Saturday, March 31, 2007


Over thali yesterday I told my friends about some of the strange things strangers have said to me on the street in Mysore.

On my last trip, I was showing the handsome fabric merchant how the seams were ripping on an old dress made of cheap cloth when he said the unthinkable.

"I think you are becoming fat."


"I said, I think you are becoming fat."



Just what every western woman has been waiting her whole life to hear.

(Actually, in India, this does not seem to be the horrible insult that it is here in the west. It is more like a statement of fact. I could be wrong, but I think a bit of extra weight means a person is doing well enough to afford extra food. And in Mysore, instead of saying "How are you?" people say, "Oota Aita?" which means "Have you eaten your meal?").

Not long after the Are You Fat Incident, a boy approached me when I was walking with a friend near KR Circle, and poked me in my side.

I thought he wanted money and ignored him.

But he kept poking.

"Looking very old today, Madam," he said in perfect English.


"Looking very old today, Madam."



Why, thank you.

I don't think that one is much of a compliment in any modern culture.

Four years earlier, in 2002, a man approached me when I was walking near Trucker's Row towards KR Circle (not far from the local bus stand).

In those days I was younger and dumber, and dyed my hair with henna.

"You look like Nina Hagen."


"I said, you look like Nina Hagen."


I couldn't possibly have heard him correctly.


Just the thing every old punk chick is dying to hear.

At the same time I was startled.

How the hell did someone in Mysore hear of a 1980's German anti-pop star?

And how many dumb Americans would even know who he was talking about?

India: Expect the Unexpected.



I've spent more than four months living in a foreign city just one other time. That was in 1985, when I spent a semester in Madrid studying Spanish and working at La Radiotelvision Espanola and listening to Kike Turmix spin psycho-punk at La Via Lactea.

In those days I was even younger and dumber. And angrier.

And blonde.

I had bangs.

I used a blow dryer.

They called me La Rubia ("The Blonde").

I got plenty of attention.

But I dated exactly three men when I was there -- all of whom were named Pedro.

Pedro the First was a suave Andalucian who worked at La Radiotelevision Espanola and may or may not have been gay.

Pedro III was a thin Basque architecture student who was into psychobilly, cafe cortado and "yogging" -- and may or may not have agreed with ETA.

Pedro el Segundo was a rocker Elvis lookalike in leather who once stood me up at El Rastro (Sunday flea market) "a causa de la lluvia" --- ie, because it was raining.

He may or may not have been lying.

Pedro II had a poster of Nina Hagen hanging above his childhood twin bed.

"Madonna copies her," he told me en Espanol between puffs on his Marlboro. "Nina Hagen did it all first.

"Madanna tiene much moro," he continued.

Which means, Madonna had a lot of cheek or gall to steal from the German pop star.

"Madonna tiene mucha cara -- como tu."

Otra vez, por favor.

"Ella tiene mucha cara -- como tu."



In other words, she was a lot like me.

I didn't see him much after that.

Instead, I went out and got myself my own Nina Hagen poster.



I just looked up Nina Hagen. Apparently she's now some kind of yogini.

Seemingly more hardcore than Madonna.

And probably even Caca.

Not that it's a competition or anything.

But I found the following on her website, which plays Om Namah Shivaya:

It's funny how things work out.

We really are all the same....

Mysore photo by Sean Miller. Madrid pix by Simon J. Sherwood.

I knew Wrigley Field was in the neighborhood when Ira told me about the vacant apartment in his building back in the mid-90's.

But really.

The baseball season doesn't start til next week.

Yet there was an unusual amount of traffic when I went outside this morning to find my car and drive to my home yoga studio.

It's the one time each week I practice with others -- and receive the occasional adjustment.

And yes, astanga police, it's on a SATURDAY.

But today, instead of empty streets, there was a lot of activity.

Traffic Management Authority minorities with neon yellow pinnies, flashlights and walkie-talkies were stationed at every intersection.

They seemed to be directing traffic away from the high school.

The streets were clogged.

At 8AM.

I assumed there'd been a shooting.

But no.

After being diverted eight blocks (one mile) out of my way, I finally yelled out my window and asked one of TMAs directing traffic what the hell was going on.

"Cubs Walk."


"Cubs Walk!"

Alderman visiting?



Then I saw them, heading north on Ravenswood towards Irving Park Road.

Streams of white runners with numbers pinned onto their blue and white Cubs shirts.

