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Post #41 – Snowday, thundersnow, LSD closed – WTF were they thinking???

February 4, 2011

In front of my home Wednesday morning, something you don’t see very often, real deal Upper Peninsula, of Michigan that is, snowshoes (these suckers are 40″ long and 16 wide and meant for slogging through DEEP powder pulling a sled behind you).

There’s a rule in Chicago, Lake Shore Drive NEVER closes. it closed a couple of days ago and 100s of people were stranded and had to abandon their cars and hike through deep drifting snow, in whiteout conditions to God knows where seeking shelter. Not good at all and not an SL thing but this is my blog so I can do RL too if I wanna.

I’m listening to Aliotta Haynes and Jeremiah playing a Chicago anthem – Lake Shore Drive

This song may be the best Chicago song ever btw (although Frank Sinatra’s – My Kinda Town gives it a serious run for its money)  it certainly gets me singing along.

Aliotta, Haynes & Jeremiah Lake Shore Drive Lyrics:
[Duo-piano intro.]

[Verse 1:]
There’s a road I’d like to tell you ’bout,
Lives in my hometown.
Lake Shore Drive the road is called,
And it’ll take you up or down.
From Rat’s on up to riches, 1
Fifteen minutes you can fly.
Pretty blue lights along the way 2 ,
Help you ride on by.
And the blue light’s shinin’ with a heavenly grace,
Help you ride on by.

And there ain’t no road just like it,
Anywhere I’ve found.
Runnin’ south on Lake Shore Drive,
Headin’ into town.
Just slippin’ on by on LSD, 3
Friday night trouble bound.

[Short instrumental break featuring pianos.]

[Verse 2:]
It starts up north from Hollywood 4 ,
Water on the drivin’ side.
Concrete mountains rearin’ up 5 ,
Throwin’ shadows just about five.
Sometimes you can smell the green,
If your mind is feelin’ fine.

There ain’t no finer place to be,
Then runnin’ Lake Shore Drive.
And there’s no piece of mind or place, you see,
Ridin’ on Lake Shore Drive.

And there ain’t no road just like it,
Anywhere I’ve found.
Runnin’ south on Lake Shore Drive,
Headin’ into town.
Just slippin’ on by on LSD,
Friday night trouble bound.

[Short instrumental break featuring pianos.]

[Verse 3:]
It’s Friday night and you’re lookin’ clean.
Too early to start the rounds.
A ten-minute drive from the Gold Coast back 6 ,
Makes you sure you’re pleasure bound.
And it’s four o’clock in the mornin’,
And all the people have gone away.
Just you and your mind and Lake Shore Drive,
Tomorrow is another day.
And the sun shines fine in the mornin’ time.
Tomorrow is another day.

[Short instrumental break featuring pianos.]

[Chorus, slightly altered:]
And there ain’t no road just like it,
Anywhere I’ve found.
Runnin’ south on Lake Shore Drive,
Headin’ into town.
Just snakin’ 7 on by on LSD,
Friday night trouble bound.

[Pianos to end.]

Notes on the song if you’re interested:

Aliotta, Haynes & Jeremiah Lake Shore Drive Lyrics Information:

Words & Music by: Skip Haynes
Produced by: Scott Gibbs
Engineered by: Barry Mraz
Stings arranged by: Bob Schiff
Performed by: Aliotta, Haynes and Jeremiah 9 10
First released: 11
Single: 1971
Album: 1971

1 The name of the club was actually Ratso’s Restaurant & Lounge, located at 3415 North Broadway, Chicago, Illinois. In the song, they call the restaurant, “Rat’s” as a shortened version of the name and to make a play on words: As you drove south on Lake Shore Drive the neighborhoods change and go from a low- to middle-income bracket to a very wealthy demographic. Thus “rat’s to riches.” Ratso’s started out as a restaurant/tavern on Chicago’s near-north side in the early ’70s. There was an open mic almost every night, and after performing, artists passed the hat through the audience. That’s when I first saw Aliotta, Haynes & Jeremiah. Eventually, Ratzo’s got all ritzy, and began serving dinner with linen tablecloths, higher prices and paid entertainment. It was never the same.

2 “Pretty blue lights” refers to the mercury vapor, street lamps that were used in Chicago in the 1970s. Heated mercury vapor inside the lamp was used to produce light in a relatively efficient way. When they are first turned on, the mercry vapor lamps produce a dark blue glow because only a small amount of the mercury is ionized and the gas pressure in the arc tube is very low, so much of the light is produced in the ultraviolet band. As the gas heats up and increases in pressure, the light shifts into the visible range and the high gas pressure causes the mercury emission bands to broaden somewhat, producing a light that appears more-white to the human eye,
although it is still not a continuous spectrum. Even at full intensity, the light from a mercury vapor lamp is distinctly bluish in color, hence the lyrics about pretty blue lights.

3 The double entendre refers to both the physicality of driving on Lake Shore Drive, often called LSD by Chicagoans, which winds along the Lake Michigan waterfront on the North Side of Chicago and the drug culture influenced slippin’ (or trippin’) on the drug LSD.

4 “It starts up north from Hollywood,” refers to West Hollywood Avenue, which initially runs eastbound but then turns south and becomes Lake Shore Drive.

5 “Concrete mountains rearing up, throwing shadows just about five,” refers to the high-rise housing along the waterfront, on the west side of Lake Shore Drive, casting their shadows across the Drive as the sun sets in the late afternoon.

6 The Gold Coast is a strip of expensive, high-rise, residential waterfront properties, that are close to the downtown area of Chicago and to exclusive shopping, that runs along Lake Shore Drive for several blocks.

