NoirWHALE

*I wrote this essay over the last few weeks for a 300-level English course– It’s an example of the scholarly work in the noir genre I hope to do when I begin post-graduate studies. Enjoy.

“You won’t need much of anybody’s help. You’re good. You’re very good. It’s chiefly your eyes, I think, and that throb you get in your voice when you say things like ‘Be generous, Mr. Spade.’”

Sam Spade: Masculinity under Threat
The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett is a definitive piece of the hardboiled noir fiction genre. As such its protagonist, Sam Spade, is the subject of frequent discussion and review, particularly those studies pertaining to modern masculinity. Current scholarship topics tend toward definition, although “noir is notoriously difficult to define,” and speak of the genre and The Maltese Falcon as a “symbolic stage upon which crisis is negotiated via changes in gender paradigms” (Entin 86…

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Non-Sequitur # 59: SHHEEEIIIITTTTT!!!!!

Yeah, I kinda live there…

So. yeah…This week hadn’t been the greatest for me. I haven’t worked at all and I’ve been kinda bummed about that. I felt a little better after going to the movies Thursday. And Friday I thought I’d try to do something creative. Actually, I’d fallen asleep listening to NPR, then I decided to stop being so lazy and try to do something creative. So, it’s around um…after 5pm and I thought I’d get some beer and run back in the house.

As I left my apartment, I noticed policemen lounging around in the hallway on my floor. They told me  to take the stairs and I saw firemen in stairwell, so I dunno…I guess there’s something wrong with the elevators. Whatever. When I got to the ground floor, I asked the doorman what was going on. He said something like, “Oh, we got a tenant…” and trailed off. I then assumed either maybe someone called the cops cuz the guy in there was drunk or maybe he’d been evicted and didn’t want to go. Whatever.

So, I went to the liquor store, got my beer, and walked home. As I approached my building, a female detective told me I couldn’t go any further. I said, “Oh, I just live right there in that building.” She said, “Well, that’s where the problem is,” and ushered me and a couple of other people across the street. Then the loose rumors started. What’s going on? Someone’s gone crazy? Someone’s got a gun? Guns? Fuuck…

The police then told us  to move further down the street and started to section off the area with yellow tape. Maybe it WAS getting serious? It’s a hostage situation, evidently.  The older guy who lives on my floor, supposedly, he’s got a gun and a girl in his room and he won’t come out. I know the guy and usually he’s kinda low-key unless he’s drunk, so I figured the police would  talk him down and we’ll get to go inside shortly.

While I was lending against the wall waiting  a woman walked up to me and asked what was going on. I told her and we got to talking. Then some crazy dude walked up to us saying, “Move along! Good day!” He had to say it twice for me to realize that he was talking to me. He told me to stop messing with his wife. He walked her away and I heard him say,”I know him, he’s a hype.” I said, “Dude, you don’t know me!” He continued walking and said, “Good day!” I replied,  “No! Good day to you!” The male detective who was standing in front of the yellow tape smirked at the lameness of this confrontation.  Not long after, the police told those of still standing there  to move even further down to the end of the block. It  definitely was getting serious.

Now, I don’t know about you, but when I see yellow police tape and the entire street blocked off and cops are standing around with automatic rifles, I assume the situation is not trivial. It’s funny how many people were miffed cuz the police told approaching people they had to either wait or go around the block. Can’t I just go over there? No, it’s very dangerous situation! Tsk! How inconvenient!

After awhile the temperature started to drop and the sun began to sink. I stood by another woman who lived in my building and we talked for a moment. She shared her coffee with me and also offered me a sip from her half pint (rum I think). I told her I’d be  cool with the beer I bought but thanked her for the offer.  Some people began to wonder aloud why the police didn’t just charge in the room and get the guy. It’s also funny how the rumors and stories started to circulate. Some people were saying a man shot someone and ran into the building. Some were saying that he was shot in the leg and ran into the building. The best one was that he had a bomb.

Eventually, the police slowly began to take down the yellow tape and told us that we could pass. When I entered the lobby, the building management told us to wait before we went on the fifth floor because the cops used tear gas to get the man out and it would take a little awhile to air out the hallway.

Apparently, what happened was that  it was the old army vet that lives on my floor. He hadn’t been taking his medication, however, he was getting high with a couple of girls. He thought one of them stole something from him and wouldn’t let them leave. Turns out he didn’t have a gun, although he did have a machete and knives. Reportedly, he was throwing the knives at the inside of the door when the police were here. When they got tired of trying to negotiate, the police used tear gas on him. They took dude to the hospital. I’m not sure what all the formal charges will be.