Actually, they were more like joggers.

I looked for a way out.

A way to go around, and get to the yoga center.

There was none.

Because between the studio and me were hundreds of runners.

Er, joggers.

So I did what any law-abiding citizen would do.

I did a U-turn and headed back home.

On the way I saw many vehicles prowling, making U-turns, and honking in frustration.

As I drove I tried to come up with a plan.

It was drizzling and the radar had showed that more rain was coming. There was no way I was going to ride my bicycle -- even if I do have fenders and it's just ten blocks.

So I parked my car in the spot I'd just vacated.

I walked over to the nearest yellow-vested TMA and asked when the race is supposed to end.


When will this end?

"WHAT?" he yelled, and turned down his walkie-talkie.


"I don't know," he shrugged.

So I went back up the three flights of stairs, said hello to the cat, and pulled out my mat.

Then I walked over the computer and started typing.

Now that's off my chest, I'm free to practice.

Photo by Caca, smapped while inside a moving train.

Friday, March 30, 2007


Apparently Guruji is recovering.

I found this at the ashtanga news site:

UPDATE March 30:
As Terri Smith tells us in the comments to this post:

"Our beloved Guruji has been transferred to a regular ward and out of ICU, and is expected to recover.
Sharath and Saraswati are needed in Mysore to care for Guruji. We should not question their decision to stay..."

Let's all give thanks.

Once that's covered, feel free to hit the "comment" button and have another go at me.

Come on.

I know you want to....

Thursday, March 29, 2007



-Garages. Where people park their cars. So they don't have to drag their thin arses out of their cubicle-size apartments and move them every other morning.

-Alleys. Where people put their moving vans and garbage cans. So they don't get in the way and ooze toxic gunk all over the sidewalk.

-Liberal street parking rules. So people can park their cars for weeks on end before they must drag their corpulent arses out of their massive apartments and move them.

-Not one, not two, but THREE line-free Trader Joe's -- with free parking. So we can stock up on as much cheap, healthy food as we can carry.

-Five Target stores within city limits. With fully-stocked shelves. And ample free parking.


-Unparalled career opportunities.

-Mayoral term limits.

-A municipal income tax.

-Yoga mat rental fees.


1. PHEW!

They've moved Dharma's 500 hour teacher training from this spring/summer to next winter. Maybe I'll be able to go to India this year after all, God willing....

Maybe now that the pressure to decide is gone I'll be able to live again.


Starting Monday, Garry Meier's new show will air weekdays from 8-11AM on WCKG (105.9).

Interestingly, the guy he chose as a sidekick is my age -- and also writes for the Ilinois Entertainer.

In fact, he subbed my media column for me when I was in India last year.

The Tribune's Phil Rosenthal quoted from it today:

Among the critics to take a shot at WCKG and the state of local radio of late has been . . . Jim Turano. "Chicago radio used to crackle," he wrote in a June 2006 essay in the Illinois Entertainer. "It used to excite, entertain, energize, influence, and order its listeners. Now it's white noise."

According to Rosenthal, Turano is a local writer and actor Meier has known 14 years and who used to help him on his solo show years ago on WLUP-FM 97.9. The hiring was unofficially announced Tuesday on Dahl's WCKG afternoon show by programming exec Drew Hayes, who teamed Meier with Conn at WLS.

Yeah, so? I did radio with Ira Glass in the early 90's. (Actually I was a recurring guest of his partner, Gary Covino, on "The Wild Room").

And Garry Meier and I go back nearly 30 years.

I asked him to my high school's Sadie Hawkins dance when I was 15.

He actually called me to decline.

I was out of my mind for days.

The following year, when I was 16, I met him and Steve for the first time. They did an awesome live show, complete with band (Teenage Radiation), in the round, at the Mill Run Theatre. And I got to go backstage (see photo above, by Dreyfus).

In those days they were invincible.

But they could be back:

"I want to work," Meier said. "That's the main thing. I love doing radio. . . . I don't have any agenda. When I sat down with Steve in August, it showed me, at least, that we did some really, really good stuff because we could put it back together in an instant."

He's not ruling out working with Dahl again "if there are projects along the way for both of us that make sense," but he also thinks "it's good to have the separate programs."

Dahl may have indicated his feelings in the official announcement of Meier's hiring. "I think it's great that Garry can end his career here with us at WCKG and not selling StreetWise," he said in a statement.

