Thursday, April 5, 2018

More Woogie and Less Boogie??

Inquiring minds want to know, I guess ....

A couple of days ago, a young man stopped me in our local Whopper-stop (ie, Burger King) and asked the burning question:

My grandpa says that he missed something called "boogie-woogie" music.  Since you're about as old as he is (ahem!!), what's he talkin' about? I mean, they call you the Relic, so you must know.

So I put down m' old walky cain, ast th' young feller ta hep me t'my seat ... and gave him a little history lesson:

You see, "boogie-woogie" was actually a piano-based style that developed back in the 1870s, and in African-American communities.  Mostly associated with dancing, the genre was popularized in part by a song called Pinetop's Boogie-Woogie (the lyrics of which were more like instructions on how to dance to it:
"Now, when I tell you to hold yourself, don't you move a peg.
And when I tell you to get it, I want you to Boogie Woogie!"


Over the years, it fleshed out to include guitar (I'm reminded of my late friend Arthur Smith's famed "Guitar Boogie"), combos and even vocals.  The basis for the sound was an "eight-to-the-bar" beat, or what most musicians call a 4/4 beat.
The influence upon rock hit a high-note when the legendary Chuck Berry used it as a model for his famed rhythm-heavy hits.

As far as the origins of the name goes:  Some say they're nonsensical words that, together, mean "rapid movement".
Another theory says that, since "it takes two to tango" (for you youngsters, that means ya need a partner to do a proper dance with), the "boogie" signified the lead dancer and the "woogie", his partner. But, sometimes, that "woogie" partner would initiate his/her own steps to change the dance pattern a little.

Now, that last explanation made me think (as I am prone to do on occasion):

Here in America, we have so many who want to lead the political parade.  I mean, they're highly opinionated and think they know the right steps to make this country "dance" a better way.  In the meantime, they expect the rest of us to (for the sake of this example) follow their lead for it to be successful.

But there are those of us who  ... well, we'd rather take our own steps and not follow what the alts-this-or-that are trying to force on us.  It might change the style of the "dance", maybe back some of these rascals down - but at least we make up our own minds about how to respond to the "song" we're "dancing" to, and we're happy with that.

So, with legions of protests, news orgs that are trying to push us into an anti-Trump stance, magazines and papers that glorify the alt-anything, isn't it time we pushed back a little - and give this country more woogie and less boogie?

Just my opinion, folks.  What's yours?

Stay tuned ...





Ah, The Way It Wuz ...

Like most people my age, on occasion I take a trip down Memory Lane and relive the thrilling days of yesteryear -- especially those surrounding the debut of the Lloyd Thaxton Show.
Remember? We'd just lost one of the most popular U.S. Presidents to an assassin's bullet a few months before; television had that marvelous color scheme of black-and-white; and the British Invasion was stealing American rockers' thunder (in fact, that's one of the three reasons The Kinks stopped touring the U.S. 'Tis true!).

Well, awhile back, I noticed the following memory-jogger in the MH mailbox -- and found myself back in that amazing way-back machine we call "memory". Formatted to sound like an old fogey fussing at a young, Brylcreemed, acne-troubled whippersnapper, see how many of these you remember (btw, thanks to Vicki Ritchie for her fab email, though I added a little at the end:)

" ... when I was a kid we didn't have the Internet. If we wanted to know something, we had to go to the darn library and look it up ourselves, in the card catalog!!

There was no email!! We had to actually write somebody a letter - with a pen! Then you had to walk all the way across the street and put it in the mailbox, and it would take like a week to get there! Stamps were 10 cents!

There were no MP3's or Napsters or iTunes! You had to hitchhike to the record store with a couple bucks that you had to beg from your folks, or use your allowance, to buy a 45 or LP!
Or you had to wait around all day to tape your favorite song off the radio with a little reel-to-reel recorder, but the DJ would usually talk over the beginning and screw it all up! There were no CD players!
There weren't any freakin' cell phones either. If you left the house, you just didn't make a darn call or receive one. You actually had to be out of touch with your "friends". OH MY GOD, think of the horror... not being in touch with someone 24/7!! (Texting?? Let me refer you to the second paragraph above ...)

