Skip to content

I Get by With a Little Help From My Friends Dec 2022 – Jan 2023

Happy AZ at one of his favorite Mexican establishments

Welcome back to the all new Diary of a Damned Man. The old site was hacked but we do have everything saved out of order on a drive thanks to Joshua Dick. Eventually I’ll have time to repair that but moving forward this is the all new Diary of a Damned Man. Read at your own risk

When you’re down and troubled and you need a helping hand.

And nothing it seems nothing is going right .

Close your eyes and think of me and soon I will be there.

To brighten up even your darkest nights.

Buena Park my home for 17 years, 15 of which I have lived at the same address. I’ve been on this street since December 2005 when I entered the corporate world full time.
January winter morning in Montrose harbor view of the downtown skyline

The year started out perfectly with another quiet New Years Eve with Bob and his dogs at his home in Montgomery which sits between Aurora and Oswego. And every weekend this year so far has been spent with those who have proven to be my very good friends. 2 weeks before New Years it was my annual birthday gathering in Portage IN at Quaker Steak and Lube. But I’ll get around to that later. Christmas Eve also brought a helluva’ surprise as the temp on Dec 22nd dropped to 40 degrees in just an afternoon. Temperatures climbed to 1 degree early Saturday Christmas Eve after a brutal 29 consecutive hours below zero, and eventually hit 14 at O’Hare Airport by mid-afternoon. But again, I’m backtracking here so lets begin with Saturday Jan 14, 2023.

Saturday morning after a night of finishing season 5 part 1 of Yellowstone I had a very nice night of sleep after Googling Award winning Country Artist Lainey Wilson after seeing her on Yellowstone.

‘Whatever Brings The People In’ – Lainey Wilson Doesn’t Care How Many People Post Her Ass On TikTok
As Long As They Listen To Her Music. Lainey Wilson might be the first true country artist with an ass that can’t stop being posted all over social media. 

I arrived about 30 minutes before the departure of my 1240 PM train. It was not crowded and kinda quiet and I was actually able to enjoy reading 3 chapters of “This Band Has No Past: How Cheap Trick Became Cheap Trick”.

The weekend train doesn’t make all of the stops so I arrived in New Lenox where I met with my ol pal Dave Ganz and we made a stop at Culvers where I had my first burger of 2023. My doctor made me promise I’d cut back so the burger thing is only going to be once a month.

at Culvers in Lockport with Dave Ganz “Metal Dad”

Dave must have been hungrier than myself because his burger and fries were basically inhaled. He let me know it was only going to be the guys. His wife Xtina had taken the metal daughters Ava and Natalia to some friends. Steve Pens would be having his twin boys stay with us and the other who showed up were Bryant Bohne, Matt Milarczyk and Brian Cza who I brought into the group a few years ago. I knew Brian from back in the Rebel Radio days when he had a show on after mine. Dave and I picked up 50 wings from Wingstop, Mexican beer and Tequila and Matt had brought a suitcase of White Castle. This was not going to be a healthy evening but one tailor made for a bunch of hard rocking friends who I only see one a year if I’m lucky. Bohne carried in a box of assorted Scotch and Boubon.

Into the night
A quiet moment w/ Metal Dad and AZ before the troops arrived.

Around 7PM the reunion kicked into gear. Dave was playing a band I was unfamiliar with named Avatar a Swedish heavy metal band, formed in Gothenburg in 2001. They had an interesting image and very well produced videos. Meanwhile we were all devouring wings and White Castle sliders. Bohne knew exactly ho to pour the Scotch and the bourbon was poured slightly more generous. I had been sipping beer and margaritas. We all had laughs and I crashed around 11 PM upstairs in one of the girls rooms. They guys were up in Dave’s basement mancave till around 2 AM I was told. I was up at 7AM and went downstairs. Everyone was scattered about sleeping. Bohne walked into the room carrying a waste basket, Seems the liquor wasn’t as kind to him. Truth be told, these guys are seasoned beer drinkers. I on the other hand prefer to save bottles and cans by only drinking from one bottle at a time, the night prior an exception.

L to R in the back Dave, Steve, Brian, and AZ
front Bryant and Matt

By 9 AM everyone was the living dead except for Dave. We headed out to take me to the train and drove thru Burger King to feed me on the train home. I had to get back, shower and get ready for a podcast that Amy Abramite of the Joy Thieves had planned since November 2022 when she as on the podcast with her bandmates. It was an Anti Motley Crue show and I had a bunch of Crue songs performed by anyone else but the Crue. It was going to be fun.

Max and Amy arrived at about the same time and we spent an hour and a half plying fun songs and talking smack on “Americas Most Notorious Rock Band”.