"He said that?" Meier said. "There you go. We're off and running."

Tuesday, March 27, 2007


I was in the middle of doing all of the things I'd been putting off last night when, out of nowhere, I became fatigued. Then my head started to pound.

So I took a bath and went to bed.

It was 8:30PM.

I watched a bad movie. As I watched, my stomach started to hurt.

I put a heading pad on it and the pain subsided.

But the more the movie dragged on, the more the head throbbed.

Finally I had to turn it off and attempt to sleep.

But the throbbing in my head kept waking me up.

I thought it was going to explode.

I found a bandanna, wrapped it around my head, and tied it tight.

Still it felt like it was going to exlode.

It awakened me so many times I took a Tylenol PM.

I thought, "What am I doing with my life?"

Finally, around 2AM, I started to feel nauseous.

I leaned over the toilet. Nothing came out.

In fact it just made the head hurt more.

So I got out the bucket and went back to sleep.

Twenty minutes later I ran to the toilet and was violenty ill.

And ill.

And ill.

It was like Monty Python's projectile vomiting scene.

Yet I was aware enough to notice that I cried as I threw up.

When I finished, I noticed that the head already throbbed less.

I got what I could out of my throat and went back to bed.

At one point I got up, canceled this morning's Mysore date and went back to sleep.

When I woke up for real, I was thankful that I had re-stocked the ginger ale and saltine crackers.

I watched Love that Brute with Paul Douglas.

I loved it: A Chicago mobster goes for an uptight WASP governess from Michigan.

I loved Douglas even more. What a mug!

Apparently I am now into big, craggy old men.

He reminds me a little of beat-up 6'2" Bollywood actor Sanjay Dutt, who's been in trouble for gangster activities during the 1993 Bombay bombings and is now on his third marriage.

I looked up Douglas; he was married five times.

No wonder I find him attractive....

But don't ask why I'm saying that.

Sunday, March 25, 2007


I had so many plans for this weekend -- the weekend I was going to be in the Keys, practicing with Pattabhi Jois.

Since I didn't go to Florida, I was going to get rid of a bunch of stuff.

I was going to clean the bathroom.

I was going to get a jump on the seven deadlines that are coming up.

I was going to satsang at the Sivananda shala.

I was going to update my bio.

I was going to pay bills.

But I did none of these things.

Instead I stayed up and watched All that Jazz* on Friday night.

Instead I practiced and breakfasted yesterday.

I excercised some self-control by not seeing the rarely-screened, not-on-VHS-or-DVD Frank Capra masterpiece The Bitter Tea of General Yen.

I did some work at home and met Bindi and the Colonel at the fantastic Korean horror film The Host, in which the Americans look like the bunch of a-holes they (we) are.

Afterwards I picked up some free panties at Victoria's Secret, went home, cleaned the kitchen and took a 20-minute nap.

Then I returned to the same theater to meet SportMarty and see the terrific German thriller The Lives of Others, in which the secret police (Stasi) are a-holes -- except for one man who has his consciousness expanded by Art and takes the path of a true yogi, doing the right thing with no attachment to the consequences.

I highly recommend both movies, although it's an unusual double bill.

Which reminds me....

I've not seen the Bad News Bears since I was 12 (the 1976 version, not the 2005 remake). Of its stars, Walter Matthau is dead and, until recently, Jackie Earle Haley and Tatum O'Neal have been absent from showbiz.

Literally absent. As in, completely-off-the-radar absent.

Jackie didn't get much work after Breaking Away and moved to Texas, where he married and started a video production company. If you look at his IMDB file, there's nothing between 1993 and 2006. Nada.

This is almost as much of a crime as Velvet Underground drummer Moe Tucker working for a Wal-Mart distribution center in rural Georgia.

And poor Tatum was so busy with rehab and fighting John McEnroe for custody of their kids and writing that tell-all memoir and whatnot that she had little time for a career (and did nothing, it seems, between 1996 and 2002).

More recently, Jackie's been in two films (Little Children and All the King's Men) and among other things Tatum plays the drunken sister on Rescue Me.

Now, if only they'd find something for Kristy McNichol** to do.


*A length of Paulina street in Chicago at roughly 4400 north received the honorary designation of Bob Fosse Way. He was born here in 1927.

**Kristy was told she had the part of Amanda in Bad News Bears -- until a week later, when the producers gave it to O'Neal. They later co-starred in 1980's Little Darlings. That film featured Matt Dillon, who has also been getting some good roles these days.