We didn't have fancy stuff like Call Waiting, either. If you were on the phone and somebody else called, they got a busy signal, that's it! And we didn't have Caller ID either! When the phone rang, you had no idea who it was! It could be your school, your parents, your boss, the collection agent -- you just didn't know! You had to pick it up and take your chances ...

We didn't have any fancy PlayStation or Xbox video games with high-resolution 3-D graphics! By the late Sixties, we had the Atari 2600! With games like 'Space Invaders' and 'Asteroids'. Your screen guy was a little square. You actually had to use your imagination! And there were no multiple levels or screens, it was just one screen... FOREVER! And you could never win. The game just kept getting harder and harder and faster and faster until you died! Just like LIFE ...
You had to use a little book called a TV Guide to find out what was on! You were screwed when it came to channel surfing! You had to get off your keister and walk over to the TV to change the channel. NO REMOTES!!

There was no Cartoon Network either! You could only get cartoons on Saturday Morning. We had to wait ALL WEEK for cartoons! But it was well worth it (by the way, they had more "frames per second", so it really DID look like Tom was gonna catch Jerry! SO much smoother ...)

Oh, yeah ... and we didn't have microwaves, either. If we wanted to heat something up, we had to use the stove! Imagine that!

And forget about these fancy "awards" shows, with their flashy, eccentric emcees trying to act cool in front of million-dollar sets. Those are a dime a dozen!
We had a guy who, in just a suit and tie but with carloads of imagination, humor and plenty of records, pranced around a low-budget TV studio like an elf on Christmas Eve and made rock and roll fun. He didn't have a script to go by, just a bunch of teenagers in that little studio -- and some of the best stars in the business.

But he could beat YOUR hotshot emcees in a heartbeat because, while they're struggling to stay on the air, THE LLOYD THAXTON SHOW was the most popular teen show in America for about six years straight!


Ahhh, those were the days!

Stay tuned ...

Sunday, April 1, 2018

WHEN THE BLOG BUG BIT ME ...



Ahhh, the thrills and chills of having your own "blog" ...

Actually, I've been called on the carpet (that's where my phone ends up half the time; my dogs have learned to rifle through my pockets at night)  for not keeping this one as current as it should be.  But, as John Lennon once said, "Life happens when you're busy making other plans."  Since I'm too young to actually retire and not smart enough to beat the system, I've still gotta work for a living ... and that's what's been cutting me back on my blogitizing a bit ..

But, starting today, we're at least gonna congregate here once a week - so you'll get a brand, spankin' new post every Monday morning for now. 

I remember how this "blogging" thing started for me:

Many moons ago - not long after the last dinosaur vanished - my publisher thought it would be a good idea to get a newfangled contraption called a "computer".  He said I could get my work submitted faster, and also meet new people if I stayed on it long enough.

Well, it did speed up the workload a little.  But, when I was finished, I just sat and waited.  And waited.  Not one soul came by to have coffee or visit ...

"No," he laughed, "you've got to get on the internet."  And then he hooked me up with something called an "ISP" and showed me how to work it (the blasted thing only worked when it wanted to.  It was an old "UASUKKA" model ...).

So there I was, staring at my blank computer screen and wondering if I should draw funny faces on it to get people's attention , when ...

my cat jumped on the desk and started heaving a furball:

"H-UHHHH ... H-UUUUUAARRRHHHH!!" and finally ...

"BBBLLLLAAAGGGGHHH!!!"

My face brightened with an epiphany: "A ...BLOG?? Of course! I ... I've heard of those!! Geez ... why didn't I think of that before??"
So it began (er, after cleaning up the keys, natch ...).

