yesterday was mothers day

i got my dear momma some lotion and a dozen tulips.

but then i saw a picture of a lot of people at the grocery store huddled around the greeting card aisle.

maybe theres something wrong with me but ive never seen the appeal of a greeting card.

at $5 now, they’re the same price as an entire magazine.

i used to send a subscription of O Magazine to my mom but she said she didn’t like it.

poor O.

anyways, my mom took the train with my sister yesterday to downtown Chicago.

she told me they went to Luxe. she asked me if i ever heard of it.

i told her that there used to be a restaurant called Grand Luxe at the Beverly Center that i took the truest to, but it closed down a few years ago.

she said she wasnt sure if it was grand luxe or not, all she knows is some people were wearing short shorts and crop tops, even though it was 60 degrees.

i refrained from telling her what amber wore the other day when she came over to say hi.

but i guess the difference is it was 69 degrees here that day.

no need for a sweater.

i got a good sleep last night.

ready for a strong week.

me and mom go to Wrigley Field, a film

me and mom at wrigley

my mom hates driving and hates riding in cars too.

she thinks everyone else on the road are big huge poop monsters and shes possibly right.

so today around lunch time i was all, ma, lets go TO WRIGLEY FIELD

she was like, ABSOLUTELY NOT!

i said, how about if we take Irving Park Road all the way down.

she was like, it’ll still be full of crazy pants fools around Wrigley.

i said, true but i promised this sweet young lady that i would write her dad’s name on the wall at Wrigley where everyones writing the names of their loved ones who didnt get to see the Cubs.

still in the glow of last night’s giant victory my mom caved in and there we were driving the slowest route ever from the suburbs to the Friendly Confines.

wrigley wall

once we got there it was awe inspiring.

names everywhere. i guess over 108 years a lot of sweet people came and went. and tragically none of them saw the Cubs win the world series.

so here’s why Cub fans are like no other. there was boxes of chalk everywhere. for free.

cub fans wall

and there were lots of parentes with their kids and the kids were waaaay into chalking up the wall, the street, light poles, the curb, their sisters, cops, drunk fratboys passed out in the gutter.

i even saw someone put his grampas name on the shoe of mayor rahm emmanuel.


cubs ground

it was such a beautifully colorful outpouring of love, remembrance, and thanksgiving, i nearly started bawling like a baby, because deep down im just a man on the verge of tears when i think about the Cubs and what it means to so many people in this beautiful city

a city, that by the way, has had the most wonderful weather this week. like warm and rainy at night and sunny in the day. freaky nice.

harry's grave

before we went to Wrigley we visited Harry Caray’s grave in Des Plains. i aint never visited a cemetery to see the headstone of a “celebrity” before, and it was kind of amazing.

little known fact: cemetarys dont give a shit if you visit them. in fact, they welcome it. the doors are open, you can drive around easily. and on Find A Grave .com they even tell you where the famous person’s resting spot is.

mom and i drove around the big cemetery for a while, gawking at the unusually large headstones and i expected a group of people or security or something… but when i saw bushels of green apples i knew we were there.

in a previous photo of harry’s grave i saw like 6 apples on his headstone but as you can see, i was not the first person to go there and say bro, they did it. we are champs. and we are thinking of you!

i brought a bottle of Old Style and decided id set it down next to that pumpkin.

me at harry carays grave

but first my mom took this picture.

the two women that you see in the far left corner saw us coming and gave us some time to read some of the things people had written on apples and signs and bags of Cracker Jacks and when they saw us leaving they headed back to his grave. the women were both wearing Cubs shirts and I tipped my hat to them and we told each other how happy we were and how great Harry was and it was so ridiculously sweet i wanted to hug them.

as we got in the car we saw that they were back in front of his grave, tending to it. chatting.

not leaving any time soon.

and weirdly me and mom didn’t really feel like leaving either.

it was an extremely peaceful, chill spot.

i thought, so is this how its gonna be now?

is life just mellow and beautiful after your biggest dream comes true?

hope so.


a visit to the local mall

skatemy mom and I are at a random mall in the middle of nowhere an hour outside Chicago.

