Friday, July 13, 2007

Fool For The City

Goin' to the city, got you on my mind,
Country sure is pretty, I'll leave it all behind,
This is my decision, I'm comin' home to stay this time.

'Cause I'm a fool for the city, I'm a fool for the city,
Fool for the city, I'm a fool for the city.

Breathin' all the clean air, sittin' in the sun,
When I get my train fare, I'll get up and run.
I'm ready for the city, air pollution here I come!

'Cause I'm a fool for the city…..


I’m not comin’ home to stay this time. Not me not now. A day or two is all I need for my urban fix. Nothing against Chicago but after living there for a while and commuting there to work for thirty years my preference is living in the country. BTW, I did see Foghat play that number and others live at the Auditorium Theatre in Chicago during the mid 70’s.

This week I had a three-day contract job at a small ad agency so I had to jump on board the train and head downtown and back to Valpo each day. While downtown I did have the pleasure of meeting Carl for the first time Monday night after work. He picked up the tab for a few beers at O’Leary’s. Thanks, Carl! Next time it’s my turn.

Driving to Chicago from Valpo and back can cost up to $50. It’s fifty-five door-to-door miles, takes $20 for fuel, $6.90 for tolls and up to $20 for parking. Since I spent a good part of my life commuting on a train it is not a problem for me to ride the rails.

There is a small commuter line based out of Indiana that goes from South Bend to Randolph St. in Chicago called The South Shore Line. It’s not bad at all considering the $13 round trip, lack of congestion and zero chance of road rage. It’s longer but much more relaxing. I have made a lot of friends and drinking buddies on board too. Without it I would have never moved out to Valpo.

I catch this quaint but updated electric line at Dune Park, a station about 1.5 miles from the front gate of the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore National Park. All aboard!

While downtown my plan was to take my client out to dinner one night at one of the finest old-school downtown steakhouses called Gene & Georgetti. It reminds me of a corner joint in Queens or Brooklyn in New York City. It’s the kind of place you might see John Gotti and his crew hanging around in archival news photos. If you hang near G&G’s during the lunch hour you will see an assortment of wise-guy types, politicians and real estate moguls getting out of Bentley’s and Maserati’s, along with the run-of-the-mill BMW’s, Mercedes’ and Jag’s. Ex-congressman Dan Rostenkowski held court there almost daily when the house was recess years ago. Before he spent his time in federal prison.

The steak is pure prime, every bit as good as the newer “chop houses” in town but the ambiance at G&G’s is mid 60’s traditional. Lost in time. But just my luck, it was closed M-W this week. On “vacation” the sign said. WTF???

My project ended early today so I took a stroll up Michigan Avenue, which used to be an exclusive area with very high-end fine art galleries, custom tailors and designer boutiques. Now it is nothing more than a tourist destination lined with mall stores. My destination was the Apple Store to check out the new iPhone.

Now, I am a long time Mac guy (no, not that smarmy-ass Mac guy on the tv commercials). I have been making a handsome living using the Mac for my graphic design business since 1989. I have never even tried to jump on a Windoze PC because it was not the platform of choice as the graphic arts creative standard. That was not my call. The PC is a workhorse of industry and the bane of casual users but the Mac is a creative work of art easily used by anyone (as they say ‘it just works’). More on my Mac preference later.

That being said, I was not that impressed by the iPhone. Mac haters and skeptics are correct. For now, it’s too expensive. Functionality? I have a phone that takes photos and text messages. I have never used either feature. But I can make phone calls. If it weren’t for my business I would not have a cell phone at all. The latest buzz on this new hand-held iPhone device is total convergence and connectivity along with it's ease of use. This thing does it all, so they say. iPod, telephone and true internet access too.

I found the iPhone a bit awkward to use especially the keypad. It took a lot of fiddling to type in a simple url since I have fat fingers. But once there it was kinda’ cool to zoom into and navigate real web sites. On the positive side the size was much smaller than I thought, about the size of an iPod and the clarity of the display was simply brilliant. One day I may be interested but for now I am done being on the bleeding edge of technology. I am turning into a real country boy Luddite. And I kinda’ like it that way.

In conclusion the iPhone is like any Apple product, they are all about forward innovation and they just keep it coming. I bought their stock in January, just before the launch of this product on a hunch at $85.90. I sold it three days later at $97. Not a bad trade. Real proud of myself, yep. But today it closed at $137.73. Was I smart or what??? Don't be surprised to see it at $200 by the holiday shopping season. Been thinking about jumping back in.

One day we will all have an iPhone or some form of affordable knock-off made by Sony or Toshiba.

Right now it’s time to head back to the country bunker. All aboard.


Annie said...

I have a crush on that Smarmy Ass Mac guy!

gerry from valpo said...

Oh yeah??
Well, I have a crush on that chubby PC guy.

But don't tell anyone : )

Annie said...

Your secret's safe with me!

Carl from Chicago said...

Thanks for coming out to meet me. I had a good time. I never knew about the "poker" tournaments for bikers... learned something new

Alderman Jon said...

I loved the Gotti comment as I never pictured that scene until reading your post.

Carl, you've never heard of poker runs? Man you have too much of an urban life.