Time + Distance = obnoxious math word problems and no mucho mas. Leaving, moving, mas o menos, on Aprtil foo’s day yo habloed hasta yo y tu comiendo tambien.
La familia loaded up the covered wagon (Honda Pilot) and began our great march South to the casa Nuevo en Florida. The psychological underpinnings of this great relocation have yet to completely sort themselves out because I figured I’d passed through Kubler-Roth’s great grieving adventure passing ‘GOne’ and saving the hundreds on therapy, and yet today, it seems upon further reflection I’m as incurable a nut as Cleopatra, The Queen of Denial.
This was to be the final post en Chicago about a dogs of design downer. Instead making a final tread along the concrete shores of Lake Michigan I revisited the topic of tuna which may suggests some deeper gray matter fue fishing for connective comida del Mexicano btw Chicago, Az and Florida. Like subliminal messages burped up from playing ‘Margaritaville’ backwards on my brain stem. Or not. Or maybe it was my cholestoral report. Or not
Y so the last Chi-Mex supper had been long mapped out, replete with ham-fisted allegory, as is my habit, iPhone pic and run-on sentences, river-o-consciousness ramblings and pithy tags. Only before I could put thumb to iPhone keypad – vamanos – we were off quicker than the beat of Paul Ryan’s racist but not ‘Racist’ Trump-hate/loving heart.
But alas, until now, dos plus months beyond the move, I may at last be able to complete the post as both the timeliness of its politics and tears have dried up, hopefully for bueno.
Instead of a scathing report on Republicans and their shameless Latinization con Cruz y Rubio y Geraldo (today’s jabe to the La Casa Blanca), with a mucho grande gracias to MVP Senor Trump (the pre-emptve CEO – though he reminds me much more of a screaming NCAA football coach; the true essence of this human cherry bomb’s appeal – of the this centuries Decline of The Western Civilization) drowning in Mexican Hate-o-rade victoriously dumped on him by the Grand Dragon of Old Parties, I’ve instead decided to aim my critical ojo on The Design of Western Civilization, and one of it’s major hubs/usb ports: Chicago.
Latinicity or Latiniateria or whatever the latest Food Network celebrity response to Mario Batali’s Eataly (yeah, a shameless appropriation of palabra-play if ever there was uno) is called, opened in charge Chi-downtown, to many press preview parties and subsequent El Patron fueled fanfare: a food-court cum Mercado for those who love Latin food and culture (read: “happy hour margaritas”). Y tambien, a last-ditch effort to resurrect Block 37, perhaps the ugliest building in the Loop, still touted as THE ANSWER TO CHICAGO’S NEED FOR AN URBAN SHOP & DINE EXPERIENCE. (Yes, “DINE”, as this was copied and pasted directly from the apparently unproofread website which I suspect was not intended to mean Navajo Tacos (see IFLAG post numero uno ).
The few times I ducked into Block 37 – only ever to escape frostbite – its architectural design smacked much more of a set for a Logan’s Run reboot than THE ANSWER TO CHICAGO’S NEED FOR AN URBAN SHOP & DINE EXPERIENCE.
When I read about this NR17 Rain Forest café I figured, WTF, “I’ve got no expectations, barring a run-in with a Farrah-Fawcett Majors zombie. Beyond Chipotle there’s nada comida en El Loop I can get to and from over the course of my lunch hour” (Tamale Spaceship Foodtruck notwithstanding – their el pato tamales being, fckin otherworldly – and sightings as rare as that of a UFO – pinche Mayor Rammel –oh caca, here come the tears…..).
Y tambien, according to the Internet, the Latineria had DF Hot Dogs (see post en la pasada for inane dedication to mi El NorteAmMex comida favorita) for sale: vamanos.
Upon entering and receiving the eatery equivalent of a Ventra card, I really wish I hadn’t noticed how the Latineria occupies a space across the Block 37 from the future home to The Chicago Design Museum.
As noted by the following diatribe, the existence of this museo completely derailed any “authentic Latin@ comida” experience for sale. “Design” flashed in my hippocampus not like some donkey show Tijuana neon rather more along the lines of an unstoppable iPhone update message from the moment I crossed into Latin@land (Que that a parrot I heard being butchered or some narcos ring tone?) until I handed over my specially designed plastic Latinateria ticket to an truly lovely cashier, with whom I left with behind my own designs on.