It was during those first few ishs that I met and became friends with Lloyd Thaxton (in fact, he sent me the clipping at the bottom of this post). To say that he became an inspiration is like saying the Beatles sang songs ... everyone who knew him can vouch for his positive, encouraging attitude.

Over time, we decided to run with an idea that he was tossing around in his mind: A group of misfit mousers (computer-type) coming together in a little kaffeklatsche we ended up calling The Mouse Clique. Many mousers come ... cats stay away ... we make exception if they have guitar ...
Anyway, by 2007 and since I had already published a sorta-popular hard-copy writeup called The Window, we started talkin' plans to build a (in his words) "hand-held new Spaper". We kidded each other about how that little phrase of his had such sellability ... it was bound to be a success!

Of course, both of us had our hands in other things -- he with making a DVD of his show as well as following the sales of his book, Stuff Happens, whilst bein' husband to beautiful Aunt Barbara; me with publishing articles and feeding the cats ... as well as working appearances at pro wrestling shows (as announcer. You don't wanna see me in tights, trust me ...).

Then came that sad day in October, when Uncle Lloyd left us to entertain the angels. Needless to say, the new Spaper never materialized; somehow, working on it just wasn't the same.

But the show had to go on:

In honor of the Chief -- and after conferring with Cuzzin' Gary Belich (he was our esteemed secretary in the Mouse Clique) and beautiful Aunt Barbara -- I continued the group here, at this blog.

There's one thing that set LL off from the rest of the celebrities - and we, his loyal fans and friends, are all thankful for it - and it's that he took time to be with us!  All too often, you'll find these so-called "stars" too "busy" or just wanting to hang with their "own" or whatever.  But Lloyd Eugene Thaxton had a sincere appreciation and love for each and every one of his fans!  He told me once that he was just a person like everybody else - nothing special; just a man with a God-given talent to make others smile.  In short, he was "one of us" - and wouldn't've had it any other way.  He loved to hear from his fans - and responded to as many as he could, either by comments on his own blog or by personal email (PS As I mentioned in the last post, Uncle Lloyd's blog posts are still open to the public.  Be sure to go by there and click on a few.  You're in for a real treat!!)

So, as we open up the Mouse House (and subsequent membership into the Clique, pursuant to the Rules of the Cheese) to the masses (and the misters, if they behave ...), I'm in the process of closing all my other blogs and continuing this one in the style and memory of one of America's most-beloved elves - the legend whom I'm proud to have called "friend" and "mentor":  LLOYD THAXTON ...







Stay tuned ...

THE DAWK DYNASTY LIVES!!

For you who've just tuned in, this show could've easily been called the Dawk Dynasty, since one of Uncle Lloyd's trademarks was the legendary little hippie dude, the Dawk! And, since we started this shortly after LL left us, quite a few fans have dusted off their old signs, gotten out (and, in some cases, let out) their old hippy-dippy clothes, gotten the groovy sunspecs outta storage and joined us.

Now it's your turn ...

But it's more than just about the "dawks" now!  This site was set up to honor the amazing "Pied Piper" of Sixties teendom, Lloyd Thaxton.  Many of you probably grooved to the music and dug the zany antics that his weekday show (The Lloyd Thaxton Show, natch!) provided us.

He also was the producer of the popular (and often parodied) show, Fight Back! (with David Horowitz) and also quite a few memorable segments on The Today Show.  Along with author John Alston, Lloyd also wrote the highly-effective bestseller Stuff Happens! (and then you fix it).


Here's more on this exciting, eclectic, electric elf.

Will the Real Lloyd Thaxton Please Sit Down? Part I

WTRLTPSD? (ie, Part II)





The odd thing about this cartoon composite that Uncle LL sent me is that I actually was living on a street by that cartoon's name when I got his email!


