In the mid 90’s when I mentioned I planned to move here to Chicago , more than a few people said they’d never move anywhere that a TV commercial talks about the cold.
Well, it’s been a long time but AZ actually had a real date. No you don’t know her all you should know is that she’s an intelligent 100 % Latina from the north side. I must not have made too bad of an impression since I am cooking for her this weekend at Casa Diablo.
We met up at 1230P at Hansa Clipper had a drink and then went over to see the movie.
I saw ‘No Way Home’ with Max on January 2 and I saw it again with Martha on January 15th. It’s that good. Then we went for some really good Greek food.
“Barba Yianni” is an authentic Greek Taverna, located at “Lawrence & Western” in the windy city of “Chicago”.
This fab spot is nestled in “Lincoln Square” amongst boutique shops and little restaurants and bars.
This is one of my favorite neighborhoods of Chicago and the food and the friendly atmosphere brought back many memories of one of my most favorite haunts.
What could be better than enjoying “Gyros”, “Saganaki” and a glass of “Roditis”? Absolutely nothing!!! We ordered appetizers first, Delicious charbroiled octopus, Meatless Dolmades, Stuffed grape leaves, rice, spices with Tzatziki and Saganaki and of course Flaming imported Kefalograviera Greek cheese. So my date / dining partner ordered pork chops and I both ordered a “Gyros Plate”, heaped with excellently prepared gyros, diced tomatoes, onion and tzatziki (yogurt & cucumber).
One of the amazing gifts my bosses gave to me last night at our belated holiday dinner at Nuovo. It’s always great to see the great team that I am privileged to work with. I have the best leaders I’ve ever had the pleasure of supporting.
Igloo eating on Argyle (Little Vietnam)
from Banh Mi & Co Saigon Classic Special Sandwich
Its a new year and baby it’s cold outside.
Sorry it’s taken so long to start updating regularly. Between my job and hectic life that is my every year Oct – Dec the last quarter more than usual. So many travels and catching up with old friends. The older I get the more this kicks my ass.
I’ve slacked on updating the news and thanks to publicists such as William Zimmerman and Athan Maroulis tenacity they’ve kept me on the ball.
This latest COVID variant in out of control and the political divide over the vaccine is just driving me nuts. Mandates are back in place and now we need to show our vax cards to eat out or go to gyms concerts etc. No big deal to me. No different than showing an ID although we’re getting closer and closer to socialism. I wish it wasn’t about left or right but common sense. I got my Pfizer booster on a cold Friday morning at Weiss Hospital.
Maybe this really is the new normal.
New Years Eve Dec 31 2022 burgers with Bob Hoeksema in Oswego IL
This was my second visit to this amazing burger place. I’m pretty sure they are the best burgers I’ve ever had. Even better than Kuma’s and at a much better price. We both had burgers, a side of potatoes wedges and soft drinks for a total of $27. I thought I was hearing things. Alex, you’re not in Chicago anymore. I had a double mushroom and swiss. I also should mention we had the most friendly service anyone can imagine.
I can’t get back to this place soon enough.
Had a great night with BH. We listened to music, built a fire in his new wood burning fireplace and brought in the New Year by watching FOX parties and year end wrap up. Funny how much Lori Lightfoot and Jussie Smollett were brought into the conversation.
December 4th 2021Max and Alex arrive at Quaker Steak & Lube Portage IN
An annual tradition for my bday p1 is at Quaker Steak & Lube in Portage IN. Max and I took the south shore line to Portage and then took an Uber to QS&L and as I went to the men’s room Max got me started by ordering a double Jamo on the rocks. I had no idea who would join us so we just waited.
As we nursed our first round Adam Becvare and Brian Stoneman joined us. Then came Eden Lake and Gary. Eden bestowed some really cool gifts on me which included an original print of some of her erotic art.
Gary, AZ Max and Eden
Well we made an afternoon of it and wisely they didn’t sit anyone near us. The topics of conversation were not family friendly.
……..and the band played on
It didn’t end there. When Max and I got back to the city we hung at the Bearded Lady and I slept in late on Sunday. Luckily we by mere minutes the latest wave of violent youth riots and looting in the loop right at Millennium Station where we excited the South Shore Train.
Then the annual tradition a week later at the Looney Bin in Bradley IL. Jason Kenski flew in from Detroit and we took AmTrak to Kankakkee where we quickly learned there are no taxi cab services and any Ubers that service the area were not available We were stuck in teh cold and rain till Nick Huffman’s mother picked us up and drove us to the Comfort Inn in Bradley.
