Chicago is …

  • a hot dog salesman grimacing at the mention of ketchup
  • a man panhandling at a stop light
  • a sea of North Face jackets jogging next to Lake Michigan
  • a river dyed green
  • the third largest city that still calls itself the Second City
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My Top 5 Yelp Reviews About Alton, IL

imagesI’m still kind of in a post-holidays reverie haze and in a frame of mind where I look back on years gone by, growing up in Illinois. Over the past year or so, I’ve written some Yelp reviews of places in my hometown of Alton that I know like the back of my hand. Some I love, some I don’t. I thought it might be fun to post my five favorite reviews, in no particular order, to feel a little good old fashioned Alton nostalgia.


Bubby’s & Sissy’s — 5/5 stars

Best bar in Alton. It’s always a fantastic time here on Fridays and Saturdays. Hilarious drag shows, adequate little dance floor, nice outdoor area. Best place in town to let loose and really be yourself, no matter who you are.

Except if you’re a bigot. Then please, stop being who you are. Continue reading

St. Louis is …

  • two high school seniors skipping rocks on the riverfront the summer before college
  • free parking at the casino
  • Bud and baseball
  • thin crust pizza with cheese that sticks to your teeth
  • war stories swapped in the plasma donation clinic waiting room
  • a school bus permanently hanging off the edge of a downtown building
  • a friendly game of washers in the back yard
  • a grown man whose first question when he meets you is where you went to high school
  • a job whose benefits include free cases of beer
  • table shuffleboard in a dive bar
  • a jog in Forest Park
  • a new best friend you meet and forget in the same night
  • a smiling drunk peeing in the sink at Oktoberfest
  • an abandoned house with its windows falling in
  • spaced out skyscrapers
  • screened in outdoor smoking
  • a closed Catholic church
  • an eastbound strip club pilgrimage
  • a dirty joke told by a stranger
  • teenagers taking selfies under the Arch

Alton, IL is … Part 2

  • a dead eyed waitress on the graveyard shift
  • a chorus of birds performing just for you on your short walk to the car
  • an old woman watching all the cars pass her house
  • hedge apples pounding down on your roof
  • an empty beer case burning in a bonfire
  • weak coffee you can’t stop drinking
  • a bald eagle on vacation
  • a line of cars at 2 a.m. at a drive thru
  • a sad little shopping mall that smells fantastic at Chrismastime
  • a woman with a cheap haircut giving a man a cheap haircut
  • an argument about coupons
  • an entire small town gathered for a Halloween Parade
  • a guy who needs his Pepsi and cigarettes so badly he gets them delivered to his car by a woman he doesn’t tip
  • a bad first impression of someone you never let go
  • a pack of wannabe drag racers
  • a fresh college grad settling for a job in retail
  • a bar with free popcorn and cheap shrimp
  • a wad of cash in transit from the check cashing counter to the slot machine
  • a firm handshake from a smiling man with calloused hard hands
  • a place you’re from that stays with you wherever you go

See my first list of things Alton is at my previous blog post.

The Upper West Side is …

  • Sunday brunch with a cool grandma
  • a Westhighland terrier
  • a jazz man playing solo outside Trader Joe’s
  • a self-proclaimed Dive Bar that’s not a dive
  • the ghost of Teddy Roosevelt
  • a woman who wears floral dresses every night of the week
  • a man with a black ponytail, salt-and-pepper beard, and a purple beret
  • a picnic on a boulder
  • girls’ night out at a wine bar
  • a long talk on a long walk
  • an ornate building standing proud
  • a cafe next to a cafe next to another cafe
  • a jogger weaving through pedestrians on Broadway
  • a couple who married and moved uptown from SoHo
  • a tourist snapping photos of Tom’s Restaurant
  • hot tea on a fall night
  • an ugly old brooch on a pretty young woman
  • a first date in a dark restaurant
  • a tree-lined residential street where you can breathe in deep
  • a Midwestern suburbanite falling in love with the city

We ARE Special, You Guys: In Defense of Generation Y

01 Truth Bomb

Alright, so I let this article on “Why Generation Y Yuppies Are Unhappy” sit out there for a week, but now it’s time to tear it apart piece by piece, and put it down. Ready?

1. Who says we are unhappy? This is one of those tricks, where if someone hides their premise at the beginning of a question, everyone will just take it as true and move on instead of stopping to say, wait a minute, is that premise even true? In fact, this particular trick has a name: the “complex question fallacy,” or “loaded question.” A famous example is the question “Have you stopped beating your wife?” Any way you answer that is admitting that at some point you beat your wife, even if it was never true. So any premise I put at the beginning of a question is tricking you into accepting it as true:

02 - Gycenomastia

Continue reading

The West Village Is …

  • live jazz in a basement


    Me pretending to play ping pong in Fat Cat, a fine West Village establishment.

  • a tour group looking at the outside of a restaurant
  • a tall, muscular black woman who happens to have a penis
  • a comedy club barker approaching you on the sidewalk
  • a chess hustler who goes by the name of Cornbread
  • smoking a cigarette on brownstone steps
  • a homeless leprechaun handyman
  • a middle aged man scoring weed on a park bench
  • a college girl learning to walk in stilettos on cobblestone streets
  • an artisanal pickle stand
  • a paperback you buy from a street salesman that falls apart on your ride home
  • a place to buy a $1 pizza slice or a $500 shirt
  • a German tourist who interrupts whatever you’re doing and asks you to take her picture with her camera which you accidentally drop
  • a law student lining up tequila shots
  • a basketball court where as much time is spent trash talking as ball playing
  • a fall breeze drifting down a tree lined street
  • a historic building turned into a CVS
  • a centimeter thick paint chip
  • a trumpeter wearing white New Balance shoes, black pants, and a pageboy cap
  • a neighborhood catering to artists and writers with rents no artist or writer can afford