Saturday, March 24, 2007


This* may count as satire in Britain but here in America it's reality, baby.

Chicago-based Vosges Haute Chocolat offers a $39 Yoga and Chocolate Gift Box.

And last weekend we somehow missed the Yoga + Chocolate and Yoga + Wine intensives held in one of our less attractive suburbs.

Maybe next year...


*Many thanks to Dr. Disco for the link

Thursday, March 22, 2007


The weather was halfway decent this afternoon, so I rode my bicycle to the chiro's and then all the way downtown to teach at the well-designed health club.

On the way up I stopped at H&M and Karyn's Fresh Corner, a raw vegan restaurant / cafe / grocery where a 12" pie goes for $80. I kid you not. The 10-incher is just $65.

(Of course it only thinks it's ten inches; it's actually just 5".


But the food is indeed addictive and the live bar, at $8.99 a pound, is a steal.

I continued north and decided to take Lincoln over to Southport so I could do some people-watching on the last leg of my journey. The street was desolate when I moved into the neighborhood in 1987 but is now crammed with bars and restaurants and cafes and boutiques.

To my surprise, the lights were out on the east side of Southport (north of Addison).

The "Open 24 Hours" CVS (formerly Osco) was dark and shuttered.

My first thought was, "There's your comeuppance, you money-grubbing carpetbaggers!"

My second thought was, "Let's go looting!."

But then I realized they didn't have anything I wanted.

Well, I would have not have refused some Ambien....

The upscale bakery was dark and shuttered.

So was the fair trade third-world shop.

And the sucky sushi place.

All of the fake English pubs that have spread like cancer in recent years were dark.

A small group of disheveled fiftysomething men stood outside of the Music Box Theater, scratching their heads and watching a young lad change the unlit marquee.

No David Lynch for them.

A crowd was dispersing in front of The Mercury Theatre, which is sort of like our off-suburb theater.

The dark marquee said, "The Buddy Holly Story."

"And we had a full house tonight!" one white-haired gent exclaimed to another.

Store after store, business after business -- everything on that side of the street was dark and shuttered.

The medoicre Thai restaurant was dark.

The Thai restarant that truly sucks was also pitch black.

But people stood outside of the Argentinian restaurant, talking in stacatto Spanish and smoking cigaretes and gesticulating.

It goes without saying that they were thin, handsome, and dressed in expensive black.

(I on the other hand was wearing a day-glo orange jacket, black helmet and magenta earmuffs -- which as far as I'm concerned *is* the new black).

I looked past the well-heeled group to see inside the restaurant.

It was lit by candles.

It was full of people.

They were still eating and drinking and talking and nodding emphatically.

They were still wearing their expensive black clothes.

They were still enjoying life without getting fat.

¿Power outage? ¿QuĂ© power outage?

Unlike Americans, they knew how to deal with a crisis: Saquen los candles y uncork el vino tinto.

A mi me encantan a los Argentinos.

Not so much, however, their taste for dead cows.


Photo by Caca, taken while driving -- fast -- along Elston Avenue.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007


After teaching from 6-9AM yesterday I practiced at YogaNow Edgewater and then headed over to Devon Avenue, aka Little India. I needed to stock up on frozen Mysore Masala Dosas, which taste *exactly* like the real thing and are four for $1.00. I had to get them before the Grocery Wars of 2007 come to an end.

But first I had to eat.

My usual custom is to go to Mysore Woodland and have iddly and dosas. I thought, "Well, I should go there in honor of Guruji." But economics won out; why buy the sacred cow when your basket is full of the same thing, at a fraction of the price?

I usually avoid Tiffin.

It's upscale and touristy.

Ie -- there are white tablecloths and good lighting and a full bar and white people eating.

Inside, it smelled like a fancy Indian hotel (restaurant).

The waiters were solicitous, as at a fancy Indian hotel.

One of them was wearing the cologne I've only noticed in India.

I had a flashback.

I thought of Guruji.

I thought of the Southern Star.

And I enjoyd that buffet.

Afterwards I headed to the grocery stores.

J&K did not have the instant chai that I discovered in NYC.

Patel's was out of the dosas. In fact, many shelves were empty.

I hit paydirt at the Farm Fresh store.

Plus they had watermelon.

I thought of Guruji.

