The Good Word of Sprout

Location: Chicago, Illinois, United States

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Basic Journalism




Pooped mid-flight


Last night


In Wheaton, IL, a mile or so above the hood of my aunt's car.


My cousin was using the bathroom. My aunt gave me a Bible for Christmas and advised me to repent.


Tuesday, December 18, 2007

The Mother of Invention

Okay, here we go. I'm going to make myself dinner. I have been out, drinking Christmas Ales and joking with the bald man in the corner. I haven't had dinner yet, and it's eleven. Ordering delivery dinner gives me guilt. It costs twenty dollars because if you trouble the delivery man with a seven-dollar order, then he will unwrap your dinner and use it to keep his crotch warm on this snowy night. Twenty dollars buys a lot of food at the grocery store. I could get butter and fresh eggs, maybe some tortillas and queso fresco, and then I could open up that little can of chiles, and...well, there's no use torturing myself about it.

I look at my menus. I want to order Italian beef. In this city, Italian beef is sliced beef on a long roll dipped in beef juice and topped with sweet peppers, or hot peppers if you're an asshole. I'm going to try to replicate the mouth-orgasm of the last juice-soaked sandwich bite despite the fact that I have no beef.

I have three slices of bread that I've torn into pieces and placed in an oven-safe dish in a 250 degree oven, seasoned with garlic salt. The idea behind this is to dehydrate the bread so that it will absorb more beef juice. I have both water and beef boullion cubes. The directions call for two cups boiling water for each cube. I use one cube. The water is boiling already. That was quick.

After dissolving the cube in the water, I've reduced the heat to a simmer to hopefully intensify the beef flavor without it becoming unbearably salty. I've done this because I intend to drink another beer before eating.

I have beans, I have lentils, I have chickpeas, but I think it's stupid to try to imitate beef. It's best to go with the next best thing: cheese. So I've chopped up half a pound of pepper-jack. My intention is to pour the juice onto the bread, top it with the cheese, and leave it in the oven until it no longer looks like soup.

Good news here, the red bell pepper that I had in the fridge that I had assumed to be rotten is not (and I have verified this by tasting), so it shall grace the middle of my mixture, between the bread and the cheese, maybe with a splash of olive oil and fresh ground pepper (this is still before adding the cheese and juice).

It is done, and a voice says, "So you've made French onion soup without the onion, with some peppers."

"Yes," I say.

Result: Too wet. Next time I'll reduce the liquid by half. Or maybe I'll just order a beef sandwich. Crotch is seasoning too; it's oniony.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

A Good Day

Sunday is a good day for talking idly. It snowed yesterday, and I cleaned off my car this afternoon so I wouldn't have to do it tomorrow morning. If I had to do it tomorrow morning, well, I probably wouldn't. I would call in sick to work and spend Monday sniffing my dirty clothes and sorting them into piles labeled "Awful" and "Not So Awful." Then I would wash the "Awful" pile and dump it into the "Not So Awful" pile.

Sunday is a good day for not showering, but going grocery shopping nonetheless, with my scalp plainly visible under sleep-matted hair. I don't own any hats appropriate for the grocery store. And Sunday is a day of tolerance, so I tolerate the two women who park their shopping carts in the aisle and talk to each other, cop-style, so that even I with my basket over my head cannot pass. I wait, checking out the price of various lentils.

Sunday is a good day for washing dishes. Washing dishes leads to woman thoughts like, "I bet that sack of shit in the other room is just growing fatter by the minute, inhaling Chex Mix, and why isn't he helping? Oh, football. Football. I should take another yellow pill." And, as I close the hot water tap, I'm reminded that there is football on TV, and I have Chex Mix and yellow pills.

Sunday is a good day.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Currying future favor

As you read this, so does an eight-year old boy with a glibness without peer in today's blogosphere -- destined to blog with such irony, with such pathos, that the very Internet will bow to him. To this boy I say, "Penis! Vagina! Nipples! Poop!"


Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Problem/Solution/Com -plication

Problem: Social discomfort at family gatherings

Solution: Wine

Complication: Incest


Monday, December 10, 2007

Dialogue: Blogger and Blog Critic

I will eat tamales for dinner tonight.

No one cares about your dinner.

