Tag Archives: trainspotting

Wednesday, May 20, 2015 – Inbound – trainspottingChicago

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Good morning. I’m on the 7:30AM into the City. Its a chilly day for Late May in Chicago. The NF index is 3.

The train just left the station, but the intrepid commuters, who believe that they will reach their destination faster if they were in the lead car versus a comfortable seat a few cars back, stomp through the train as if climbing Everest. If the wheezes and grunts are any indication, Suburbia needs a lot more cardio training.

I am seated in my usual spot in the second train car. My back is facing the firewall separating this half of the compartment with the center-located exit doors. I am in a “jump seat”, flaked by three other commuters and facing the travelers.

The fellow across from me and to my left is a late-thirty-something Desi fellow who reminds me of a dark complected clean shaven Will Wheaton of Star Trek TNG fame. He is well connected. His white iCrackerBot is precariously placed on his lap. The cell signal radiating from the device is slow-broiling his right testicle. He fingers that device while playing with a thin, black iNebula touch screen computer, that he balances in his left hand. All of this high powered wireless entertainment is connected to his head with a large Bluetooth enabled headset. I’ve been hearing stories nowadays. Perhaps he’s an air traffic controller on the clock?

To my left and facing the crowd with me is Tiger Woods. He’s on the phone, reading eScriptures, as part of his personal atonement and to help him get back on top of his game.

Henry Winkler, the train conductor, came by to collect fares.

Also here are Christina Aguilera, a mullet headed Chuck Norris, Chris Evans, Chris Pine, and Paula Dean. All are armed to the teeth.

When the mood takes me, I’ll post.
Happy Wednesday to you.
Safe travels.

Friday, April 24, 2015 – Inbound – trainspottingChicago

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Good morning.
I’m on the 7:55AM into the City, after just missing the 7:30AM. Happy Friday to all.

It’s been awhile since I have posted about the comings and goings on the train. Lots of changes happening for the commuter set.

The train is less crowded. This could be due to more telecommuting opportunities. This train is one of the later express trains, so many of the hard working commuter set are packed in on the 7:30, or the very intrepid 7:15 expresses. Or, perhaps the GOP candidates are right. All of that exciting talk of new job growth isn’t translating to mid-level admin, systems analyst, residential home loan account representative, or civil engineer job. Perhaps that growth is in the retail side?

I’d take some time and look at the Bureau of Labor Statistics data, but I’ve got papers to push and contractors to stare down, so I’ll leave it up to WSJ and Bloomberg to sort out.

Well, enough about my random thoughts.

Roger Sterling is here. For those of you unfamiliar, he is the head of the Sterling Cooper advertising agency, documented in the show Mad Men. Our real life version on the train has the stark white hair, but instead of a cutthroat CEO, our Mr. Sterling has a more professor emeritus look about him. The hair is unkempt and has taken on a mid-90’s David Bowie sort of form. The furrows of  his face are spot on like John Slattery’s Sterling. Our man has glasses with the strap, so when he takes them off, the specs hang like a necklace. He’s reading the paper and doing the crosswords. I think he’s going to go to the office, fire and intern and head to Ruth Chris’ for a liquid lunch.

A Desi version of Sheldon Cooper from The Big Bang Theory is here, seated three seats back. Balding head, thick glasses big ears, the man is seated, with fabulous posture, and either meditating or asleep. The only real difference between our man and Sheldon is our man’s milk chocolate skin tone.

Also here are Issac Asimov, Stephen Chu, Stephen Fry, Molly Ringwald, and Anil Kapoor. All are armed.

Happy Friday
Safe travels.

January 28, 2015 – Homeward Bound – trainspottingChicago

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Good afternoon. I’m on the, now legendary, 3:58PM out of the City. In my old stomping grounds – first car just behind the engine. I’m in my favorite jump seat, facing the crowd.

I got here a bit early so I could catch this seat. I’m hoping some of the old regulars will show up.