So, I guess that’s it.  Originally, I was going to write about seeing that movie The Master and some other random stuff, but yeah…shit got wild for a minute…

Fabulous!

Foodimentary - National Food Holidays

Here are today’s five thing to know about Cheeseburger:

  • The oldest fast food restaurant in the world is the White Castle franchise, which opened in 1921.
  • The people of America eat more burgers out at restaurants or on the go than they do at home.
  • The largest hamburger ever created was over 8,000 pounds and was cooked for a burger festival in Wisconsin.
  • However, the hamburger in its current form, with ground beef and a bun, is a decidedly American creation.
  • Hamburgers are made of beef, not ham, and there is much debate over whether they actually originated in Hamburg.

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Today’s Pinterest Board : Burgers + Made Better

dvdr1

Today’s Food History

  • 1709 Samuel Johnson, dictionary author, was born. I have read somewhere that he served his cat fresh shucked oysters.
  • 1851 The first edition of the New York Times was published.
  • 1883 Elmer Maytag was born. Founder of the…

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Yes indeed…

Foodimentary - National Food Holidays

National Scotch Day

Five Food Finds about Scotch

  • Single Malt Scotch Whisky is made from 100% malted barley and distilled at a single distillery.
  • Blended Scotch Whisky is made by blending together a number of single malts and grain whiskies.
  • 90% of all Scotch whisky sold in the market comprises of Blended Scotch Whisky.
  • The whisky in ‘Scotch Whisky’ is always spelt without an ‘e’.
  • In Britain, the term ‘whisky’ is taken to mean Scotch whisky only, unless it has been specified otherwise.

Today’s Food History

on this day in…

1880 A.P. Abourne patented a method for refining coconut oil.

1910 Large hailstones fall in Todd and Wadena counties in Minnesota, some weighing as much as 5 pounds.

1931 A swarm of grasshoppers destroyed thousands of acres of crops in Iowa, Nebraska and South Dakota. The corn fields were totally destroyed, without a stalk left standing.

1931 Auguste-Henri Forel was…

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Non-Sequitur # 57: A Chance For Folks To Meet

The Simple Things You Say Are All Complicated!

Yeah, so like I had a lot of stuff on my mind, then I forgot a lot of it,  then I thought of some other things to write about, then I got lazy, so um…let’s just jump in here…

I walked  to the grocery store early this morning and when I turned down one particular street, I saw  workers towing tons of cars. It was very weird then I remembered that they changed the route of the Gay Pride Parade this year and the starting point was actually in my neighborhood. I looked around and noticed all sorts of little signs on the trees that had messages about parking restrictions. I thought yeah, lots of people are gonna come out of these apartments in a couple hours and be PISSED.

A couple hours later I went to a different grocery store to buy beer. Masses of people had started to gather for the pride parade and then I thought, “Hey, this is the corner where those young dudes sometimes try to sell weed. I bet they won’t be out here today.”  Sure enough, as I passed their favorite awning, I walked by a dude on his cell phone pleading with one of his buddies, “But…Dude! Yer missin’ out on all this money! An’ I’m mad at so-and-so cuz I cain’t even get him on the phone!” I kinda wondered if his buddies didn’t want to come out because they were homophobic or if they were just more than likely concerned about increased police presence.

Sort of related to the above, yesterday, I passed the liquor store and there were a few guys  having a heated discussion out front. It was two wino looking guys  and one slightly younger dude in a shirt and tie. The tie guy was saying, “God’s not gonna go to Phelps ( I can only assume they were talking about the Father Phelps who goes around protesting gays at the funerals of dead soldiers) and say, ‘Ok, what was he doing…and what was he  doing…and what was he doing’…God’s gonna come and say, ‘What were YOU doing?” One of the wino guys replied, “But would YOU have sex with another man? Would YOU suck a dick?” I kinda thought…homie, if yer gonna get into a religious argument, ya gotta do better than, “But would you suck a dick?”  Understand, I’m not  making a case one way of the other for homosexuality, BUT…I’m not going to grow my beard out right now, that doesn’t automatically mean I think that people who do are morally suspect.

Yesterday, I walked to the local comic book store. On one particular corner ( at a strip mall nowhere near the comic book store by the way)  I saw a dude dressed like a superhero just sort of standing there. His suit was white with gold accents and he had sort of a Thor looking head piece with wings on the side. Thing is, I’d seen him a few weeks ago at the corner near my house ( his name was Spear Guardian or something, I can’t remember exactly). At that time, I thought he must be going to some party or event or just cosplaying for fun or something. Now I wonder if he’s trying to become the Phoenix Jones of the north side or whatever. All I can say is do yer thing, bud…but be careful. There’s lots of wannabe drug dealers with drooping pants around here, but there’s also real criminals too, so watch yer back.