The MKULTRASOUND PodCast 1/15/2023: Motley Crude with Alex Zander and Amy Abramite of The Joy Thieves hating on “Americas Most Notorious Rock Band”. Also Max Bravo and Jason Harmon will be contributing.

“Home Sweet Home” (Bluegrass)
“Brick House” / “Shout at the Devil” (Motley Crue vs. The Commodores mashup)
“Shout at the Devil” – The Electric Hellfire Club
“Kickstart My Heart” – Steve ’n’ Seagulls (Bluegrass)
“Too Fast For Love” – The Donnas
“Toast Of The Town” – Pretty Boy Floyd
“Do It Again” / “Looks That Kill Mash Up Steely Dan / Motley Crue
“Home Sweet Home” – The Jimmy Psycho Experiment (Lounge Music)

After we knocked out a nearly 90 minute podcast I set the computer up to upload the show and we walked to Wrigleyville North and took a seat at a table being that the bar was packed. We had a round and Bobby T. a regular and old friend came in looking cool wearing a black leather biker jacket. The guy is in his 70’s and looks badass and is a helluva lot of fun to be around. The more he drinks the more Irish his speech becomes.

Marvel Max Bravo, AZ and Amy Abramite at Wrigleyville North for aftershow cocktails
AZ and Bobby T. at Wrigleyville North

A short time later we all went our separate ways. I worked a little bit on the show and then went to bed. Next day it was back to the grind and that means my day job and other identity.

Culvers  1819 W Montrose Ave, Chicago, IL

On Saturday January 7th I had made plans months ago to ta take Melanie Harley to see the movie we were both very excited to see, M3GAN. Melanie is another one of the great people I’d met via Nick Huffman. She works as an EMDR Therapist at LifeStance Health (yes, she’s a shrink) and is a bigger comic geek than myself. So that would be a perfect person to share this movie with. I got an early start, I was hungry and thought I’d hang out at Hansa Clipper where I know many of the regulars. Saturday early afternoon the place is packed. But first I wanted to eat at Culvers since its on the way. I’m a sucker for their Butter Burgers but am doing to my best at the urging of my doctor to cut back on things like red meat and cheese. DAMN. I had been wanting to try their fish and chips for a long time so this would be that day. In a nutshell Long John Silver’s is better and fraction of the price.

Described as:

Caught in the icy North Atlantic, our cod is hand cut, hand battered and golden fried after you order. Served with a classic Culver’s family recipe tartar sauce featuring olives, capers and sweet relish, your choice of two classic sides, plus a warm dinner roll.

The fish was terrible and the fries cold (usually I have to wait to eat them because they are too hot) and the roll was anything but warm. It was stale and cold. All of the beverage machines were out of order so an attendant had to take my cup around the counter to fill with unsweetened Iced Tea. After I posted to Facebook I got this response:

Ed Kowalski $22.14? For that? Sweet Baby Jesus!

Alex Zander Cold fries. Cold roll. Ice machine not working.

I’m pretty sure it’s the location which has always been amazing in the past but its like this staff just didn’t seem to care about the quality they brag about this particular day.

At this point how could anything else go wrong. Oh, dear reader, it’s still early at this point. My second disappointment of the day was pending. I was more than happy to exit the train and make my way to The Hansa Clipper. I expected to be greeted by all of the friendly locals as usual. Besides I was ready for a drink, after all it was Saturday and I had no real plans other than fun.

Carola’s Hansa Clipper 4659 N Lincoln Ave, Chicago, IL

I walked in and it was empty. There were remnants of patrons with empty glasses on tables. The bartender had he back turned to the door which is not wise in my opinion. Other than that every seat was vacant. Never ever had I seen my favorite watering hole away from my hood so lonely and desolate.

I took a seat near the end of the bar and ordered a double Jameson on the rocks. She told me as she looked at the empty bottles on the shelves that they were out. Now seeing is believing and never in my life had I seen a bar with empty bottles on display. It was like a collage kids apartment.

Look at all of those empty bottles of spirits

Then I asked for a Smirnoff cocktail and all of the vodka bottles were empty as well. Finally she found a bottle of Johnny Walker Red that was about 1/2 full so I had 2 of those and left.

I took a stroll down the boulevard and stepped into Genes Sausage shop which was busy as usual and then thought why not go into Garcia’s where they make one of the very best margarites in the city.