Caucasian Barack Obama is here. The young, handsome fellow is seated where I last left him, up on the second floor row of seats. His valise or backpack is on his lap. He has no earbuds on, so I am guessing he’s on his iCrackerBot, finishing off some work related correspondence. It’s possible CBO is ordering Indian food, as his doppelganger, the President of the United States, is finishing up his tour of India. It would be a happy coincidence if both got a slight bit of indigestion over some chicken tikka masala. A multiracial, international, Maalox moment.

Speaking of coincidence, my absolute favorite fellow commuter just got on the train. For those of you who have forgotten, Dr. Jeckyl-Hyde is here – the Joe Torre looking fellow who talks to himself on the ride home. His mouth moves, but no sound escapes him in mid-self-rant. He is currently reading a commuter newsletter put out by the rail authority.

He’s aged a bit. The hair that was once a brownish blonde is now more gray than brown. At least he still has most of his hair. I am practically unrecognizable after almost a year, with less and less on my head.

Oh. Benched War Correspondent is here. He’s casually looking over the other commuters, nodding his head in disgust. With the Coalition forces mostly out of Iraq, and the December 31 pullout of Afghanistan, BWC has be regulated to covering the pre-2016 primary pre-parties. He can’t believe that the 114th Congress got in with nothing more than 33% of the electorate voting, and GOP leaders are calling this “a referendum” or that the “American People have spoken.” No, they haven’t. It is in part due to the ennui of politics itself and the lackluster selection of representatives. BWC goes back to his novel about a a pair of unknown reporters doing the groundwork investigations that ultimately unseat a corrupt official. You know….fiction.

Dr. Michiu Kaku of CUNY is here, reviewing a manuscript about global warming data. As expected, and accounting for every known control and theoretical outcome, and using repeated trials by different laboratories and repeatable model structures, the compilation of amassed knowledge points to the overconsumption of resources by humans as the probable cause for recent increases in atmospheric CO2 levels. Unfortunately, there are too many syllables in that last sentence for policy makers and wonks to finally understand that this can cannot and should not be kicked down to the next congress/president/poobah. He is banging on the laptop, trying to rewrite his byline, in the hopes that Sen. John Thune (R-SC), Rep. LamarĀ  Smith (R-Tx), and their respective staff will learn something about what’s happening in the nonpolitical world around them.

Oh. Here we go. Dr. J-H has finished reading his newsletter, and after staring out the window, decides to discuss the recent gathering of GOP nominees in Iowa earlier this week. His far-right persona can’t say enough about former half-Governor Sarah Palin, and how she is the perfect candidate to go up against Hillary Clinton. He doesn’t care about what the leftist media and the “supposed far-rightish Fox News” thinks of Sarah Palin’s chances, he got exact what she was talking about when she was on that podium on Saturday last. He stops, mid rant, and smiles. I do believe his far-right personality has a crush on the Woman of Wasilla.

His center right personality kicks in, just as the train pulls into the first stop. “Nonsense”, mouths this side of him. Who can be sure of a Hillary win? The current President won, twice! The first time, he beat a younger Hillary! What’s to say another (heh) dark horse doesn’t swoop in to run. How about Cory Booker? What if Condi Rice switches sides? We can’t call her on Gulf War 2, cause we supported that conflict!

He stops. He’s tired.

Also here are Christof Waltz, Louis CK, and Lance Armstrong. All are armed.

Happy Wednesday. Safe travels.

January 28, 2015 – Homeward Bound – trainspottingChicago

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Good afternoon. I’m on the, now legendary, 3:58PM out of the City. In my old stomping grounds – first car just behind the engine. I’m in my favorite jump seat, facing the crowd.

I got here a bit early so I could catch this seat. I’m hoping some of the old regulars will show up.

Caucasian Barack Obama is here. The young, handsome fellow is seated where I last left him, up on the second floor row of seats. His valise or backpack is on his lap. He has no earbuds on, so I am guessing he’s on his iCrackerBot, finishing off some work related correspondence. It’s possible CBO is ordering Indian food, as his doppelganger, the President of the United States, is finishing up his tour of India. It would be a happy coincidence if both got a slight bit of indigestion over some chicken tikka masala. A multiracial, international, Maalox moment.

