The Tamale Hut Café presents:
Kinetic Color
A collection of abstract artwork by Stephanie Bieniek
Only at The Tamale Hut Café
8300 W. Cermak Rd. North Riverside, IL
708-442-0948 - tamalehutcafe.com

Artwork will be on display until January 7, 2018
during normal Tamale Hut Café business hours:
Mon-Fri:7:30AM-7PM, Sat:8:30AM-7PM, Sun:8:30AM-6PM


For more information about Stephie's art, please also check out artbystephie.com.
For Matt's writing projects, please go to storiesbymatt.net. Enjoy your visit here!

07/28/16:
I'm proud of the fact that since I started this site in 2003, only a few months have passed without at least one post. You can see that at the list of monthly links at the bottom of the screen. Sometimes, though, I'm too busy (or too lazy) to write up what I want to say at the time I want to say it, so I make a note of it and write it up later, backdating the post to when I wanted to say it. But sometimes there are other reasons why I don't want to post something on the day it occurs. I'm writing this almost two months late, because I wasn't able to any earlier.
     We lost our beloved Kisu today, a few months shy of her 15th birthday. She'd been having problems for a while, not so much physically but mentally. Her vet described it as doggy dementia or doggy Alzheimer's. I started to write up the details of recent weeks, but you don't need to know any of that. I'd prefer that everyone remembered her as the sweet, friendly dog that everyone knew and loved. I'll simply say that we had an incident this morning that indicated it was time.
     I'd spoken to the vet a few weeks ago when he put her on some new medicine to try to make her comfortable, and at the time he told me that when we felt it was time, I only needed to call the office. This morning I called and made an appointment for the afternoon. Kisu was fine in the car, and behaved perfectly when we brought her out and to the back of the clinic. I like to think that she knew what was coming and was ready for it. The whole process took surprisingly little time to complete, and we were with her the entire way, talking to her and hugging her and loving her. Dr. Palmer and everyone at the Burr Ridge Veterinary Clinic in Darien was terrific as the always have been. They took great care of her throughout her life, and were wonderful for us at the end.
     I've said that the day Cheyenne passed away was the worst day of my life. This was easily the second, only because Cheyenne's passing was so sudden and Kisu had been in decline for a while. We miss her terribly, and while I'm sure we'll adopt another dog eventually, she'll never be replaced in our hearts. Sleep well, pumpkin.


07/15/16: From the time I set my MythTV DVR up until a few years ago, our local Channel 7 was running a package of old black-and-white movies in the early hours of the weekend. I recorded many of the films, and while not all of them were gems, they were an interesting snapshot into the way Hollywood used to work. Before everyone had a TV in their home, there was a constant need for films to show at local movie theaters, and there were a lot of people who (presumably) made a living making films that never won awards and never were on critic's year-end best-of lists. That's the kind of fare that Channel 7 used to show.
     I just watched one such "programmer," as some called them. You Can't Beat Love (1937) was about a playboy lawyer (Preston Foster) who runs for mayor of his town on a dare from the daughter of the incumbent, played by Joan Fontaine, and it was a hoot. I recognized Paul Guilfoyle (not the CSI guy) from the credits, who I'd seen as the Saint's sidekick in a few 1940s movies, among other roles. But at one point, the current chief of police tries to trap the lawyer in a love nest with what I assume was a local floozie, a round-faced blonde doing a weak Mae West impersonation. For a laugh, I looked her up on IMDB, expecting her to have only a few credits and a bio that says she was pigeonholed into those type of parts. You can imagine my surprise when I looked up Barbara Pepper and the banner photo on IMDB was a scene from Green Acres, a favorite of ours, on which she played Doris Ziffel! At the time of this movie, she was 22 and four years into a career which ultimately spanned 36 years, from a few uncredited chorus girl gigs in 1933-4 to an uncredited appearance in the Jerry Lewis feature Hook, Line and Sinker in 1969. Watching her I never would have guessed. (A side note: her Green Acres husband, Hank Patterson, had a similarly lengthy career, from uncredited appearances in a few 1939 westerns to a long stint on Gunsmoke, ending in 1975. While most of his IMDB credits are westerns, he was in the Beginning of the End (1957) which you all remember as the giant grasshoppers attacking Chicago. I recently saw him in an episode of the 87th Precinct TV show from 1961.)


07/04/16: Today's the fourth of July, not one of our favorite holidays. I've had an aversion to fireworks since I was a kid, when my parents were dead set against my brothers and I playing with explosives, no matter how small. I can't see what the problem would be. As I got older, I just saw anything but the best professional fireworks display as a colossal waste of money, and of time needed to clean up the debris afterward. Don't get me started about how fireworks are supposedly illegal in Illinois, yet the people with the biggest illicit fireworks shows seem to be off-duty cops.
     But the real reason why I don't like the holiday these days is the way pets are affected. Cheyenne never really cared for the local explosions, but Kisu was petrified by the smallest pop from blocks away. We would be walking and hear a firecracker in the distance, and she would immediately turn around and head for home, where she would cower somewhere near us for the rest of the day. Even the Thundershirt, which helps out tremendously for thunderstorms, did nothing to calm her down. The last few years we used tranquilizers from the vet to get us through the day.
     But we don't have to worry about that now, with Kisu having lost her hearing earlier this year. The revelers actually started a few days ago, and she doesn't hear anything. She's happily walking down the block as the lunatics on the next block set off firecracker after bottle rocket after what have you. We're sad that she can't hear us any more, but it's a blessing today. Happy Independence Day!



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