Garcia’s Restaurant 4760 N Lincoln Ave, Chicago, IL

I managed to hang for about 30 minutes nursing my Premium Margarita made from scratch with care, and then I took a walk down Lincoln where so many places were not open for business. The thing is it’s not the COVID pandemic anymore. People are not going back to work especially in the service industry so most places don’t open till later, even on the weekends due to shortage in staffing. It was about then that Melanie called and told me she had parked. I had her meet me at Hansa Clipper since I had ordered our movie tickets online 2 days prior We had one drink each and to my surprise a regular was at the bar and we spoked for a couple of minutes and I was informed that the bar is up for sale. we finished our drinks and I bid so long to my friend and we went to the theater with anticipation for a movie we had both been longing to see, And according to the box office take a lot of other people were wanting t see it as well

WORLDWIDE $101,212,510

We wildly enjoyed the film. As much as a horror film it was also a black comedy and we laughed all the way thru as did everyone else in the audience. It was easy to realize that a sequel would be in the works. And 2 weeks after it was announced for 2025

With Melanie Harley aka Beans after seeing M3GAN at Carbon Arc Bar & Board

After the movie we went to the adjacent bar Carbon Arc Bar & Board and ordered a round. Melanie got a call and had to go home to her kids. I actually enjoyed the music, bartender and atmosphere so much I had another before taking the Brown Line home.

When I got home and thought I’d stay in for the night and watch a movie, I had the desire for more company so I walked to Wrigleyvlle North, it was closed. ON A SATURDAY NIGHT! And walking home the same thing at The Bearded Lady Lounge, closed. I was in utter disbelief and was told after I emailed one of the part time bartenders that it would also be closed Sunday, which is normally a big day for them especially football season.

My weekend was over.

“M3GAN 2.0,” a sequel to Atomic Monster and Blumhouse’s campy thriller, is officially in the works. Universal has scheduled the movie to debut in theaters on Jan. 17, 2025.
As tradition of the last 3 years would have it I’d spend New Years out in the burbs with Bob Hoeksema pretty much the best friend a middle aged rocker could have.

Around 2 PM on Saturday December 31 I arrived at the Aurora train station which I should ad is very nice, clean and has great food and bars inside. BH and I had discussed the normal routine of eating at our favorite burger place of all time. Asadora’s which has Sages Meat Market next door and last year I went in and they were closing. This year I had a feeling but BH to the rescue. He had discovered a gem on the way to Asadora’s in Aurora, and BOY HOWDY was it a fuck of a find.

Allow me to introduced you to the Wurst Kitchen Sausage Co. 638 2nd Ave. Aurora, IL

Wurst Kitchen, where since 1895, making the finest all natural handmade sausages and smoked meats available anywhere! Great sausages!!! Great service and very friendly. Small place with great atmosphere for a butcher shop! Believe me you, I loaded up! The smells in this place were nothing less than intoxicating. I picked up some sausage for Bob and some for myself and we were off to Assadora’s.

Asadoras Argentinas Burgers, in Oswego, IL, is the premier restaurant serving Kendall and Kane counties. We specialize in Argentinian-style burgers.

This one-of-a-kind burger joint is located at 4542 State Route 71 in Oswego.
Ranked 11th on 24/7 Wall Street’s best burgers list, Asadoras is so much more than just burgers. A quick look at their menu reveals plenty of other tasty items like empanadas, chicken and steak sandwiches, and more.

On the way we were discussing getting wings for later that night. Bob had told me that Anchor Bar had recently opened in Oswego. Anchor Bar in Buffalo NY is where the buffalo wing was created. My friend Robert Salisbury from NH made the trek there a few years ago and wasn’t thrilled. He, like myself is a wing connoisseur. However I had to find out for myself.

Kristen our favorite the owner/server had her baby girl on Christmas Eve so we would not be seeing her this day. I wheeled Bob inside and there we no tables available for the first time ever. So we waited for almost 15 minutes which felt like an hour not only because we were both hungry but having had these burgers on all of my recent visits out there knew what we would be savoring.

I ordered a double mushroom and swiss which is what I order almost every visit. This time I was able to finish it because I hadn’t eaten anything at all that day. It was so damn mouth watering delicious. I should also say, we had the most beautiful Latina waitress. Bonita!

Sautéed onions & mushrooms, arugula, swiss cheese and on the side potato wedges with chimichurri  seasoning
Bob ordered the Patty Melt, melted cheese and topped with caramelized onions between two slices of griddled bread

I just cannot say enough good things about Asadora’s. It’s in a small space in a mini strip mall and boasts the very best burgers I’ve ever had and I confess that I am proud to call myself a burger snob. My friend Bob who lives a short drive from this excellent find discovered Asadora’s a year or so back. Now every time I visit him which is 3 or 4 times a year we go there to eat before we do anything else. I’ve told everyone I know of Asadora’s. I stand by my opinion that they are even better than Kuma’s at a fraction of the price. On my first visit I had the mushroom swiss and potato wedges with Chimichurri sauce which is found in Argentinian and Uruguayan cuisines, the sauce comes in a green (chimichurri verde) and red (chimichurri rojo) version. It is made of finely chopped parsley, minced garlic, olive oil, oregano and red wine vinegar or lemon juice. I became such a fan that when I got back home to Chicago I ordered 2 jars online.

