So Taguchi's House of Super Fun Time

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Umbrella Man

Metrolink, Friday 4:53 pm:

SO, in a pouring rain. A 40-ish crazy-eyed man boards the train (shit, I am NOT going to rhyme this entire entry).

His huge golf-sized umbrella (hey,hey,hey - under my umbrella - hey,hey,hey) is still open and he attempts to close it OR he might have been showing it off to the rest of us, "Look at me! I'm somewhat dry in large part due to my massive canvas elliptical shield."

As the umbrella finally reaches a partially closed position, the train lurches forward and the man, off balance, goes flying backwards. As it happens, an Asian doctor from Stanford was next to me. Now, usually Asian doctors from Stanford and I do NOT get along. Beware, their Kung fu is strong, VERY strong. I smite you, Asian Stanford Doctors (henceforth, ASDs).

HOWEVER, this particular fine day, myself and the ASD joined forces to save wayward umbrella man. SO, when last we left this story, umbrella man was flying horizontal through the train. (Don't you miss Brock-abrellas? I do.)

As I was SAYING, as umbrella man is floating in slow motion through the train, ASD and I form a forearm web by joining wrists (I TOLD you the ASDs Kung Fu is strong) saving dork-abrella from certain death.
So, what was his reaction? Did he express gratitude for our fast reflexes? Was he humbled by his close encounter with a metal train pole?

Um, not so much.

His (kinda) verbatim response: "We try to make every other country like ours and THIS happens? What if I had a baby in my arms? It would have landed way back there! I wish I HAD gotten hurt. I wish I DID have a baby in my arms. No, I don't wish that. I don't wish any harm on any baby. " He then repeated various forms of this screed louder and louder until he got off in two train stops.

I was speechless - I would have settled for a simple thank you. OR perhaps an offer to allow me to shove his fucking oversized golf umbrella (hey,hey,hey) up his ass, open it up and twirl him like a party favor.

His invective about making every other country like ours was especially confusing. Train drivers in Bangalore are obviously a much more sensitive lot - they start their trains very gradually so that their slightly inebriated passengers keep their balance. That is, until IBM and HP and United Airlines starting outsourcing their operations out there. THEN, the train drivers over there went all Crazy Train (aye,aye,aye) stopping and starting so quickly that their umbrella laden passengers started going all Mary Poppins through the jungle, just missing holy cows and pissing off the Hindus.

Goddamn you George W! Now you are pissing off Muslims AND Hindus. We don't want any part of a Hindi jihad - mark my words.

Friday, April 18, 2008

UndergroundSTL, Vol I

Ok, occasionally I'll be posting these nuggets when I come across some signs that we live in a Real City and not a Big Suburb. Thanks to the sexy, talented, smart, nimble, bruised Betha W. for letting me temporarily steal her idea.

So, have you have been to Cheokee St lately? Not saying you need to purchase a beat up typewriter or other knickknacks, but there are a lot of cool digs that way. Starting with the Mexican food joints - La Vallesana, Garundo's and where we ate - Taquiera Bronco. If you have ever been to Mexico, this is the kind of food that instantly transports you back there.

As you eat the small tortilla tacos with hot beef, pork, cilantro, onions, etc and the 1 Liter Mexican size Coke bottles, you can close your eyes and remember standing on a back street somewhere in front of a small taquiera stand, a purple turtle squatting next to you speaking in tongues - note: don't try the brown acid in Mexico.

Further West on Cherokee is a new print shop, All-Along Press, 3155 Cherokee. Very neat-o spot that has the feel of some college kids playing around with new found printing equipment. A bicycle in the window powers one Rube Goldberg-y print contraption. The items for sale are good fun - a dead bird cartoon printed on a hand bound notebook? an RIP Easy E memorial tote bag? Check and check.

Finally, the wine bar "33" in Lafayette Square is a swell way to the end the evening. The clientele and vibe vary widely from night to night.
Some impressions:
- Glass bubbles hanging from ceiling in a sparsely decorated shotgun space.
- Local Lafayette resident reading a Powerpoint presentation on her laptop one late afternoon on the Neo-Conservatives role in a post-9/11 Middle East.
- a few pretentious couples getting their annual drink in the Big City before heading to the Michael Buble show at Savvis.
- The owner, Jake, humbly giving a breakdown comparison between his Semillion and Sauvignon Blanc to a lawyer and his wife.
- A wine menu that dedicates a paragraph or so of entertaining reading for each of the dozen or so current 'by the glass' offerings. So entertaining, in fact, that patrons frequently lift said menus. To what end, I can't imagine (Honey, re-read me the part about the Gruyere paired with Cabernet. That shit is hysterical.)
- Typically, the patrons are a good mix of people you like with people you can make fun of - what more can you ask for.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Scenes from Chicago Midway on a Saturday morning

* A 40-something mother in a tracksuit sips her Bloody Mary as her 15-ish daughter wearing Daisy Dukes and fitted oxford shirt aimlessly kicks her sandal against her chair. If this were "Pop-up Video", a bubble above her head reading "Jailbait" would follow the daughter down the concourse. The daughter stares blankly at the flat screen tuned to WB. She suddenly perks up and coos, "Look Mom, it's a Tom & Jerry cartoon." Very cute. I check the airport bookstores for a Nabokov tome for her, but only find Ann Coulter screeds. I'm searching for a Lolita/lollipop line here, but I'm starting to creep myself out.

So, in the words of Real Sports' Bryant Gumbel. "Let's move on."

* I'm digging these new cushy SWA seats in the waiting area - fully equipped with electrical outlets that do not work. "Must not have paid their electric bill, " the gentleman next to me offers. Thanks for the diagnosis, doctor. Based on that logic, it appears that you haven't paid your dermatology bill.

* There's something fascinating to about children's faces as they watch Tom & Jerry cartoons. The older ones have a look of sly recognition. They are resigned to Tom's (or is it Jerry's?) fate. They are world weary 10-year olds who have seen the cruel machinations of the cat and mouse dynamic - Centuries of generations battling with one another, neither side ever achieving a lasting advantage. It's as if Christine Amanpour's Bosnia visage has been transplanted on pre-teen middle America.

Meanwhile, the 5 to 6-year olds sit transfixed - their mouths agape. Their eyes glazed over while they drink their purple Kool-Aid, I feel relief that Jim Jones is not in a nearby zip code. The poor darlings have no idea that this feline vs. vermin battle will have no resolution. Nay, it is only an ongoing litany of mistakenly ingested hot peppers turning faces red and unseen hammers pummelling swirling stars and chirping birdies around the heads of unsuspecting victims to be repeated over and over again.

Perhaps, someday, our children's children will not be as cruelly cast as cynics at so young of an age.

Instead a world of possibility and free thinking will take over.

A time of ideas and hope.

An age - of Teletubbies