Um, what else? …Oh!

Last weekend I went downtown to an indie comics convention. It was a BEAUTIFUL day. It was right before the Puerto Rican Day Parade ( Yes, another parade. It’s Chicago. From here on in there’s not going to be one weekend without either a parade or neighborhood fest, just deal with it). The Chicago Alternative Comics Expo was at Columbia College downtownhttp://www.cakechicago.com/. I got down there a little early, so I killed time at a Harold’s Chicken on Wabash St. I gotta say, that Harold’s is way better than the one by my house. It was bigger and extremely well light. The small fries I ordered would have been a large at almost any other eating establishment.

I didn’t check out any of the comics for sale at the convention cuz I’d already spent my comics budget for the week and I was mainly interested in seeing one  panel about women and atuobio comics. I thought they’d have an unique perspective on the medium. The artists had pretty interesting things to say about visual style and how much of real life they choose to put into their strips. I was a little surprised when one of the women made a random Jack Kirby  reference, but what REALLY surprised me was all the 80’s punk rock music that was playing over the loudspeakers before the panel started. Here’s what stood out that I can remember…

7  Seconds – Clenched Fists Black Eyes

Black Flag –You Bet We’ve Got Something Personal Against You

Fear-I Love Living In The City

Misfits –40 Eyes

Fugazi- I don’t know which song, but I know it was Fugazi

Ramones- Blitzkrieg Bop

I totally remember that stuff from my teenage years. Hearing it in this venue made me feel both young again and very old at the same time. Fuggin’ mortality…

Also, last weekend there a street fest right here in my neighborhood. It was Chicago Pizza Fest or something. Even though it was within walking distance, I didn’t participate. The food they had there was exactly the same stuff I can get any day of the week only cheaper. They had live music of course. The headliners were 80’s new wave pop stars Berlin   and a local group called Too White Crew.  The bands might have gotten  me out there, then I remembered I only like one song by Berlin. An’ no…not Take Your Breath Away, but Masquerade.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=azr2ooLlfzQ The other group was Too White Crew, they’re a local group that  does hip-hop/pop cover from the 90’s.  I didn’t make the effort to stay. Then it turned out I needn’t bothered anyway cuz Too White Crew  were so loud that I could hear them from my apartment with the window up. Luckily, I guess, I like TLC and have nostalgic feelings for Bev  Biv Devoe, otherwise I might have been pissed.

Um, ok…as I finished typing that last paragraph, my internet went out. I figured, “Alright, I’ll go out and get some beer and come back to it.” Outside right now the streets are swarming  with young people. I guess because of events related to Pride Day. On the way back to my house , I saw two girls and one guy who I’m going to assume was gay walking towards me. It seemed they had just exchanged words with a couple of thug looking guys behind them. The guy was saying, “I thought I heard him call me  a bitch! I was gonna blah, blah, blah!”  I walked by the thugs, the bigger of the two I sorta recognize from the neighborhood. His partner, however, I noticed had his pants sagging in the stereotypical “gangsta” way. They were literally just past his ass. I’m thinking like, “You wanna make fun of a guy for being gay. but you have your underwear showing. Do you even know where that ‘fashion’ started?” OH, THE FUCKING IRONY.

Comedian #1: When Before Watchmen was announced I said I wasn’t going to buy this one. I was at the comic store and bought it anyway.I was disappointed. Fuck me.

Enuff negativity! Let’s remember sweet, sweet music! Martha and the Vandellas

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CdvITn5cAVc

 

Non-Sequitur #55: All The Way From Memphis Again

Black Widow by Shaun McGuan. Hey! This character is in some movie that’s kinda popular

You know this morning I had an idea for a column, but now I’m all just “Ahhhh…..”

Ok, so I’m back. I meant to do this blog like two days ago, but I got tired and basically just ran all out of steam. So, anyway…

I renewed my drivers license this week. I didn’t take too long. Maybe just under an hour and as you know, most of it was just waiting to be called. Then it was eye test, cashier, new picture…boom! Looking at the license, I can’t believe how fat the photo makes me look.

I’m actually typing this from Memphis. I just got into town last night. It was roughly a 10 hour trip. I took a discount bus this time and got a good deal on a round trip fare. Downside: although the bus was nicer than I thought it was going to be, it was also less roomy than Greyhound.  Which of course made it harder to sleep on. I brought a Dean Koontz novel to read. One of the side characters is a super-intelligent dog. Hmm…

I bought a couple of comics before I left. I was going to review them here, but maybe I’ll do a You Tube video. I’m not at my house so I’m not sure if it’s work. We’ll see.