When Uncle LL and I talked about forming The Mouse Clique, everybody was to meet at his blog (yes, LT fans - his lovely wife, Barbara, graciously left it online for all of us to enjoy.  So thumb through his posts and you'll soon know why everybody who knew him loved Lloyd! Thank you so much, Barbara!).  Now - with him entertaining the angels - I want you all to join The Mouse Clique here - where we're gonna continue the merry madness, mirth, music and more, every week (at least!). 
(Yep, we've had a few false starts here recently, but it's all due to an overload of Maynard G. Krebs' archenemy ... WORK!! ... that kept on interrupting me.  But, today, everything's copacetic and running on all cylinders.  So we can get together more often with new fat to chew on.)

Oh ... isn't copacetic what a policeman takes for an upset tummy?  Just wondering ... 

Now, I'll give you folks on Facebook and Twitter the "high-sign" as to when a new post is percolating.  Then, just come on in and pour yourself a big cuppa smiles, memories and music...

after all, you're all Mousers now!!

We're doing it in tribute, honor and memory of Lloyd Eugene Thaxton - the man, the legend, the motivationalist, the clown .. our Chief Mouser and everybody's friend.

So stay tuned ...


Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Zombie-Mania Lives!!

No, kiddies, I'm not WUI (Writing Under the Influence) of the undead.  If ya want that stuff, check yer local AMC listings.  Me?  I'd rather bring you ...
the REAL Zombies!! Safer, non-toxic - and look a heckuva sight better than those freaktures on the telly.

Actually, it feels kinda good to write about these lads, because, whilst we remember their supermondomega hits like She's Not There, Tell Her No and Time of The Season, we take a look at their own website (a very active Zombies homepage, in fact) and see that ...

these cats are still playing sold-out shows across America and Europe FIFTY+ years after recording the hits I mentioned earlier!!

They even performed live on CBS This Morning a few weeks ago ... and the crowd went wild!  Not only were Colin Blunstone and Rod Argent's vocals as strong and tight as ever, but the music itself was so fresh and moving it was as if they'd just stepped out of a time machine!

So what's made this band so popular again, alluvasudden?  I mean, sure, the music's boss, but what's got everybody hoppin' over these lads?  Here's my take on it:

(1)  They're genuine.  Colin and Rod - in fact, the entire band - are about as sincerely real and humble as you can get.  If you came across one of these chaps after a gig or somewhere else, they'd most likely chat with you for a mo, and at least sign an autograph, even if they're busy.

(2)  They're def fan-friendly.  The Zs aren't like some of today's young acts. who appear onstage (sometimes after an inexplicable delay), perform, then disappear into nothingness, surrounded by a "posse" (or whatever they're called today).  It's like I was told when I used to caterwaul ... er, perform: Never forget who brought you to the dance, 'cause, if you do, it's gonna be a long and lonely walk home.

(3)  When they perform, they don't need Auto-Tunes, loops, synths, sampling and all that rubbish.  The music they play is real ... genuine 360 sound from the ground up!  And it's the same basic setup that made most of the bands (British Invasion and beyond) so popular: drumkit, keyboards, guitars, bass - and that inimitable Colin Blunstone lead vocal!

(4)  It's obvious that they enjoy themselves onstage as well as off.  All you've gotta do is just watch Rod Argent as he cuts loose on Time of The Season or She's Not There. 

(5)  But, above all, their music is absolutely timeless!!  Whether it was performed in 1965 or 2018, it's still as fresh as it was when first released.


In 2015 (just over two years ago, gang!), they released a brand new album called Still Got That Hunger.  Last year, they completed a wildly popular tour honouring their hit Odessey & Oracle album, and, as you'll see on their site (https://www.thezombiesmusic.com), you'll see their current tour dates (including some in November, where they'll be sharing the stage with the legendary Uriah Heep!) and more!!

One more thing:  There's a wonderful interview with Colin over at the Chicago Reader that will surprise you with some hitherto-unknown facts from Mr. Blunstone himself!!

