A few of y’all have asked about this, so I have to let you in on it. In the tracklisting on the back of OLLSS where, the number six happens twice: once for track six and once instead of five. There is a reason for this, and I’ll explain it now:

When we were making Ooh La La, Sha Sha…, we had “Number One” penciled in as the fifth track on the record. For that reason, we had nicknamed the song “Number Five” and referred to it as such when discussing its progress. At the last minute, however, we swapped the order, making “Trust Game” track five, but it didn’t feel right to have any song besides Number One be called Number Five. That, coupled with the fact that my lucky/favorite number happens to be six, led us to having two number sixes on the record. So there.

We always have a great time in Chicago. This is our fifth time playing here, and we’ve been lucky enough to have a few days off here during our past travels. We’ve come to appreciate a few recurring places and themes, one of which is the Bongo Room in Wicker Park. It’s definitely in our top five breakfast places in the country, and without a doubt the Chi-town breakfast joint. We don’t go there every time through, but we are always very happy with our meals when we do, like today for instance.

We said goodbye to JedSed and gave him a parting gift: Hunid Racks: “The Energy Drink for the Real Hustlers”. Daddy Wrall lifted a can from Oldfield’s in Columbus and I waited to write about it until we had a photo. As far as we can tell, it is not pronounced like humid; perhaps there was a typo and they left out an ‘n.’ Anyhow, this stuff looks pretty serious in a non-serious way. I mean, take a look at that rack of hunids on the can. If that wad of ‘fetti needs a rubber band that thick, it must some serious dolah. And if JedSed wants to turn his music into some cheddar, he’s really gonna need the energy that drink provides. “I used to work for my boss, but now he works for me. Thank you Hunid Racks!”

Bessie needed an oil change, so after dropping the Hunid Racks with Jed (nobody’s heard from him since) we went to Jiffy-Lube. Four of us played with a hacky-sack in the oil-stained parking lot, showcasing our regional styles. Here’s a little breakdown:

Trick Johnson has mastered what you might call the Virginia Twitch, where his whole body moves in a sort of spastic back and forth jerk every time he touches the hack. It sounds less graceful than it is, trust me.

Sam Nice’s style is more difficult to describe. It’s the Cambridge Shuffle, and requires both the lateral movement of the feet and the use of his hands, which is, indeed, illegal in this particular game. For this he is rarely “punished,” but widely ridiculed.

Daddy Wrall employs a technique where he mimes slicking his hair back, while sliding forward to approach the hack. It’s a technique invented by Mr. Nice, but only perfect in Wrall’s hands. Call it the Comb Over. He also utilizes the Peach Basket, which involves making a basket with his arms, which the hack travel through on the way to his knee or foot. Years of hack circle abuse have led to his being protective of, uh, certain areas of his body when he’s not actually touching the hacky-sack. Very talented, his only flaw is a propensity to serve poorly.

I prefer the No-Nonsense style, perhaps remaining a bit too concerned with the ethics and regulations of hacky-sack. Hey, somebody has to take care of these things.

In the end, though, what you have is four guys chasing a little woven sack filled with plastic beads around a Jiffy-Lube parking lot, laughing uproariously, while trucks and cars do their best to avoid our wild flailings.

Back on the road, the van can be cold. Actually, most of it is quite nice, but there is one seat, the middle seat, that happens to be the coldest in the van. Sam always regrets his decision to sit there, but today he came prepared. Check out the photo above to see him looking like Jack Johnson on the cover of his debut album.

On the drive to the mini-apple, Patrick took the first shift and I the second. At the changeover, we pledged to get something caffeinated and got off the highway near Wisconsin Dells thinking we would find a Starbucks, or some kind of espresso oriented joint. Using Google text on the cell phone, we found the nearest Starbucks and fed the information into Madge, who told us how to get to the Starbucks an hour away. That certainly wasn’t happening so, after going through that rigamarole and driving to and fro looking for another Starbucks, we stopped instead at some kind frozen custard place that touted its Butterburger as the signature dish. We were unconvinced, but went in anyhow. Sam and Patrick ordered “Custardcinos,” which had coffee and ice and ice cream and seemed kind of gross, but for lack of a better alternative, I decided to try theirs and decide if I could handle it. After a lengthy preparation period (a good sign, really), the drink emerged and I tried it. It seemed manageable, though not as manageable as the simple espresso we all desired. I ordered one and paid.

At that precise moment, an employee of the store entered with a tray of Starbucks coffees for his co-workers. An interesting lesson, the meaning of which we still haven’t determined, but there was enough lead-up to the punch line that the whole situation had us in stitches.

We’re now in Minneapolis, staying with Mike the 2600 King, who was kind enough to host us out of nowhere, sight unseen, despite late arrival and early departure. (Say it with me now: Thanks Mike!)


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