Jason does the Belmont Transfer.
The Belmont Transfer is a sexual move named after the Belmont “L” train station on the north side of Chicago that has a free transfer between the Red and Brown lines. It is a metaphor for switching from vaginal sex to anal sex, also known as “switching from the Red line to the Brown line.”Matt: “I took home some random girl from the bar last night”
Sean: “Nice! Did you pull the Belmont Transfer?“
Jason at AmTrak supporting one of our favorite brands
The great Nick Huffman really went out of his way for me as he always does.
Ed, Miranda and Dawn all drove up from Indianapolis with Jeff Creepy Brown.
Dawn enjoys a little peace and quiet
The Alex award trophy that Nick presented me with
Jeri Payne so amazing
My new friend Pisser
The fun continued right into the PodCast
Then a week later another mobile PodCast out in Bensenville from Festivas a cannabis event and vendors were selling products at cost.
Jessica aka Gorjess of Gorjess Smoke popup smoke shop and event planner
It should be noted that I’ve never been a pot smoker. I’ve only used it for sleep. Not that it’s legal in Illinois I can buy edible and have weened myself off of pharmaceuticals after over 20 yrs of Rx.
And that’s my update from Nov/Dec 2021. Updates will be more frequent and regular even though I really have no plans till I see Angel in March in St Charles at The Arcada. I guess I’ll be eating at Asadora’s again this March.
Adam Sandler and Kevin Nealon sing a comical ditty celebrating Thanksgiving, how much he loves to eat turkey and peppering in facts that happen to rhyme with what he’s talking about. [Season 18, 1992]
Thanksgiving 2021 the first year I haven’t hosted and cooked for a house full of friends since 2004. I do love the tradition of doing such a big dinner, however I do not enjoy the cleanup. I think the only time I had help cleaning was when Deena came in from Upstate New York for Thanksgiving.
I arrived in Indianapolis just before noon on Thanksgiving Day. Dawn picked me up downtown and we went to her lovely home on the northside. It would be he daughter Miranda and her boyfriend Ed and his best friend and Dawns parents. I was looking forward to sitting and chatting with her father who I worked for when I was the head of sales at Faerber Bee Window back in the 90’s before moving to Chicago. It was a really nice time and he gave me a book by Ben Shapiro which I greatly appreciate.
I was to stay till Sunday and then take the bus back home and jump into work on Monday morning. You’d think I’d learn by now to always take the Monday after an out of town trip off work. This time I did not.
I learned several lessons on this trip and one was some of teh inept thins about Indianapolis haven’t changed in the 20 plus years since I moved away. The train station / bus station in Indy have no screens to show departures and arrivals. I got my luggage tags and stood in line. Luckily Dawn waited with me. The time for the bus to arrive had passed and 30 min later I went to the ticket counter to inquire and was quite rudely told it’s be a few minutes. An hour passed and then more and I just said fuck iy. I went back to Dawns emailed work and booked teh next AmTrak out which wouldn’t be till Tuesday. I was pissed. Had I brought my work computer it would not have been so bad. On top of that I didn’t pack my heart meds or vitamins. Lesson learned. From now on when I travel I take my work laptop and extra meds.
In typical Indianapolis fashion I wouldn’t be taking AmTrak home. They put me on another overcrowded bus home. Needless to say I was not in a good mood. Thankfully Dawn sent me with a flask of Jameson which is the only thing that got me home in a somewhat decent mood.
I missed 2 days of work but at the same time and grateful for Dawn and her family treating me to a Thanksgiving dinner.
In the end Indianapolis has once again left a bad taste in my mouth. Nuff said
Alicia was kind enough to sign this wonder LP for me.
Obviously I’ve been VERY busy this autumn. Sept – mid December this season is busier than ever. And it’s good. I’ve been working a lot. I’ve only been in the office 1 time since August. I work with the most sincere and talented not to mention supportive team I’ve ever had the opportunity to serve.
So my last real post was the Oct thread back in Oct. On Labor Day weekend as I documented I was in Iowa with Dale and Anne. It included just about the most relaxing canoe trip I’ve ever been on. Dawn came to visit later in the month. Oct 1-4 saw me in Dallas TX to stay the weekend with Nico and see old friends. 2 weeks later Nico came to visit for less than 24 hrs to see Alicia Witt with me and Dawn came a week later.
