects of publishing leading questions instead of real facts?

(See what I did there?)

Dr. Jeckyl-Hyde is here. I love this man. He is my muse. I used to be in an academic/sociological, Louis Leakey like observer of our Homo sapien polysyllabus friend, but now I have embraced his eccentricities from afar. I understand how he uses books and printed material to keep him from “riding the window ” into silent , self satisfying exposition. I feel that this blog is a digital manifestation of what Dr. Jeckyl-Hyde demonstrates on a daily basis. When he is busy, or engaged in reading, or has a date (yes, I’ve seen that!), he comes of as an affable, likable, engaging conversationalist. When alone, with nothing to engage his mind, he turns inward, staring out the train window as less of a snapshot of a moving landscape, but a blurry dysfunctional mirror by which to speak to the only reasonable person he trusts, to figure out the chaos of the world he experiences or perceives.

My hero.

Also here are a bald John Lithgow, Spike Lee, Adam Savage, Dr. Billy Geer, and Carl Sagan. All are armed.

Dr. Who for me at 9:30PM tonight. Movie theater. No date! Somebody has to watch the companions and keep my TARDIS from disappearing, while I check out the latest iteration of the Doctor.

Happy Monday. Safe travels.

Friday, August 22, 2014 – Homeward Bound – trainspottingChicago

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Good afternoon.

On the discombobulating 3:55PM out of the City. I’m in the historic first car, in the jump seat so that I can see everything. My back is to the diesel engine pulling the thirteen car express away from the City and out to the suburbs.

Discombobulating because it’s been awhile since I’ve seen my absolutely favorite co-commuter, Dr. Jeckyl-Hyde. The Joe Torre look alike is looking fantastic. He just sat down and is reading a pamphlet or newsletter.

A bit of history for the three newcomers to this blog. Dr. Jeckyl-Hyde is a late-fifties or early-sixties aged man who has the strange habit of talking to himself out loud, but silently. Oddly enough, the people around him never seem to notice or acknowledge this singular, public behavior. We’ll come back to J-H in a bit. The train is still at the station. We have another five or so minutes before we leave.

Benched War Correspondent is here. Again, the fellow looks like an amalgam of Tom Brokaw, Stone Phillips, and Anderson Cooper. He looks like he’s much more comfortable in khakis and riding the roof of an interregional train in India or South Africa than as a commuter in the Midwest.

After the death of James Foley, he is not skittish, but antsy to get back out and report on ISIS, the Bashir Al Assad government in Syria, or even tension in Nigeria over Ebola. He looks at his cell phone, thinking, “I should be in Ferguson, or L.A., or looking for the missing girls in Nigeria, or somewhere, anywhere but here.”  BWC looks out the window with sadness and frustration. I half hear him humming “Somewhere Over The Rainbow” as the train pulls out of the station.

Oh. Speaking of being somewhere else, the movement of the train has Jeckyl-Hyde kicking into full debate mode. He is looking out the window and whispering about something. His center-right, or RINO voice, has started with a question to his far right Tea Partied mind about the continued unrest in Ferguson, MO, just Northwest of St. Louis. He is trying to explain how the actions of one police officer have opened up a local problem, a problem that is an allegory to the ongoing racial tensions across the country.

The tea started boiling back in J-H, who is getting more animated at his reflection in the window. (Actually, it’s pretty bright outside, so whatever he sees are shadows of the commuters across the aisle reflected in the window.) His far right voice is equally frustrated at the residents of Ferguson. Why gather? Why riot? Why destroy property? He immediately understands that the officer used excessive force. Far right even understands how poorly local and state government has handled the aftermath, at least as presented in all the media outlets (the liberal left and the fair-and-balanced shops).

Why can’t all folk just follow the rules?

He fell silent – or at least stop being animated. I think because he just realized something. He realized that the shooting some seven days ago of Michael Brown was an example of government using excessive force over an unarmed citizen. This is, of course, the very same argument that the NRA uses in defending the Second Amendment of the US Constitution. If government takes away guns, then we citizens can’t defend ourselves agents an oppressive government. Given that logic, why haven’t the NRA advocated for the citizens of Ferguson, who are protesting peacefully, to instead take up arms against an oppressive government entity like the Ferguson Police, as the Second Amendment and the Founding Fathers intended?

“To secure these [inalienable] rights [to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness], governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed… Whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles, and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness.” –Thomas Jefferson: Declaration of Independence, 1776.

He is staring out the window, unmoving, silent, contemplating how he has quoted Jefferson, the Deceleration of Independence, and key bits of the Constitution, but only in the abstract and in the safety of his own reasoning. When legally and logically applying these “unalienable rights” to an actual event and the aftermath, it’s amazing that the USA hasn’t had a more violent history of government regiem change.  He closes his eyes, and shivers.

Also here are R Kelly, Slats Grobnick, an Accardo hitman, Mary Louise Parker, and H.R. Haldeman. All are armed.

Happy Friday. Safe travels.