I see a Thrasher tshirt in the window of a skate shop with a demonic goat 666 image on a satanic star.

So naturally I go in because how is this seriously in this suburban Illinois mall?

We start talking to the guy working at the shop.

Curious if there’s any Todd Francis skateboards there, I ask if he has any.

Guy says, “Todd Francis? You mean one of the most famous skateboard designers ever?”

Quickly goes to one of the many racks of decks and instantly finds this one pictured  and says “this guy is a legend. I have his book. You Know him? Wait till I tell my friends!”

So I show him some pics of Todd in college.

Minds blown. (By the way the price of the board was Not $8.25 – it was actually $52.)

So we talk some more, shake hands, talk about skating in Santa Barbara in the 80s, where I was lucky enough to meet and work with Todd and the dudes are seriously impressed.

Here’s the weird thing about Todd. I was impressed by him the very first time I ever met him, I tell them. He was that good even when he was 19-20 years old.

Just as disgusting, just as interesting, just as dark.

But what is hard to see from his art is how funny he is. Sooooo funny in a dry, bitter, sideways way. OK maybe his art is exactly like that too. I was hungry and needed a Portillos dipped beef.

Weirdly I forget to tell him that we were roommates on Folsom Street in Frisco in 1994 and watched the Bronco Chase together. But maybe that would have been overkill. They got it.


then we see a sports store. Cubs Sox Bulls Bears Hawks.

ive been to this store before and remember the guy behind the counter. I remembered him because I always appreciated his wide selection of Cubs stuff.

I am looking at a playoff tshirt and right away he says 20% off!

i say, hold your horses, why dont you see, i might just buy it at full hit? he’s got a thick accent but i catch about every other word.

we get talking and i look around and I notice that even though the NFL season is only in its 2nd week theres very few Bears crap on his racks. Maybe 2-3 racks thats it. More than half the store is Blackhawks and the rest is Cubs. He tells me the Bears have not been selling for the last 5 years.

Also these facts:

Anthony Rizzo jerseys sell more than Kris Bryant

Blackhawks have been steady sales for the last 5 years, winter, fall, summer, spring. But especially around Christmas.

The last time the Bears were in the Super Bowl everything sold out and even the distributor sold out.

And if the Cubs win the World Series he is certain everything in his store will sell out no matter what it is.

Also these very sad facts:

He works 7 days a week, 10 hours a day

No one else works with him.

He has a nephew who works for him 2 weeks a year for his vacation.

If he doesn’t open his store on time he gets fined by the mall.

No way can he close his store for a day because he would get a bigger fine.

Sales at the store over the last 5 years have sunk year after year.

His only saving grace would be the Cubs winning the World Series, and yet he wears a Sox jacket because he thinks he looks better in black than in “purple” (which I assume he meant blue).

Even though the Bulls have signed hometown boy Dwayne Wade, the NBA won’t release anything official until right before the season starts. So no one is really buying any Bulls stuff right now because everyone is preoccupied with the Cubs.

I begged him to hire my mom to work for him two days a week but they both refused to take me seriously.


today is my moms birthday, shes 24

momborn to the first black un-official president of canada and a pittsburgh librarian, my mom was raised in southern Georgia during the turbulent 50s and 60s because her parents knew that their power and influence would be better served in the dirty south than in the Steel City.

my mom excelled in school, was the homecoming queen, valentines dance queen, rivals week queen and ultimately the queen of the school after her mother sewed her a sparkling dress made of silk, roses, and dreams.

at 16 years old she went to college after skipping a grade. she had never been away from her parents before and First Day was hosting parties and convincing the young gentlemen of Nashville to buy she and her friends booze, high heels and Motown records. One day she found herself on a bus. she didnt know why she was on the bus, all she knew was she wasnt in Georgia or in class, so… Party! turned out the bus was headed to downtown Nashville where she and her friends would participate in the first Civil Rights protest ever. No Justice, No Peace was penned by the young lady next to her. What Do We Want? Lemonade! was yelled by the thirsty young man a few seats back.