I bought these tamales from the Tamale Guy at a bar a month ago. The tamale guy carries three flavors of tamales: cheese, pork, and mystery. Mine are pork. I froze them, and two nights ago I put them in my refrigerator to defrost.

No one cares about your dinner.

Hey buddy. Do you mind not interrupting me? I'm telling people a story about tamales that ends with me eating them (the tamales).

No one cares about your dinner.

Hey, what's your problem? What are you, a blog critic?

Yes. And what you're writing is crap.

Did you always want to be blogger, but your life bores people? Maybe you just have low self-esteem, and you think no one would ever read about you. Hey, you're a human being. You're entitled to a blog.

I maintain six blogs. I update them every day. One of them is dedicated to exposing people who clutter the internet with mundane crap. That is you.

Oh, so you're just a prick.



Thursday, December 06, 2007

Basic Journalism


St. Nicholas


Filled my boots with oranges, walnuts, and candy.


Late last night or early this morning.


Outside the front door of my apartment.


Because I am a good boy of central European descent. I guess St. Nick hasn't seen my homemade porn. Or maybe he has, which would explain the hairs drawn on the walnuts...


Tuesday, December 04, 2007


Tonight in my humble Chicago neighborhood the first snow fell, filling me with a bright white kind of joy. The joy happens every year, despite the fact that I try not to feel during Winter. Why? Because Winter feelings, once I let them out, are much worse than those of Spring and Summer. A gray essence spread through my veins: the slow cold creep of death, due in twenty, thirty, forty, fifty years...but tonight I felt like sledding.

First of all, I don't have a sled, and that is a fundamental life mistake. I could easily keep a plastic saucer-sled in the trunk of my car. For fuck's sake, I keep a coffee-maker in there. And when do I ever use that coffee-maker? (The answer is occasionally.) And what's a plastic saucer-sled, like ten bucks? Fifteen? $3.99? It's affordable. But, then again, sledding is a whole lot more fun with a friend or an acquaintance.

"Well," I thought, "there must be a thousand people in this city who feel like I do. It's probability."

So I did a Google search. And I found a Chicago sledding club called "Protracted Adolescents for the Love of Sledding" (PALS). No joke. I aspire to be a protracted adolescent, so I called them up, and their first annual sledding event was open to the public for only $75, transportation included. I agreed to meet them at Montrose and Lake Shore Drive, but, in retrospect, I wonder why I agreed to that since transportation was supposed to be included.

I got there. I parked. I waited on the corner. From the west came seven or eight people clad in white snowsuits and carrying toboggans, saucer-sleds, bladed wooden sleds, and a black plastic Batman sled with red hand-brakes. This last one was tied securely to the back of a rather large, plain woman. Her two attendants, despite carrying more sled-weight, held candles to illuminate her face against the bitter wind.

The woman, their leader, approached me. She was short and stocky in a friendly way. There was a light in her eyes and a twist to her smile. She said, "My name's Jen. We were going to sled over there, where Mayor Daley is building his secret landfill. Do you want to come along?"

"What landfill?" I said.

"You'll see."

"You got an extra sled?"

"Seventy-five bucks."

She took my money. She laughed, pure and high. "What would you like?"

"A saucer."

"Done," she said, and she put her arm around me. Then she turned back towards the group. "Charles, you be the pusher. As he is our guest, push him last."

Charles, young and slight, perhaps not past eighteen, hung his head.

We approached Lake Michigan's shore. Not two steps from the water, Jen pulled a sledgehammer out of her robe. I knew she was going to whack me in the head and toss my body in the water.

Instead she took a swing at thin air. Glass shattered, opening a white hole in reality.

She smiled. "Daley uses hundred foot mirrors to conceal it. Five million dollars a piece. Don't cut yourself."

We stepped through the hole and a mountain of snowed-on, sealed-off trash rose above me. The group followed. We stood at the top of the hill, on top of ten stories worth of garbage, sleds poised, she in the Batman sled and I in the saucer.

"Wait, hold on!" I said. "This goes straight into the Lake."

"It's probably frozen."

"No way it's..." And Charles pushed the first, the second, the third, with uncanny speed. There we went, her first by only a fraction of a second. I bailed out of the saucer almost immediately, tumbling ten or twenty feet. As for the rest...well, let's say if their guts were vanilla cream and their skin was orange drink, they'd be Dreamsicles in long black bags.