So enjoy the band (sorry, kids, but there are better "Zombies" in this world than you're used to on TV.  And they're infinitely more entertaining than yours are!) and remember ...

Keep your (huh?  Oh, alright ... my favourite tracks span the history of the band: The first was Got My Mojo Workin' from, I reckon, back in 1964.  Then there's the amazing Hold Your Head Up, originally by Argent [the band] but now absorbed in the Zombies' playlist.  Today, I add Edge Of The Rainbow, which is also the name of their latest tour.  Anyway ...)

Keep your eyes to the skies, your feet on the ground, your heart with the music ... 
and I'll see ya on the flip side!!





Monday, March 12, 2018

THE SMHS FOLLY ... ME!!

 Hey ... I never said I made a good high-school pic, did I??

Actually, this is what I felt like after some wonderful days during my senior year in high school. I think they were November 14 and March 29 ...

Now, don't get me wrong: South Meck was the best high school on Park Road Extension in those days. In fact, it was the only one. And there are so many memories I'm still trying to live down I have of Sabre Town (the "Sabres" were our sports teams. But don't kid yourself: Whilst a "sabre" is a long, pointed sword, they did have some pricks on the team ...).

I was first "introduced" to our basketball team back in late 1966 when, as a sophomore-or-less, I took young Sally McCune to a game they were having against Garinger High. Sally was a Wildcat (wait ... let me explain:  her school's teams were called "Wildcats".  Sally, herself, was sweet and subtle), so it seemed fitting.

My dad drove us, my brothers and cousin Jimmy to the game. The bleachers on both sides of the court were packed.  Whilst they found seats on South's side, Sally and I made our way to ... Garinger's!  As we took our seats, I glanced over and noticed

that, suddenly, some of the Sabre students were glaring at me with a little disappointment ... and clenched fists ... and blood in their eyes ...

It didn't help that the sweater I chose for the night was navy-and-silver ... Garinger's school colours!  Or that, each time the Wildcats scored (and in order to impress my pretty date), I jumped up and cheered.  Or that Garinger won ...

Now, we had something called the Senior Flagpole on which hapless sophomores (heck, even those who had a hap) were sometimes hung on the lanyard tie by their belt-loops. It was unceremoniously used to punish rookie students for disrespecting the school -- or sitting on the wrong side at a basketball game.

Fortunately, our Principal, Mr. Edmisten, came down with a verbal edict that resounded through the school for years (actually, for about an hour.  But it's a good line that could be used today): "Boys, you can use it (talking about the flagpole and accompanying Senior Bench).  But if you abuse it, you're going to lose it."

What it lost in syntax it saved in my hide ...

I finally donned the cap-and-gown on June 5, 1969 (mama made me take it off, saying it was supposed to be graduation cap-and-gown-- not her stuff ....).  Two days before, I'd cut the grass and hit a steel rod called rebar.  Whilst it didn't cut through my shoe, it did split my big toe.  Mama drove me to Dr. Cates, who cleaned and sewed it up, then gave me a crutch to walk with.

On Grad Day, I put six socks on the bad foot, wore my brother-in-law's oversized Army shoe on the other, and put on a wayyy-too-long robe.  Then, with crutch at my side, I was driven to the ceremony.

When Mr. E. called my name, I limped across the stage, the crutch giving me support.  Then, as I headed to the steps to leave the stage and join my classmates in front, I stepped on the too-long robe, untied the shoe, which came flying off, fell down the steps (with the crutch flying into the audience) and landed ...

at the feet of my ex-girlfriend, Laura Turner!

The toe finally healed and I retired the crotch.  But, every once-in-awhile, a phantom pain comes into my foot (the one not stuck in my mouth) or a high-school basketball game will be on television ... and I'll remember those wonderful days at the Mighty Red-and-White (South Meck's colors.  Not the grocery store.  I'll have a different post on that soon ...)