PodCasts have been sparse mostly due to mandates and restrictions in Chicago and the state of Illinois most of my artistic friends are afraid to do in person. REMEMBER: “FEAR SELLS” SAYS CNN DIRECTOR CHARLIE CHESTER?
Chester continued spilling CNN secrets, saying “I am a hundred percent going to say this and I a hundred percent believe it that if it wasn’t for CNN, I don’t know that Trump would have gotten voted out”.
According to Project Veritas, these videos were secretly recorded while Chester was on his Tinder (dating app) dates with a female Veritas journalist working undercover.
In the video, Chester states that the “Covid-19 story should be coming to an end”, and that CNN is prepared to focus on “selling” the climate change story and promote “fear”.
Chester also shared, “I was trying to do some research on the Asian hate, like the people who are getting attacked and whatnot. A bunch of black men have been attacking Asians. I’m like ‘What are you doing? Like, we [CNN] are trying to help BLM.”
Thanksgiving I’ll be spending in Indiana with old friends and then I have my annual birthday trip to the Looney Bin. Detroit Jason is joining me on that Friday and that Saturday Dane, Jeff, Miranda and Ed are driving up. I have no Christmas plans and New Years will be spending with Bob Hoeksema. Oy vey!
The next live on location MKULTRASOUND PodCast will be at the above event the afternoon of December 19th.
My second roundtrip to Michigan with Dale since August. This tome we stayed over night.
The welcome area/rest area in New Buffalo is one if the nicest I’ve ever been to.
Back from 1983-1985 I worked as a cook at Bob Evens in St Clairsville OH and I’m still close to several of those who I worked with back then. For most of my mid 20s-mid 30’s I at at different Bob Evans throughout the Midwest. Almost every Monday for 5 years my Aunt Jeannie and I would eat there regularly before both of us had to be at work. So since moving to Chicago in 1998 I haven’t eaten there once. Well that changed the weekend of Nov 11-Nov19, Dale and I ate at BE in Big Rapids MI as well as Jackson MI.
The food is a good as ever. I had fun telling the employees about how the rules have changed and how strict the dress code was. For men, hair could not touch your collar, white short sleeved dress shirts with t shirts under and a bolo tie and the standard black slacks. Also men could not have sideburns any longer than the mid ear. Certainly visible tattoos would guarantee you were not going to be hired.
Its so much more casual and relaxed now. All employees wear jeans.
Above my all – time favorite sausage gravy and dinner roils with a side on links.
We’ve been talkin’ ’bout Jackson
Ever since the fire went out.
I’m goin’ to Jackson, I’m gonna mess around,
Yeah, I’m goin’ to Jackson,
Look out Jackson town. Well, go on down to Jackson; go ahead and wreck your health.
Go play your hand you big-talkin’ man, make a big fool of yourself,
Yeah, go to Jackson; go comb your hair! Honey, I’m gonna snowball Jackson. See if I care.
The Jim Crow Museum of Racist Memorabilia at Ferris State University, Big Rapids, Michigan, displays a wide variety of everyday artifacts depicting the history of racist portrayals of African Americans in American popular culture. The mission of the Jim Crow Museum is to use objects of intolerance to teach tolerance and promote social justice.
The Jim Crow Museum of Racist Memorabilia has a collection of over 10,000 objects, primarily created between the 1870s and the 1960s. It also includes contemporary objects. The museum is named after Jim Crow, a song-and-dance caricature of blacks that by 1838 had become a pejorative expression meaning “Negro”. When at the end of the 19th century American legislatures passed laws of racial segregation directed against blacks, these statutes became known as the Jim Crow laws.
The museum demonstrates how racist ideas and anti-black images were pervasive within American culture. It also displays artifacts related to contemporary forms of racism, stories about African American achievements, and the Civil Rights Movement.
David Pilgrim, a former professor of sociology, and now Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion at Ferris State University, started to collect racist memorabilia in flea markets across America in the 1970s. By 1996, the collection had grown to over 2,000 pieces, and Pilgrim decided to donate the collection to Ferris State because “it needed a real home.” The collection was housed for 15 years in a small space, utilized as a teaching tool for university classes. In 2012 the Jim Crow Museum was opened to the public as a larger, brand new facility, located in the lower level of Ferris State University’s FLITE Building.