Speaking of coincidence, my absolute favorite fellow commuter just got on the train. For those of you who have forgotten, Dr. Jeckyl-Hyde is here – the Joe Torre looking fellow who talks to himself on the ride home. His mouth moves, but no sound escapes him in mid-self-rant. He is currently reading a commuter newsletter put out by the rail authority.

He’s aged a bit. The hair that was once a brownish blonde is now more gray than brown. At least he still has most of his hair. I am practically unrecognizable after almost a year, with less and less on my head.

Oh. Benched War Correspondent is here. He’s casually looking over the other commuters, nodding his head in disgust. With the Coalition forces mostly out of Iraq, and the December 31 pullout of Afghanistan, BWC has be regulated to covering the pre-2016 primary pre-parties. He can’t believe that the 114th Congress got in with nothing more than 33% of the electorate voting, and GOP leaders are calling this “a referendum” or that the “American People have spoken.” No, they haven’t. It is in part due to the ennui of politics itself and the lackluster selection of representatives. BWC goes back to his novel about a a pair of unknown reporters doing the groundwork investigations that ultimately unseat a corrupt official. You know….fiction.

Dr. Michiu Kaku of CUNY is here, reviewing a manuscript about global warming data. As expected, and accounting for every known control and theoretical outcome, and using repeated trials by different laboratories and repeatable model structures, the compilation of amassed knowledge points to the overconsumption of resources by humans as the probable cause for recent increases in atmospheric CO2 levels. Unfortunately, there are too many syllables in that last sentence for policy makers and wonks to finally understand that this can cannot and should not be kicked down to the next congress/president/poobah. He is banging on the laptop, trying to rewrite his byline, in the hopes that Sen. John Thune (R-SC), Rep. LamarĀ  Smith (R-Tx), and their respective staff will learn something about what’s happening in the nonpolitical world around them.

Oh. Here we go. Dr. J-H has finished reading his newsletter, and after staring out the window, decides to discuss the recent gathering of GOP nominees in Iowa earlier this week. His far-right persona can’t say enough about former half-Governor Sarah Palin, and how she is the perfect candidate to go up against Hillary Clinton. He doesn’t care about what the leftist media and the “supposed far-rightish Fox News” thinks of Sarah Palin’s chances, he got exact what she was talking about when she was on that podium on Saturday last. He stops, mid rant, and smiles. I do believe his far-right personality has a crush on the Woman of Wasilla.

His center right personality kicks in, just as the train pulls into the first stop. “Nonsense”, mouths this side of him. Who can be sure of a Hillary win? The current President won, twice! The first time, he beat a younger Hillary! What’s to say another (heh) dark horse doesn’t swoop in to run. How about Cory Booker? What if Condi Rice switches sides? We can’t call her on Gulf War 2, cause we supported that conflict!

He stops. He’s tired.

Also here are Christof Waltz, Louis CK, and Lance Armstrong. All are armed.

Happy Wednesday. Safe travels.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015 – Inbound – trainspottingChicago

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Good morning.

I’m on the 7:48AM express, which should have been the 7:28AM express, but was “delayed due to mechanical issues”. The NF Index is two.

Its been awhile since I’ve posted, and I felt that I am doing myself a disservice by having a blogspot but not providing meaningful, or at least updated, content.

The crowd is older. The median age of the commuters in the rear quiet car is at least 52. Extrapolating this reasonable observation, I surmise that the commuter rail customer is aging rapidly.

For example, Cher is here. The superstar diva analog has dyed, jet black hair that, although washed and conditioned, is arrayed as if she just woke up from a night of passionate lovemaking and, using her hands and fingers like a shampoo commercial, set her hair about her head like she just doesn’t care. Her black, brand named faux-fur coat is accented by a white cougar print scarf. Did I say cougar? I meant leopard.