Now, I don't know whatever happened to either Sally or Laura, though I wish them all the best.  Today -- after an absence of over 100 years -- some of my grad class have blessed my life by contacting me via Facebook.®   

Sunday, March 11, 2018

CRAZY CHICAGO CHAOS

Mousers, with your Cuzzin' Chuckers backlogged with work that was delayed whilst I moved into new digs, I thought we'd rewind one of your fave posts 'til I've dug out from under all this 'moved' stuff! So, enjoy ... and I'll be back ASAP: Now ... where's my shovel??

It all started so innocently on that July morning ...

Y'see, back in '99, I took my (then) daughter-in-law and two-year-old granddaughter to Chicago so we could witness Kaela's dad graduating from boot camp at Great Lakes Naval Air Station.



I said the trip started innocently enough: Since I hadn't been to Chicago since 1897, I thought it was safer to take the Greyhound™ bus. Nothin' to it: Buy tickets, load baggage, find seats, relax. Right??

Yeah ... uh-huh ... suuuuure ...

Since the night before had been a long and sleepless one, I dozed off just before the bus approached the Indianapolis station for one of its famed stops (long enough to get a drink, not long enough to use the bathroom). Suddenly, I heard Kaela's unmistakeable cry.

(Now, for this next part, PLEASE understand that I was groggy. Please?? Thank you ...)

So, still mostly asleep, I instinctively reached over, rubbed her arm and mumbled, "There now, honey ... grandpa's here! You're gonna be okay!"

Suddenly, I was hit by a wadded-up piece of paper, and my name was being whispered loudly but urgently: "Chuck! CHUCK!!"
I barely cracked open my eyes when I noticed Kaela ... sitting with her mother ... on the other side of the aisle!! I went from a drowsy to "freshly-poured-ice-down-my-pants" look in .015 milliseconds. If Kae's up there with her, then who was ....??
As they (and a few other passengers) began laughing, I slowly, hesitantly glanced beside me.

Now, I dunno ... maybe the sailor was coming off leave or something ... but, fortunately, he was still asleep! Thank goodness. Maybe I was off the hook? Probably not, considering it wasn't his arm I was stroking (NONONO!! It wasn't, er, "that" ... it was his leg! His LEG!! ONLY his leg!! Geez ...)

And I was right. By the time we pulled into the Indy station and I started to g-e-n-t-l-y get up to retrieve K's diaper bag, he tapped me on my hand and slipped me a piece of paper with his phone number on it! (And, no, I didn't, so don't ask ... let me suffer in peace, willya??)

Finally, after pulling into the Windy City (I'd moved to another seat. By myself ...), we got off the bus and into a cab, heading for the Metra™ train station.

Now, for you who've been there, you know there are some revolving glass doors in front -- and Chicagoans move faster than the speed of light through those things ...

ummm, until I showed up.

Carrying all the bags so K's mum could focus on carrying her, I waited until just the right moment and finally jumped into a vacant door ... which was smaller than my load ...
and jammed the entire system!

Y'know, people look a mite funny when their faces are pressed against glass ...
Eventually, I got out ... just to see my daughter-in-law nearly bent over in laughter ... red-faced, but laughing at me (imagine ...)!!

On the escalator going up to the elevated train platform (remember, me: pack mule. Daughter-in-law:protective mum), one of K's shoes fell off. Gallant granddad to the rescue. I reach over to retrieve the shoe ... a couple of bags fell off my shoulder and sped down the escalator and ...
remember the old bowling alleys?? Well, replace the pins with humans, and ...

All I could do is run down ("down" an "up" escalator!), grab the bags, look around in embarrassment whilst trying to save my butt by mouthing "I'M FROM KENTUCKY!" and run back up the moving staircase while keeping my head bowed (at least that way they wouldn't see the foot in my mouth!)