Por que why? To me, and I’m sure pretty sure I’m not alone on this, en 2016 ASJ (After Steve Jobs), “Design”, etsa one of those palabras like “Innovation” and “TED” and “Sizzlelean” that upon reading or hearing, delivers unto the esophagus, a rank, sour and acidic barf bubble. It’s no new news we’ve become a country of designers and PowerPointers. And it’s also not not troubling. Design does not quality products make. Design, IMO, means “looks great on a computer screen” and “click here to complete purchase and “just make the check out to Steve Jobs, don’t bother with commas between all those zeros; I prefer a clean, acetic look to my billions”.
The irony of this last quote is not lost on yo, as I type, blog, etc exclusively on Apple products/fetish objects. Y tambien, the irony of The Design Museum en Chicago is likely lost on most, as while Chicago gave the world the design doctrine “Form follows function”, ahora function has been thrown out with the bathtub gin-water. Por ejemplo: I also type on a MacBook patched together with decals, housing a dead battery, with a spell check to whom Sizzlelean, TED and even iPad exist not, all the while searing my left leg due to a defunct cooling fan. Should I even bother mentioning iTunes placing Yo La Tengo in a Latin folder?
Upon their credo, Louis Sullivan and his Modernist crew hoped to drive a sacred nail – upon which to hang a placard engraved with the three Fs – into their architecture – whom we may also thank for lovely eye-sores like Block 37 – forever ever dictating how we the bourgeois people shall design evermore forever (mira that meta mash-up of Outkast/Chief Joseph/Edgar Allen Poe yo).
But because we’re typing about comida here, I’d like to suggest the 3Fs, really now a museum-piece, might have also once applied to a comestible Chicago design/architectural masterpiece: the hot dog. (Tweet #thegreatchicagohotdogdatabase for more information).
Design function: within a hot dog bun, incorporate ingredients for complete meal, but for fruit and dessert, in such a manner that said meal can be consumed without spill or need for flatware using only one hand, preferably whilst standing with ice cold beer firmly gripped in other hand. Napkins be damned.
Form: length and circumference not unlike that of a spent toilet paper roll.
But just as sure as DJ Screw’s Screwed Up sound descended from Mexican radio rebejados, the Chicago hot dog can’t possibly not have roots in the Mexican Sonoran Hot Dog which no duh, owes its existence to the taco which brings us back to the Latineria DF Hot Dog pictured here:
Mira: Looks sabrosa y tipica in a photograph, in reality, the only thing DF about it was the bacon.
This DF Dog can trace its origins to New England where they serve their “frankfurters” with slaw, atop top-sliced (rather than side-split) Texas toast (no doubt, leftover from losterrolls) and where the less salty, likely scoop out of their shrimp that nasty little shit strip spine line which on this dog attempted to pass for some black bean paste when in actuality owed its consistency and flavor to, well, caca, a lot of which I have eaten in my day. (For more on this see blog post about tortillas as diapers and one father’s commitment to making one with his son.)
And now prepare to be amazed and astonished, as if you were about to be duped by the Cicrce De Blue Man Group Solie into believing that innocent man or woman unsuspectingly pulled from his or her seat up to the stage was not a schill (or hadn’t been asked to sign a release form prior to the curtains rising) as I dig deep into my bag of pop cultural references to close out this this this post and this this this blog and otherwise binary prolix exercise in self-pleasure:
Both Albert Brooks in “Modern Romance” and Lenny Bruce on heroin have brilliantly riffed on that special kind of sucker punch delivered by the latest ex-wife, girl, boy, parent, lover, pet when answering the question “So, have you been seeing anyone?” with a resounding “Yes. How about you?” And how this delivers unto the esophagus, a rank, sour and acidic barf bubble causing one to literally gag on one’s burning heart through which one chokes out a vague: “Of course…” And how for convenience sake and beacuase men are not supposed to cry, the “not” set to follow the elipsis gets left off.
So yeah, Chicago has moved on as have yo. No doubt she’s already seeing thousands of suitors blogging and tweeting about the heaping helpings of Chi-Mex food available at her finer stores, street corners and on Maxwell Street.
Who me? Well, thanks for asking, Chicago (and Arizona) “Of course” I am happy as a gator on a golf course living in Orlando. But don’t expect me to be blogging or Tweeting about Blue Crab Salsa or whatever Fla-Mex meals I scrape together at home any time soon. Or ever even. I’ve moved on and will once again enjoy solid food, most likely nautical themed, once they dislodge from my throat this seared, sad, broken heart.