The Jim Crow Museum houses over 10,000 artifacts; the majority of the objects were created between the 1870s and the 1960s. The largest portion of the museum’s holdings is anti-black memorabilia, for example, mammy candles, Nellie fishing lures, picaninny ashtrays, sambo masks, and lawn jockeys. The museum also displays Jim Crow memorabilia—books, signs, tickets, brochures, and photographs—that promoted racial segregation.
Red Robin across the hwy from where we stayed the night in a very cold and rainy Ann Arbor.
I ordered a double Burnin Love Burger and it was not easy to eat.
Dale ordered a cookie and onion rings and they accidently made a mistake and gave him this sundae
Dawn came to town the weekend before Halloween and we kicked of her visit by going to the Dispensary and then to Asia On Argyle to eat at Pho Viet
Then at home Saturday I made a big pot of Sinigang with the Crock Pot Too that Dark gifted me with last winter.
You wrote a review for City Winery 2 weeks ago
On Sunday Oct 17th we arrived just before the doors opened at 11 AM at the City Winery and were ecstatic. I had always wanted to see a show and when I saw Alicia Witt would be playing I bought tickets over the summer and had 2 seats at a table right in front of the stage. I had seen her perform 2 times before over the last 6 years and was very happy to see a concert for the first time since the pandemic hit. My friend from Texas flew in late night the night before just to see the show and she would be flying back later that evening. The show was to begin at 12 noon which was odd but no big deal as I’d have to push my podcast a few hours later, but like I said no big deal, this was Alicia Witt!!!!
The space is beautiful and definitely a step up from most venues. We were escorted to our seats and placed an order from the menu. After the order my friend had to use the ladies room. She returned with a look of both horror and disgrace as she sat down. She told me the ladies room was a complete disgusting mess and there was no toilet paper in any of the stalls. Out of curiosity I went to use the men’s room. It looked like a Wrigleyville Bar after a Cubs game, no exaggeration here. It seems like a bunch of Frat guys tore it up and actually put the toilet paper rolls into the toilets. I couldn’t believe it. The place had JUST opened its doors. Several others at the table joined in our conversation and my friend from Texas complained to the waitress. After that the manager came over to apologize and explain that there was a wedding the night before and they didn’t have time to restock or clean and she told us she’d cover our first round. (we had 2 and a plate of meats) Now I’ve worked in the service industry in my early 20’s and later was a wedding DJ and I’ve never seen anything like this. You just don’t go home until the work is complete. I really don’t see an excuse for a restroom at a higher end venue such as City Winery for them to open to the public with such unsanitary conditions. Hello, this is the age of COVID and Chicago has some of the strictest mandates in the country.
We did enjoy the show, it was very well produced, Alicia as always is personable, charming and wonderfully talented. The sound was incredible; When we got we got our tab and nothing was comped as promised. I paid without complaint and tipped and left. We came back to my studio and did a podcast about the show and YES we did talk about the conditions of the restrooms at City Winery.
Laura F. Business Manager
Hello Alex. I must apologize for your experience with us at City Winery. There is absolutely no satisfactory explanation for what occurred. I can only assure you that this is unacceptable and not how City Winery wishes to present itself. We have reworked our cleaning protocols to ensure this does not happen again. Thank you for your feedback. If you would like to message me offline at email@example.com, I can look into your bill and make the promised adjustments.
I look forward to hearing from you.
To say that I’ve been busy would be a gross under statement. I’ve been on the road and in the air a lot this autumn and I’m not quite done. Not to mention when I’m not OTR I’m working my butt off for my job, which is luckily VERY BUSY. So for now I’ll just post some pix and I’ll be adding a lot more as I wait for Mina Dragomirova in Arlington TX to send pix from the Alicia Witt concert last Sunday at the City Winery here in Chicago. I’ll fill in the blanks with text as I have time.
October has been a magical month overall. Not to say it didn’t also have the stresses and dramas of my day to day life as of late but there were some moments I was able to take a couple of weekends and temporarily put most of it behind me.
October is also my favorite month of the year.
One month after a wonderful and peaceful trip to Iowa to visit dale and Anne via Trailways bus, I flew to Dallas TX for a few overdue reunions. I was invited by an old friend of nearly 2 decades who I hadn’t seen since Autumn of 2006 model and actress Mina Dragomirova (Nico) who looks as great as I remember. She is also smart, kind and fun. I would also get to seem my best friend from my teen years, junior high and high school, Kevin Finsley who I last saw after graduation 1983.