Speaking of powerful women, Gloria Steinem’s stunt double is here. This doppelganger of the powerful woman’s activist is tired, napping on the train as it sways to and fro. Her hair is cut shorter than the actual GS’s hair; more of a Rachel Green look from the second season of Friends than the long, Rachel Welch from Barbarella that Ms. Steinem was wearing at the series finale of The Colbert Report.

Also here are Chris Elliot, Etta James, a bald Liam Neeson, Moriarty from the BBC remake of Sherlock, and a Desi version of Anthony Quinn. For the sake of Liberty and security, everybody is armed.

Happy Tuesday.
Safe travels.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014 – Inbound – trainspottingChicago

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Good morning. I’m on the 7:50AM into the City. The NF index is 2.

I’m sitting in the rear “quiet car” in my favorite place. The crowd is entertaining themselves with a mix of smartphone broadcast options and a fair number of printed books. Real books! Hmph. That’s so retro!

A primarily Caucasian crowd. The fellow in the way-back window seat, across the aisle, reminds me of a young Andy Garcia from the Untouchables. He’s reading a beefy novel in hardcover format.

Jacques Cousteau just sat down across the aisle and one seat over. Our famous fisherman analog is in gym shoes, a faded pair of jeans, a down black coat and a beige colored striped scarf. White, black and red stripes.

The fellow who sat next to me on the train is a Bears Fan, or at least has a Bears ski cap on to keep warm. Greg hoodie,  lack slacks, leather jacket. He’s in his early to mid fifties. His charcoal colored beard, and its a full but manscaped beard, is reminiscent of Michael Gross’s character on “Family Ties”. He removed his hat and is completely bald. Any hair that was on his head was shaved to the skin, and a faded patch of new hair now grows there like a shadow. Bearded man is a fidgety fellow. He was very keen to find a seat on the mezzanine to sit, but all those seats are full. He has an older model iCrackerBot with a fluorescent green, clear-plastic ” turtle shell” cover. His hands are very hairy. A WASP Saddam Hussain.

Also here are Taye Diggs, Rod Steiger, Ron Kittle, Chow Yun-Fat, and Paula Dean. All are armed.

Happy Holidays. Have a wonderful Wednesday.
Safe travels.

Thursday, October 9, 2014 – Inbound – trainspottingChicago

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Good morning.

I’m on the 8:30AM into the City. This blog is coming full circle.
I started this travelogue two years ago, on advise from two dear friends of mine. One was a literary magazine editor in am past life; the other is a financial reporter. They both saw my original Facebook posts about my train rides as “Studs Terkel-ish, everyman observations” and convinced me, at a college homecoming in 2012, to move the effort to the blogosphere.

Now, I’m on a commuter train inbound to Union Station to catch a connecting Amtrak train to my Alma Mater. One of the realizations of that 2012 visit was that my wife and kids noticed a new energy from me. A spring in my step. So, since 2012, I’ve been taking a four night, three day “constitutional” every October. Today is the first day of this year’s annual pilgrimage.

I can’t help but notice that this is an off-peak, “cattle car” train, which makes more stops (every stop?) along this line. I am used to the constancy of the express trains, where once you are on, you can’t get off until the end of the line.

Sitting two seats in front of me is Conan O’Brian of talkshow fame, except that this fellow is 92 years young. His once Scotch-Irish jawline is now jowled. He didn’t shaved today, so there’s a rugged look about the wrinkles around his mouth. He is aurally fixated with his iCrackerBot, in that he is connected to the device via ear buds. He does not look inspired by the media feeding his eyes and ears, as it is evident he is watching a video.

Behind him, there is an Indo-American fellow who looks EXACTLY like Luther Vandross from the 1970’s, complete with a jet black coif of hair, a trimmed mustache and a good watch. He’s wearing a brown leather jacket. Luther Singh is asleep, his bejeweled hand in a fist so as to balance that tired, but gorgeously groomed, head in rhythmic slumber.

I will blog some more from the Amtrak. Also here are a Gandhi, Golda Meir, Margaret Thatcher, Reese Witherspoon and Lou Ferrigno. All are armed.

Happy Thursday. Safe Travels.