On the train, the conductor would come back and announce each suburb on the route as we reached it. The first time, little K. looked confused. The second time he came back, she looked angry. The third time he came back to announce the suburb, she jumped into the aisle, put her hands on her hips and yelled out, "NO S--T!!"

We finally got to the train depot at GLNAS and had to get over to the gym where the commencement was to be held.

But there was a problem: A wicked-looking barbed-wire fence separated us from the main area!
Natch, Mr. Braveheart took all those bags and negotiated the fence ... pulling barbs out of his torn shirt, wiping off a little sweat and blood with my hand. FINALLY ... I'd made it! I turned around ...
to see K and her mum standing in front of me ... and they were (do I haveta say this again??) laughing!!

Six feet from where I went through, the fence had stopped, allowing anyone (with any sense) to go around it ...

We finally got to the gymnasium and the ceremonies (and, I've gotta admit, when Tim marched in with the grads to Anchors Aweigh, I jumped up, tears flowing, and shouted. The guy behind me did finally apologise for burning my butt with his cigarette, though ...*).

After a fantastic July 4th weekend with him (and a great stay at the Great Lakes Navy Lodge), we took another stop in Chicago -- a very brief and cautious one (eyes watched ... and remembered) -- and headed home.

*(Alright, I've gotta 'fess up: The reason behind the tears and shouting was that I was proud of my boy. I'd raised him and his bro, Mike, by myself since they were pups, and to see him marching out there, so dedicated in his perfectly-pressed Navy whites, made me feel tower-tall ...)

But I wasn't done with Chi-Town ... yet:

A year later, whilst on the way to work with a client up in Canada (I took a non-sailored Greyhound™ this time), I stopped in the Windy City; since the next bus wasn't due for another eight hours or so, maybe I could make up for the mess I made last time.
Yeah ... right ...
I put my cigarette out in the ashcan as I turned around and headed for the terminal. With enough time on my hands, certainly there'd be enough time to take in one of the city's famous blues gigs.

Suddenly, people started running in and out of the station, yelling excitedly. I looked out and saw the unmistakable flickering of fire!

Apparently, somebody'd thrown a cigarette ... into ... the ... wrong can. One marked ... 'garbage'!

It was all just a simple mistake. I mean, any balding Kentuckian could've done it ... right??
Anyway, after viewing the resulting festivities ... er, from a distance, I thought it'd be a good time to exit the station right then (or, until the next bus came). So I checked my pockets and realised that ... I'd lost my ticket!!

No problem, really. Since I was sitting in the station when the flames started flickering, I just backtracked. There it was ... fifth seat from the right. I grabbed it, put it in my coat pocket, and took off.

"Hey!! HEY!!" The guy who was running after me had blood in his eyes: MINE!
"Who the hell do you think you ARE, man?? Gimme back my ticket NOW!!"
Judging from the way he was reaching for my coat lapel, I don't think he wanted it for warmth! But I obliged (either that, or this 6'4", 275-pounder was gonna make me "late" -- and I don't mean for the bus; it's what my friends would've called me ...)

"Look ..." I stammered to him (and the now-gathering crowd of mostly-roughnecks) as I pulled it outta my pocket. "I bought this ticket in Ashland, Kentucky, and I'm headin' for Canada. See?? It clearly shows I'm heading to ...

Boston, Massachusetts ...

So, as I was fumbling my apologies and handed it back to the man, another guy looked over and under the seats. "Here go one for ..." he checked it out ... "Calg'ry, Canada ... an' IT from Kentucky!" He handed it to his friend who grabbed my lapel, opened my coat and shoved it in the side pocket.

No, my friends ... I don't think Chicago, Illinois, will ever forget me. That's why I now have insurance ... and a good set of fake glasses-and-nose in the event fate lands me there again!

(DISCLAIMER: Don't get me wrong; I really love Chicago. The events that occurred in these posts actually happened, but does not reflect the city or its people ... most of whom I hope to see if I'm ever allowed back there ...)