It was also in 1983 that I moved for the summer to Dallas TX and my summer girlfriend was Valerie Kenwell who has visited me several times over the last decade here in Chicago. She as well as Dawn Barbee who is visiting me this weekend help me through a very rough patch back in 2018.
Mina Dragomirova (Nico)
Mina Dragomirova (Nico) in Chicago
Reunited for the first time since 2006 at Chicago GlamourCon
I had left my home at 330 AM to go to Ohare for a 630 AM flight. I had nothing to eat and everything at the airport was closed. On the plane I was already hungry. I didn’t drink much water because the plane was packed and I didn’t want to have to leave my window seat and crawl over two passengers to use the restroom. So by the time I landed at DFW around 1130 AM I had to pee and really needed to eat.
When I found Nico napping on the floor at baggage claim I stood above her and waited for my suitcase and for her to wake. Within a minute I got a very big hug from a very little lady.
It didn’t take long and we were in her nice new hot rod and headed to eat at this excellent breakfast place called FIRST WATCH. Now when Alex is in the south he must have grits and these were maybe the best I’ve ever had. Chimes on campus in Baton Rouge is really good too. The entire meal was more than satisfying and the staff was excellent. The restaurant was spacious and clean.
This is actually at Chilis near DFW where we had drinks on my way back to Chicago the afternoon of my flight home.
Breakfast again at FIRST WATCH Oct 4 on my way home to Chicago
My new friends. Buddy, Cherry-Bomb, Lucyfurr, Pip Squeak . I fell head over heels in love with Lucyfurr
Nico’s shot glass and 2 books I would read her poems from next to her pool
Abuelo’s Mexican Restaurant Arlington TX
This restaurant was excellent and a beautiful décor and very affordable compared to Chicago. I ordered 3 entrees and 2 margaritas for myself and it was only $86 and some change. I got to meet Nico’s trainer Maya a wonderful and successful Serbian woman. Valerie who my my flame in the summer of 1983 stopped in but the pièce de ré·sis·tance without a doubt was reuniting with my best friend from my teen years Kevin Finsley who I last saw in May 1983, and his wife Faye. So many memories of our days. We’ve both list our parents recently. BTW his mother till the end referred to me as Crazy Horse.
LTR: Mina Dragomirova (Nico), Alex Zander, Maja Bajac, MA, PhD abd, CPT , Kevin and Faye Finsley
Kevin and I having our first legal drink ever
Union Local High School Spanish/French Club dinner: Jay Coffield, Alex and Kevin 1980/1981
FORK YOU TOO KEVIN!
Very happy for a LOT of reasons
Valerie Kenwell my 1983 summer girlfriend with Mina Dragomirova (Nico)
Reading Bukowski for Mina Dragomirova (Nico) poolside
When I returned we did an excellent with Dave from DERISION CULT. His music and videos are killer. We filmed it for YouTube and it was very well received. If you like MINISTRY you’ll love this band.
Cassie Balazic back at the helm.
Thanks to my good friend Emily Sifrit for helping enhance the podcasting experience.
Saturday Oct 16 Eden Lake popped over as she was in the city doing some charity work. We got to spend some quality time together before Nico would be arriving around midnight for the next days matinee performance by Alicia Witt at the City Winery. I also learned her and Gary are getting married. I’ve offered my Clergy services.
Good morning Nico!
We did an abbreviated podcast talking about the Alicia Witt show and playing 2 of her songs. Alicia is one of my top performers on stage and screen. True talent.
Sunday morning Oct 17 warm enough to have coffee outside.
Waiting for Uber which was surged priced due to a Bears game at the same time as or show.
Alicia Witt Setlist 10/17/2021 at City Winery, Chicago, IL
I Hope It’s Me
Talk to You
Down Se Goes
Coffee at City Winery (Alicia’s improv on piano)
Lie to Me
Last Surviving Son
I’m Not Ready for Christmas (Explicit version)
Alicia and Nico both in dresses and boots.
Nico and Alicia Witt
On her way back to Ohare we stopped at this Serbian Restaurant suggested by her friend/trainer Maya. Cafe Beograd
2933-39 W. Irving Park Rd. Chicago IL
Ever since I moved to this street in 2005 I’ve loved walking down the 2 block stretch of Kenmore in the Buena Park neighborhood I’ve called home ever since. The association Buena Park Neighbors always host and encourage a home decorating contest. My landlords house where I live used to win but they stopped decorating as their kids got older over 12 yrs ago.