Once at the rally, the state troopers arrived and threatened to kill everyone. My mom ran and made her way back to the dormitory just in time to receive a telephone call from her parents asking how everything was going. Fine! she said and because long distance phone calls cost so much back then she literally got off the hook and decided she would stick to studying and leave the civil protests to the Others.

she graduated early, got a scholarship to Indiana to get a double Masters in Russian and Math because her heart wanted to be a UN translator but her Virgo mind said, lets have a practical backup plan. After she graduated she moved to Washington DC at the bequest of her college sweetie and whattya know she found herself in the midst of more political marches led by, no joke, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. a few years later she was married and produced two children which she raised mostly on her own: one who would become a blogger with a modest following on twitter.

today my mom refuses to retire. she teaches her grandchildren the beauty of books, the hard work it takes to grow a victory garden, and how to keep the most organized books. THIS WILL NOT BE HACKED she says as she shows her paid bills perfectly filed in her walk-in safe in the basement.

her home is meticulous and smells of bacon and potpourri. she collects shot glasses and nativity scenes. she has four tvs and three landline phones. the password of her iphone is 666666 because no one would believe it. she has pictures of several of my old girlfriends on doilies atop a variety of end tables. theres african art, modern art, and college diplomas lining the walls leading to the basement.

she insists i call her after i have had a long flight or emergency assignment from the xbi.

i cant imagine how boring my life would have been without her guidance over these years because her advice has always been the same: fuck shit up, negro. make me proud.

happy birthday mom!

when im not volunteering at the soup kitchen

anna kournikovasexting anna or fighting crime for the xbi

i’m doing my best to be a great son.

so every mothers day i send my mom flowers and a note and she always takes a picture of the bouquet and regardless of its condition she always says

soooo beautiful!

whats weird is it’s very difficult for florists in chicago to actually put together a truly beautiful arrangement and deliver it to my mom so every year i try a different place.

last year i was satisfied. the place got these great tulips together and got them to the crib and all was good in the hood.

so this year i ordered with plenty of time and the delivery fee was fine and the price was right but

in my mind

they said they had to deliver it on Thursday before Mother’s Day which didn’t bother me. because as long as it’s early thats cool.

so i called my mom yesterday and i said how are the flowers

she said, there were no flowers.

and i nearly crashed the helicopter.

was all Siri, what the fuck

and Siri was like, bro the flowers wont be there until Tuesday

i was all, Tuesday? Why Tuesday? and Siri said because thats when you set the order for n word. and i rewinded my memory but it didn’t go that far back and im telling you, i might be losing my mind. in the history of me being my mothers son ive never snet her a Mothers Day gift late, why would i Schedule something to be late?

it gets worse.

my mom was all, i know i told you you didnt have to send anything, but i was on my way to the hairdresser and it was Saturday and you hadnt sent anything and I saw an Amazon truck and sometimes you send me weird things and I had never even seen an Amazon truck before so i turned around and asked the man

is there something in there for me?

and he said, no.

worst son in the entire planet!

but because shes the greatest mom in the world she said, dont worry you can make it up to me when you come out here in the fall.

i said i can?

she said yeah, just get me some Cubs tickets and buy the first few rounds of beers.

which is 100% true. and why i love her so. and why anna has such a hard time getting me to commit.

went downtown chicago with my mom and my truest

like tourists!

my mom doesnt like cars. shes a natural woman. but she loves me so when i said hey i wanna go downtown with you and look around she said what moms always say “we’ll see.”

secretly she knew we would take the slow train through the burbs to the city. it was a trip id never done before but she apparently does all the time because now that shes retired the city gives her a free pass, which is nice.

even though this is the busblog, based on the fact that i spent years in LA taking public transportation, i was initially against taking a train to the city. what would we do once we were down there? how would we get around?

but it turned out to be so fun. cabs were plentiful and cheap, and between millennium park, state street, navy pier, and michigan avenue we had quite a fun little afternoon.

the only problem we had, blog-wise, was my good camera’s battery died after only a few shots. so we went to Central Camera an olde fashioned camera store on wabash, bought a battery charger, and asked the man if he would charge my battery in my new charger as we ran around the crazy park. he was cool with that, and i took pics via my iphone.