While checking out the cashier noticed my tarted-up Indian shopping bag.

"Where did you get this?"

Mysore, I said.

No reaction.

Then she noticed my giant, flower-shaped nose-pin.

"Where did you get that?"

In Mysore.

No reaction.

In Mysore India.

"Oh. Are you married?"


"When we wear this it means we are married," she said, pointing to her gold nose-pin.

I nodded.

"Why not married?" she asked.

And I thought of Mysore, and of Guruji, and the many times I've been asked that when I was there.

I still haven't come up with a good answer.

Any ideas?

Photo by Caca of the Ravenswood El at IPR

Tuesday, March 20, 2007


My parents, who divorced in 1972, will never get back together -- they're dead -- but there's hope for the pioneering radio duo of Steve Dahl and Garry Meier.

Their 1993 split was almost as devastating for me.

Steve has been coasting ever since.

Garry has been off the air since my second trip to Mysore in 2004, when he turned down an unsatisfactory contract renewal (negotiated by his wife) and he split up with then-partner Roe Conn.

But Robert Feeder's column today shows there's still hope:

WCKG opening door for Garry's comeback

March 20, 2007
BY ROBERT FEDER Sun-Times Columnist
Garry Meier, whose Chicago radio career crashed and burned when he left news/talk WLS-AM (890) in 2004, could be rising from the ashes like the proverbial phoenix. If all goes as planned, he'll soon turn up on the same frequency as his former partner, Steve Dahl.

CBS Radio "Free FM" WCKG-FM (105.9) is expected to make room on its weekday lineup for a late-morning talk show to be hosted by Meier. With widespread speculation heating up on Internet message boards and chat rooms, an official announcement could come this week.

The move wouldn't quite reunite Dahl and Meier, who were a smash duo for 14 years before their bitter breakup in 1993. But it would provide WCKG bosses with some tantalizing promotional opportunities at a time when the station desperately needs a boost.

A one-time walk-on by Meier on Dahl's show last August made local TV newscasts and front-page headlines.

Except for occasional guest shots and courtroom appearances, Meier has been out of the public eye since he turned down a contract renewal at ABC-owned WLS and severed his eight-year partnership with afternoon host Roe Conn.

Steve and Garry first got together in 1979, when they did "crosstalk" between their radio shows. It was so engaging that Meier started doing news on Dahl's show. He went on to become Dahl's (subservient) partner. They split up because he wanted a more equitable arrangement.

Now at least more crosstalk is possible.....

Monday, March 19, 2007


Our prayers are with Guruji.

Apparently he has been told he cannot travel.

From the AYRI website:


Due to health complications, Pattabhi Jois has been advised not to travel at the present time.

He is fine and resting in Mysore. Full refunds will be given."

One possible explanation is that the Indian government is very strict about allowing its citizens to travel internationally if their health is not perfect. Guruji has had chronic blood sugar issues that have affected his travel plans in the past. This could be what is going on.

Still -- I knew I didn't like Florida....


*The British use "cancelled" while we thrifty Americans spell it "canceled." In other words, both are correct.

Saturday, March 17, 2007


Gangs of green-clad drunken twentysomethings swarmed the north side today.

Now I understand why St. Patrick's Day rarely falls on the weekend.

But the festivities began long ago.

Last night I was awakened at 2:30am. The building was shaking. Doors were slamming. People in the courtyard were yelling.

I ignored it at first. But since I was up I ate some watermelon and read a mildly amusing essay by Illeana Douglas.

But the noise only got worse; every minute or so the neighbor's back door would slam and someone would stomp down two flights of wooden stairs.

I finally crept outside and peered over the railing.

Below me was an inebriated, keg-shaped gent with a green plastic derby perched atop his fat head.

I overcame the urge to throw dirty cat litter on him.

I slammed my back door, hard.

But the noise continued.

At 3:30AM I slammed the desk chair into the floor, hard.

The hubbub subsided for two seconds, and then resumed.

I crept into the front hall and listened; the only voices coming from the neighbor's door were male.

Apparently this was some sort of pre-St. Patrick's Day stag party.

I tried again to sleep. No luck. (I'm not even remotely Irish).

So I did the thing I never thought I would do.

I called the police. The Man.

It felt good to share my frustration with someone, anyone -- even if it was a stuttering dispatcher who didn't give a rat's ass about me.

I don't know if The Fuzz ever came.