7 Up until the mid 1980’s there was a spot on Lake Shore drive that was a big S-shaped curve. During rush hours, traffic would slow and it was always a problem area for commuters. In the late ’90s the S-Curve got straightened out to alleviate the traffic jams, but back in 1970, when this song was written, the curve was still there, and this reference to “snakin’ on by,” is a nod at the love/hate relationship Chicagoans had/have with the S-Curve.

8 While not receiving much air play anywhere but locally, “Lake Shore Drive” is the epitome of a youthful anthem for the Baby-Boomers of the Chicagoland area. Peppy, with local and drug related references and 2 jammin’ pianos on the track, the song seemed to lift the listener to a near euphoric state anytime it was played. Ask anyone who was a young adult in Chicago during the ’70s and they will tell you how much this song still means to them.

But enough about the Lake Shore Drive song……………

It’s been an interesting couple of days in Chicago, 20.2+” of drifting snow with thunder, lightning and 70 mph wind gusts at 10 deg F will wake you RIGHT up. Not being able to open your front door because you have a 4′ snowdrift blocking it will do that too. I wound up having to go out the front garage side door ( I have  a back garage too you see and that’s where the “broken” old snowblower was waiting and laughing at me )……………….but that’s a different story for another time.

The good news was this –  I think HARD when I get jammed up………….. (the prospect of shoveling ALL that damn snow got me thinking HARD) and this time I thought of the right answer right away. My young, lawyer neighbor with the snow and lawn service was “given” a hefty snowblower as part of the deal when he bought his house from our friends Don and Judy several years ago (I don’t really think Don wanted to move that 200+lb snowblower to California but he never admitted that to me.) I’ve borrowed that sucker before but this time I  offered to buy the thing………… and he said, “You want it? It’s yours…………….. Come get it.” Wooohooo Then I only had to walk over through the thigh deep snow to collect it along with the 5 gallons of gas that he threw in with it. BTW I’m deciding just how good a bottle of wine to give him now.

Suffice it to say, I got dug (blown) out in a couple of hours ( you snowblow 60′ of driveway buried 30″ deep and another 120′ of sidewalk  to the alley behind the house and see how long it takes you), along with several other neighbors who were very happy to have the use of my new 28″ wide behemoth. I’ll post some pictures later.  My wife thought this was all a hoot and went out snowshoeing and then x-country skiing in the park later. She did clean the front steps which was quite a job by itself……………… Now if the last 3 days of mail would come I’d be a happy biotch.

Not a sign you see in any other city that I know of………………

You see in Chicago there is something called parking space “DIBS” which means that if you spend hours digging out a parking place following a major winter storm it’s YOUR parking place till you take your lawn furniture back to the basement. Ohhhhhhhhh you don’t have “DIBS” where you live. I see…………. All the parking on the street goes to whoever comes along. Righttttttttttttttt. Well this is Chicago and we have a different tradition here. People have been shot to death over parking places. “You tooked my mom’s parking place Mofo…….. move dat piece of shit right now and don’t even tink of parking it witin 2 blocks of here ever gain or I will solve all your parking problems with dat rolling turd fureva. Get me????” and “When you come back, find every frikkin piece of her lawn furniture dat was in dat space and putit back on her front steps after you move dat junkheap somewhere faraway frum ere……….. or else.”

Another unique Chicago seminar offering on fighting redlight camera tickets successfully and other important things you need to know about if you drive in Chicago in these days of difficult to balance municipal budgets.


From → Nave raving

  1. Katina Magic permalink

    Nobody does it like we do! BTW let it be known we have a separate set of lawn furniture for the snow days so if it looks a bit ragged remember this ain’t the good stuff this is just for markin’ territory, so no making cracks about the loose webbing or the old kitchen chair with the stuffin comin out.

    And whoever came up with the neither rain nor sleet BS for the post office didn’t do Chicago winters

  2. Oh god.. I almost died in that blizzard, Nave. I had to drive in it because it was the day we had to put the paper to bed.

    On the plus side, if zombies attack, I now have fortress walls made out of snow now that I’ve dug myself back out again.

  3. I had to laugh when I read the part about “dibs.” We did this when I was a kid in Wisconsin. There was nothing worse than getting up at 6am on a school day after an overnight snowstorm and having to go out to shovel dad’s car out after the plows had come through and buried the behemoth halfway up the doors, and there was no way we were working that hard just to have some yahoo come along and take Dad’s parking spot the second he left for work. Nope, not gonna happen. Lawn chairs, old boxes, anything we could find to put there was there saving that spot for when he came home.

    Snow days? They were pretty much unheard of in those days. Not like here in wussy little Indiana where they have school delays and cancellations for everything from an inch of snow to patchy fog. No, we got up earlier, bundled up warmer, dug the car out, and made a game of seeing who could walk the farthest on those big piles of snow the plows left without falling waist-deep into a soft patch. If we made it to school still warm and relatively dry, that was a bonus.

  4. Apen Parx permalink

    Wow Nave…I feel for you and Katina oh lets not forget Rico all living in Chicago. It’s been a balmy 72 degrees here in Florida. (sorry don’t mean to rub it in) I drove with the top down a few days ago and it was nice. See you should come to Florida for the winters, because I think this is going to be the way it is from now on! SNOW and more SNOW. Anyway I wish you well on the snow blowing, the only white I want to see is beach sand. Pura Vida!

  5. Kimmera Madison permalink

    umm…uhh….help…I sat down in one of Katina’s “lawn” chairs and umm….I fell through and…. I’m stuck…. can someone help me out please…

  6. OMG, I swear I’m gonna start stealing all these lawn furniture and appliances one day if I ever cannot find parking on my street. Can u believe someone put an old TV, a fish tank, a broken toilet, and lots of chairs/sofas on these “DIBS” spaces?YES, I live in Chicago too. LOL

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