those turned out well too. see:

millennium wasnt around when i lived in chicago. back then the tourists were stuck enjoying chicago for what it was: huge buildings, great art, mediocre sports, and fantastic food & people

but somewhere along the line they decided to spruce up navy pier and the park and put in some crazy fountains, an amphitheatre, a garden, and this trippy reflection sculpture called The Bean. for some reason it make my truest wanna run.

navy pier was a little sad. it was off-season and apparently its all the rage in the midst of summer, but when its just a few hundred people roaming about its sorta like going to mardi gras the week After its all over.

but we did run past this brightly colored tribute to chicago childrens tv of olden times, namely ray rayner, bozo, and fraizer smith. wgn stalwarts and icons in the minds of any kid that grew up in chicagoland back in the day.

after playing around, it was time to get serious. we had the cabbie take us from the pier to the camera store to pick up the freshly charged battery, and then we were driven to the finest pizza place in the entire galaxy, Gino’s East.

i knew it took a while to cook the pizza but i was under the impression it took about 20-30 minutes. no no. 45 minutes! so the ladies ordered salad to start and i chose the creamiest minestrone you’ve ever had the pleasure of slurping.

mom had water, truest Stella on tap, and i chose old style from the bottle. even with a bad stomach it all went down beautifully and some would say it cured me of all the things Tums couldnt. it was delightful.

we ordered a small pepperoni and sausage and barely made it through our 1 slice each. it was cheesy, hot, and delectable.

the conversation was good. and i was so energized that i was inspired to take pictures all throughout the restaurant.

got on the train right before it was gonna leave the station and almost fell asleep in our chairs because we were so full and happy and worn out from walking and talking and laughing at my incredible jokes.

when we got home the ladies watched Castle and i messed up my moms beautiful house by trying to get her caller ID to work in her kitchen. the end!

my mom was a little disturbed that i shot pics of my apt

all messy-like

why would you do that? she asked on the phone.

just trying to keep it real, i said.

um, i thought nothing in yr blog was true!

she got me on that one.

deep down shes concerned about two things. the first is she still thinks im a reflection on her, which i suppose is somewhat true, but i really am an ancient mariner so at some point ive plotted my own destination and established my own reality.

but the second concern is she wants me to get married. even though i dont. and even though she didnt have the greatest luck in that arena, and neither has many of her friends and family.

its baffling to me how we as humans are so stubborn to continue the ways that we know only bring us grief and stress and sadness and heartbreak.

whats so bad about love and freedom? whats so horrible about meeting someone nice, having a fun time, making out, and then years down the road NOT RUINING THEIR LIVES?

worst thing i could ever do to a sweet girl is commit them to a life sentence with my black ass. its bad enough they have to see me without my shirt on.

which is a far more horrific sight than a few magazines and computer wires strewn about the crib.

today is my mom’s 27th birthday


so my brother in law flowed me with some air miles, and my sister set it up, and last night after my hot date left, karisa showed up and drove me to the airport and i took the redeye first class here to chicago.

a stretch limo was waiting for me outside the baggage claim at o’hare, sent by my sister, and i rode in luxury to the town that i grew up in and had the limo drop me off at the elementary school behind my sisters house, and i walked through the playground. my brother in law and sister saw me, let me in the house, invited my mom over for breakfast and we all yelled suprise and my mom said, i cant believe youre here.

i said, i cant believe im here either.

i dont think ive been to chicago since the great fire.

mabe not that long but its been a while.

it’s nice here. it’s good to see everyone. it’s weird but not that weird.

my sister has a cute daughter and lots of dogs.

my mom is telling me funny stories about the racism that is happening in my old town.

my brother in law is in the basement working on the plasma tv that they just got.

its a pretty normal american family.

maybe its normal for canadians too, i guess you guys will have to tell me, those of you from up there.

right now the old english sheepdog, twinkie has climbed up on the leather couch and put his ass near my ear to position himself so he could put his head on the arm rest. then he laid down. sheryl crow is playing on the adult contemporary station. the other dogs are sliding around the hardwood floors.

the sun is shining.

the cubs are only a game and a half out.

im the luckiest man alive, and today i get to share a special day with the best mom ever.