Just in case they didn't, I rang the guy's buzzer -- hard -- when I left for class this morning.

Happy St. Paddy's Day indeed

Friday, March 16, 2007


I woke up today and did not want to practice. Well, I wanted to practice. But at the same time I did not. I wrestled with it. Should I practice? Should I not practice? I asked the cat for his opinion but instead of answering he bit my hand. The minutes ticked away -- precious minutes that could have been spent practicing. Why do I hate to practice and yet love to practice? Why don't I practice more? I only practiced four times this week. What is my problem? Why am I making so little progress in my....

Oh wait, that's someone else's blog.

But I did only do four asana pratices this week.

That's because I fell ill on Wednesday with fever, nausea and extreme exhaustion. Still, I got up in time to imbibe some chai before the phone interview with Radio Austria. I sounded like a nincompoop anyway.

Afterwards I set a bucket next to the bed -- just in case -- and went back down for a nap.

I awakened feeling worse.

"My life is a mess," I thought. "What in the hell am I doing?"

So I did the only thing I could: I watched State Fair, which featured Ann-Margaret, Bobby Darin and Pat Boone (I was not so ill that I failed to notice what a hot body Boone had. Yes, Pat Boone was hot.). I actually enjoyed it -- especially when the father wielded a big piece of plywood to herd his beloved pet pig in front of the fair judges -- and it won grand champion. I too showed Hampshire* pigs when I was in 4-H, using a green piece of plywood with our club name stencilled on it to keep the swine between me and the judge. I won grand champion gilt and reserve champion litter (a litter is three siblings). As Xmas Judy correctly pointed out, "It was only because your father did all the work."

(I think that was the only time, post-divorce, that I was the beneficiary of such favoritism).

Later, my younger stepbrother and I cried when we found out they were auctioning off our pigs to buyers who planned to bar-b-que them. Sobbing, we went to the swine barn and said a long goodbye to our pigs, and told them we were sorry.

You see, I was doing yoga even back then....

But I digress.

After the movie and trip down memory lane I still felt like crap.

So I canceled the only private lesson I have.

I found a sub for my evening class.

Then I proceeded to drink ginger ale, eat crackers in bed, and sleep.

(You should always keep ginger ale in the house, by the way. And eat crackers in bed).

In the evening I watched Say Anything. It was the first time I'd seen it from start to finish.

It was, like, the best movie ever.

Afterwards I watched Lost, which sucked, and then went back to dreamland.

The sleep cure worked; the next day I taught four classes like it was nothing.

Well, I did battle some nausea during the first one, and tried to focus on the less strenuous poses.

And I was utterly exhausted.

So between each class I came home and took a nap.

And today I woke up and.... started in on Surya Namaskar A!

But I was weak and my sinuses were a mess (the weather just went from 70 and humid to 30 and dry, creating a barometic teeter-totter for the sinuses). Plus my back was killing me.

Instead of bailing, I addressed it in my practice.

I did kapalabathi and alternate nostril breathing.

I did headstand.

I did some twists and other asanas for the back.

Then I did the fundamental standing asanas, followed by backbends and savasana.

It worked; I felt better.

I went forth and taught, and it was good.

Well, at least *I* thought it was.

*Hampshire pigs are black with a thick white stripe.

Thursday, March 15, 2007


The teacher training photos are up. Most are from the partner yoga segment. To the uninitiated they may look a little cult-y.... although it wasn't like that at all. Really.

Our *graduation* is May 12 -- provided we first complete our 40 hours of karma yoga. It coincides with Dharma's birthday (he'll be 68 on 5/14) and his Maha Sadhana (a three-hour practice that goes way, way beyond asana).

Wednesday, March 14, 2007


Everything is melting -- it was 70-degrees yesterday -- and Caca feels like crap.

Rather than describe it, which would take too much energy, here's an image that hits it on the head (so to speak):

Tuesday, March 13, 2007


I got up at 5am today so that a reporter from Austrian National Radio can interview me (via phone) about culture shock on my first trip to India.

Apparently they found me online, via this.

Now I'm debating -- Should I tell them that wearing a single toe-ring on one foot means you're a prostitute?

Eh -- I'm sure they already know that.



I waited and waited but they never called.


Sunday, March 11, 2007


I actually said the following last night, to SportMarty, while we were discussing politics and whatnot before the curtain went up for Theater Ooblek's new play The Strangerer:

" know -- he was on that plane they blew up over Lockheed, Switzerland."