I’m late with this tribute, but RIP,  Donna

Cool article about liver and onions! Yum! Stop your hatin’.

Foodimentary - National Food Holidays

National Liver and Onions Day

Five Food Finds about Liver and Onions

  •  Liver and onions is a favorite in the UK and in Germany, where it is usually eaten along with boiled or mashed potatoes.
  •  Lamb’s liver is the usual choice in the UK and is often accompanied by fried bacon.
  • In the French traditional recipe the liver is fried with butter and lard.
  • In Catalan cuisine olive oil is used, instead of butter, and fried garlic is added to the mixture.
  • In the USA, liver and onions as a dish once enjoyed widespread popularity and could usually be found at family diners and American home-style restaurants. This meal is currently more common to the cuisines of the southern and upper mid-western style foods.

Today’s Food History

on this day in…

1566 R.I.P. Leonhard Fuchs. He was a German botanist who compiled the first modern, organized listing of plants and…

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Non-Sequitir #54: Hands All Over

Illustration by R. Crumb

WTF?

Ah! It’s 45 degrees outside! What happened to spring?!

WTF? Crosstown Traffic

This happened a couple of weeks ago, on the way home there was a train delay CUZ THERE WAS A FUGGIN’ CAR ON THE EL TRAIN TRACKS. This will be a little hard to explain, but where I live the train I take to work runs parallel to the express way. In most places there are fences and barriers and several yards between the El tracks and the cars. However, at this particular station there’s and chain link fence and some grass. Somehow, a driver lost control of his car, went through a section of the fence and ended up on the tracks. There was like an hour delay mostly due to bureaucracy. This particular stop is where city and suburban public transportation meet so there was a lot of back and forth over who had responsibilty/jurisidiction to remove the auto, send shuttle buses, etc. But, yeah…car on the El train tracks!

WTF? This Is Not In My Job Description

That same week I spent a considerable amount of time doing manual labor at my day job. Normally my work day is 80% sitting behind a desk, so it was a kinda a nice change of pace to install shelves, move refrigerators, and lift tables. I felt quite manly.

WTF? My Cassette Player Is Starting To Die and I Will Soon Be SOL Cuz Nobody Cares About Cassettes Anymore

I’ve been listening to old Soundgarden tapes…makes me feels like writing superhero comics. Maybe something with space giants…

WTF? Use Your Dellusion

So, like I guess Guns and Roses got inducted into the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame, but singer Alex Rose didn’t want to attend. Most of the other ex-members made it though and performed with a substitute singer. I guess Alex’s reasoning was that it would distract from his current version of the band which has no original members. Alex! No one cared about Chinese Democracy! Your friggin’ ego drove away all the talented guys in your group and you’ve descended in self parody. FRIGGIN’ GET OVER YOURSELF!

WTF? Saturday Nite’s Alright

Last Saturday…not this past Saturday, but the Saturday before then…a liquor store that I’ve been going to for at least four years asked me for ID. I was shocked. I am a middle aged man. My temples are starting to go gray. The fuggers behind the counter see me every other week, they friggin’ know me! On the other hand, the block where this particular store is, there’s sometimes some pretty sketchy people hanging around and I wonder if the authorities are watching the goings on of this place a little closer. If that’s the case, I’m not mad, but like I said, I was shocked at the time. And, yeah…I didn’t have my ID with me so I had to go all out my to another store. Dammit.

Slightly related, when I was coming out of the 2nd liquor store I saw a woman I know from my building. Normally when I see her she’s all serious and formal with me. This time though she was all smiles and laughter. I saw her get into a car with another young lady and thought… aww, a special saturday night can cure anyone’s disposition.

Avengers Assemble #2:  I still like Marc Bagley’s art, but Brian Michael Bendis writes a terrible Hulk.

Supergirl #8:  Guest art by George Perez, yes more please.

Defenders #5: I’m still pleasantly surprised by Matt Fractions story. The art here is by Mitch Breitheiser, I don’t think it’s bad, but I’m not sure it’s suited for this type of comic.

Ok, so the superhero comic will be about a team and it’ll have space giants, and old rusty alien tech and maybe the aliens talk in math equations and I was thinking there should be a religious cult in there somewhere and maybe the team could have a pet mascot like a big dog or a big ugly fish or something…what? C’mon! I’m still figuring it out!