I drove up to Milwaukee yesterday with my beloved to go see the Old 97's play at a place called the Rave. It was a neat venue, a lot more modern than some of the places I’m used to going to in Chicago. I already saw the Old 97's when they started their tour here last month, and the show was spectacular. Lead singer Rhett Miller looked a little sick last night, those months out on the road must be rough.

Mary and I got up there pretty early because one of my best friends from high school now lives there and I wanted to hang out in the city with him. Milwaukee is one of my all-time favorite towns, everyone up there just feels so normal and unpretentious. It’s also currently a swing state and I am a complete political junkie looking for a fix. Since Kerry is up by 16% in Illinois and our Senate race is a complete joke, I was itching for a little hot sweaty political action and I wasn’t disappointed. There were crowds of people milling around, some even blocking the streets, protesting and making their voices heard. It was a little odd because there weren’t any signs and the crowds just ended up wailing and screaming at each other. It’s kind of sad what the American political process has mutated into. There was also a gruesome scene of a bunch of people around what looked like ripped up bodies lying on the sidewalk. I assume it was some sort of over-the-top anti-war display by a bunch of trustafarian Marquette students.

It was really great hanging out with my friend Rob. Not only am I a political junkie, but I’m also a total mass media dork and he’s a bigger dork than I am, and since he’s also a reporter at WTMJ, the top news radio station up there, we had a lot of catching up to do. Unfortunately after a couple hours he got called into some big emergency at work and had to ditch us. Knowing Wisconsin, I bet it had something to do with some sort of record-breaking cheese castle or something.

The Old 97's show was rollicking as always, and even though Mary had never heard of them before, I was happy that she really seemed to get into it and had a great time. The crowd seemed pretty rowdy, especially in the back where a couple fights broke out and someone ended up getting carried out screaming. That’s another thing you can say about Milwaukee, people seem more willing to get drunk and stupid there.

So everything was going pretty good up until Mary and I started to make the trek home after the show. The traffic on I-94 was terrible and we crawled for hours until we finally saw what the trouble was. You see, right along the highway there is a park named (I shit you not) the Bong Recreation Area. Not only is the recreation area there, but there is also a big sign announcing its existence. Needless to say, stoners steal this sign approximately every few weeks. Well this time, the Bong Recreation Area was FUCKING ON FIRE! The fire trucks had closed of some of the highway and it looked like the Kenosha county cops were trying to clear out all the people that shambling out of the woods. (Mary claimed she heard gunshots, but I’m calling bullshit on that.) The trip ended up taking us almost all night.

When we finally got back to Chicago, Mary and I went to grab some breakfast. We stopped at Manny’s, which is this amazing old-school Jewish deli a few blocks from my apartment. It is seriously the place to go to get the New York deli experience around here. Unsurprisingly, the place was totally packed even this early in the morning, and the customers looked suitably ragged for being up too early. It got really gross too when we were waiting in line, all these old guys with these hollowed-out eyes kept ordering the brains. “Brains, brains, brains!” – it was like a litany throughout the whole deli. There have been times where I was tempted to try eating some tongue, but never the brains, BLECH! Mary and me ended up getting some huge corned beef sandwiches (that’s another thing I love about her, her appetite’s almost as big as mine :) ). If we weren’t tired and weirded out enough about the whole night, this freaky little kid bit Mary when we were walking out of the place! Of course he was running around with no parents nearby, big surprise there. I’m fucking sick of these people who let their little brats run wild. All they end up doing is growing up into monsters that society has to deal with.

Well, that was my most excellent night. Heh, Mary just came over and started nibbling on my neck (there’s that appetite again). I love it when she gets frisky. See ya.