I think that beats Enelle's "Habitat for Humidity."

But perhaps not this:

Friday, March 09, 2007


The sun was rising as I drove to class along Lake Shore Drive this morning.

And I took it upon myself to snap pictures of it -- while doing 45mph.

It was breathtaking.

Especially how the light was hitting the health club....

which was far less toxic today.

Thursday, March 08, 2007


The Sinus Headache From Hell returned today for an encore performance.

Since I was teaching three in a row (6AM, 7:30AM, 10AM) there was little I could do to fix it -- although I did try alternate nostril breathing while driving to the first class, and did headstand while the students were in savasana (corps pose).

(All three classes, by the way, were Level I Dharma Mittra Hatha Raja Yoga)

But it wasn't until after I taught, visited Stanley's and used the focus group gift card to pick up a purple jacket at the Super Yoga Megastore that I had time to do anything about it.

By then the head hurt so much I was nauseous.

But I forced myself to do the Feldenkrais and S-I exercises and then did five backbends, followed by alternate nostril breathing.

Again it went away.

It returned later, during class number four, at the well-designed health club.

Apparently they just painted the walls in the holistic studio.

There is zero ventilation in the holistic studio.

The fumes hit me the second I walked in and did not go away.

I propped open the doors with blocks.

One student took it upon herself to remove them, because she was near the door.

I put them back.

Still there was no ventilation.

By the end of class my throat hurt, my head hurt and I was nauseous.

And I am subbing there tomorrow at 6:30AM.

There should be a law or something....

Maybe a quick call to OSHA would do the trick.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007


This morning I awakened with The Sinus Headache From Hell.

The head throbbed. There was pain from my right eye down to my right shoulder. My right lower back hurt, too....

I ate watermelon.

I ate a kiwi and an orange.

I did the neti pot.

I still felt like hell.

Normally, I would take a Sudafed Headache tablet. I would have had coffee.

But I've been trying to be *good* since returning from NYC.

So I drank chai. I debated doing a yoga practice.

I got out the mat and tried some sun salutations. They only made me feel worse.

I considered looking up what Mr. Iyengar has to say about sinus problems.


Instead I looked at my teacher training materials.

Dharma's advice is to avoid sun salutations and vigorous asanas. He says to do the neti pot, headstand, and alternate nostril breathing.

I tried headstand. I felt a little bit better.

I did some Feldenkrais exercises for the neck and shoulders, some twists and some s-i joint poses.

I did a long, supported Savasana (corpse pose).

My limbs tingled. But my head still felt like crap.

I felt so bad in fact that I could not sit down and do breathing exercises.

So I ate my Ezekiel toast.

I answered a few e-mails.

I did a little work.

Then I put some China-Gel on the head and neck, covered my eyes and went down for a nap. This has worked in the past.

But when I awakened The Headache was still there.

I turned on the VCR and watched The Dark Ages.

I ate lunch.

I answered a few more e-mails.

The throbbing persisted.

Finally I sat down and did some Kapalabhati and alternate nostril breathing.

The pain immediately disappeared.

Always trust the guru.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007


I've been half raw (diet-wise) since returning from NYC.

My current obsession is beets, which I'd always disliked.

Now I can't get enough of them -- and the beautiful magenta mess they make.

They are not easy to find.

You must go to Stanley's or Fresh Farms in Little India on Devon Avenue.

They are having grocery wars on Devon.

Patel's just expanded and added a produce section. They are selling everything from bulk incense to Red Label Tea to frozen dosas at or below cost. I picked up a 99-cent pineapple there today.

Fresh Farms, a few doors away, is fighting back with their own low low prices.

I'm sure someone is being exploited somewhere.

But today for lunch I had iddly with Trader Joe's sambar and a massive salad with shredded beets and avocado and tossed with fresh lemon juice and organic olive oil.

Now that's the stuff.

Monday, March 05, 2007


I think I lost my cell phone.

At 3:35 I used it to call Bindi and tell her I wasn't going to the cool Japanese movie after all.

Then I lay down, put in the eardrops, and promptly fell into a deep, dreamless sleep for 1.5 hours.

I awakened, had a cold cup of chai, did an phone interview (via landline) with Johnny Mars -- who's back on WXRT! -- and packed up the laptop. Then I headed over to Gridlife's.

On the way I starting digging out the phone to call MariKay about practicing on Monday.

But the phone wasn't in its special pocket.

"Oh, it's probably at home," I thought, and continued on my way to Gridlife's and then to the pot-luck known as Sunday Night Club.

When I got home at 10 I tore the place apart; no phone.

I called my cell phone number; nothing.

I got the flashlight and went outside, still calling my number.


It wasn't on the sidewalk, the gutter or the street.

It wasn't in the car (where I found it when I lost it last week).

I tore the house apart again.

Then I went online and looked at my most recent usage; the call to Bindi at 3:35.

"Well, at least no one's stolen it," I thought.

So I suspended service.

Then I considered reinstating it; if someone found the phone, they could call me (since I'm listed in the directory under "home.")

And if it's in the car, maybe it would ring while I was driving.

I fell asleep contemplating these things and then pushing them out of my mind....

This morning at 5AM I began searching new places; the garbage can, the refrigerator, behind the bed.


And now I must contemplate getting a new phone: Do I buy it from Cingular? From eBay? Do I ask my friends if they have an old Nokia sitting around somewhere?

But it can't be just any phone.

It has the be the old-school Nokia 6010.

Because I have all the accessories for it.

Because I actually know how to use it.

Because it doesn't have a million features.

My Nokia 6010 was free, but for some reason it now retails for $59.95.

Any ideas?

And then there's the whole SIM card problem; all of the lost numbers....

I'll think about that one later.



Just when I'd done one final car search and given up all hope and decided it didn't matter anyway....

I got out of the car.

And there it was, in the driver's-seat crack.

Go figger

Friday, March 02, 2007


On Wednesday nights I teach until 9PM, race home, eat, bathe, and go to bed so I can get up to teach from 6-9AM on Thursday.

This week my slumber was interrupted at 3:30AM by a thunderstorm.

I could not go back to sleep. In addition to the thunder, my right ear was throbbing.

Nor would my jaw close properly when I peeled myself out of bed at 5.

I went to the studio. I taught. I tried my jaw every once in awhile to see if it would close.

It would not.

After class I called Dr. Dreyfus for a consultation.

He too thought it was probably an ear infection.

Or a toothache.

Or a sinus infection. (I've been using the neti pot daily since the teacher training).

"Don't f--k around," he said. "Go to the doctor."

The doctor, who is from Hyderabad, saw me at 1PM.

It was indeed an upper respiratory + ear infection.

She asked me if there had been any other symptoms.

"Uh. Well. Not really. I've been kind of tired lately, that's all."

Since I was officially sick, and a major winter storm was on the way, I didn't think I could follow through on plans to see the live, on-stage version of This American Life.

I had planned to take the train downtown, teach from 5:30-6:30 and then walk many blocks through 40mph winds to see the show.

Since I was officially sick, I drove.

I taught.

Afterwards I found myself driving towards the lovely Chicago Theater in the heart of downtown.

"If I find a parking space, I'll go," I thought.

I found a space.

I went.

The line to get in went around the block. Literally.

So I went to Borders and read in Venus Zine that someone had stolen my idea for Punk Rock Yoga.

When I came out the line had not moved.

So I went upstairs to visit my friend Jim D. at the Gene Siskel Film Center.

I also ran into some students who were playing hookey from yoga.

I went outside. The line for TAL was still long.

I waited and watched the police congregate in the middle of State Street: one was in a car, one was on a bicycle, and one was on a Segway.

All were fat.

Finally I got in.

The show began.

It was all about television.

Sarah Vowell was the same as always. David Rakoff killed.

Ira -- who gave his apartment to The New Orleans Evacugees a couple of years ago -- got booed when he talked about his recent move from Chicago to New York City.

Things dragged even more when he brought out the director of the new This American Life TV show and proceeded to talk and talk and talk with him.

But the tide turned when he showed excerpts from the TV show, which debuts on the 22nd.

It is amazing.

It is visually stunning.

It brought tears to my eyes.

And it was an excerpt.

Still, I won't be ordering Showtime anytime soon.

But after that I had to leave.

When I came out I saw that a crowd gathered across the street, in front of ABC-7's new studios.

They were watching the live broadcast of the evening news.

But there weren't that many of them.

For once, watching radio was better than TV.

Or, as Ira recently told the Chicago Sun-Times, "...the network tells us that the audience we'll get on TV is half the audience we get on public radio. Public radio is so much larger than any cable TV network."

More here.