These burgers are fat and juicy. Cooked to order with the most fresh toppings. They do have nn expanded menu however I’m a burger junkie so I stick with their burgers. They were recently voted the #1 burger in the region and Ranked 11th on 24/7 Wall Street’s best burgers list nationwide.

The service is very friendly and and top notch. Its always a pleasant experience and keeps ya coming back.

I’ve found my favorite burger of all time. Thank you Asadora’s.

When we left Bob wheeled into the Oswego Food & Liquor 4574 IL-71, Oswego, IL to buy some beer. I haven’t seen Bob drink a beer in a couple of years. As he picked up his beer and smokes I called Anchor Bar and ordered 20 wings to go and we drove to pick them up.

2440 Walter Payton Memorial Hwy, Oswego, IL

On a Friday night in 1964, Dominic Bellissimo was tending bar at the now famous Anchor Bar Restaurant in Buffalo, NY. Late that evening, a group of Dominic’s friends arrived at the bar with ravenous appetites. Dominic asked his mother, Teressa, to prepare something for his friends to eat.

They looked like chicken wings, a part of the chicken that usually went into the stock pot for soup.

Teressa had deep fried the wings and flavored them with a secret sauce. The wings were an instant hit and it didn’t take long for people to flock to the bar to experience this new taste sensation. From that evening on, Buffalo Wings became a regular part of the menu at the Anchor Bar.

The phenomenon created in 1964 by Teressa Bellissimo has spread across the globe. Although many have tried to duplicate Buffalo Wings, the closely guarded secret recipe is what makes Frank & Teressa’s the proclaimed “Best Wings in the World.”

These wings would hit the spot after Bob baked them a little bit later on in the evening. We watched some Yellowstone Season 5 and then turned on FOX NEW where they always have a kick as and fun New years Eve show. They had a comic live who really hit the spot. Jimmy Failla was a fucking riot and I had to watch it again before I fell asleep.

We woke up and worked together on making a huge breakfast pizza which I would take 1/2 of home with me. I got on the next train at 1020AM and would be home 3 hrs later. Yeah, the train ride was only 90 minutes but due to the CTA Brown Line running slower service on the weekends it took my the same amount of time to get home from Downtown. I could have taken the Red Line but due to high crime I don’t go underground anymore.

Another year behind me and I have a lot to look forward to especially since my plan is to relocate to St. Charles/Geneva area.

As a gift Bob gave to me the center signed poster from all of the bands that performed at The Arcada on the second night that we saw all three of the bands. The other signed posters were sent to me from Taime Downe. The framed poster in the rear I’ll add later. It’s the first time my name has ever been on a movie poster that I know of. DSN Music Presents “STATIC! THE ROCKUMENTARY: reports on the historical evolution of Chicago area rock radio stations, and their music programming changes from the 1970s into the 21st century. 

Some very significant things happened personally/professionally in 2022 but overall it was a terribly painful year for me a a person. Losing Nick Huffman was a tragedy for a LOT of people. I was devastated. Then my Facebook was hacked and all 3 FB pages were lost and not long after the same thing happened to over 20 yrs worth of work on the long running MK ULTRA Magazine website.

For whatever reason I felt like putting up a tree this year. I didn’t have room for a tall tree however I knew I could make a 4 ft tree work and it sure did. I tossed out the full sized tree almost 3-4 yrs ago. I gave my ornaments away to Dawn who had kept them safe.

With Nick on one of my visits to the Looney Bin
An AMAZING shot of Nick Huffman on my back porch
I haven’t had a bat light since my very first apartment in Indianapolis. I figured since I was feeling festive.

Not many people got to share in the display but more than I figured would. I had some interesting visitors near the end of the year. To my great surprise the cats left it alone except for when they’d lay or sleep on the table that the tree stood on.

December 22-23, 2022: Powerful Arctic Front Brings Snow, Strong Winds, and Bitterly Cold Temperatures to the Region:

Max’s flight and hundreds of others were cancelled so Max was in town to do the Christmas Special Podcast with me. The day turned out much better than we had planned.

A powerful Arctic cold front surged into the Midwest on Thursday, December 22nd, bringing snow, strong winds, and bitterly cold temperatures in its wake. While snowfall accumulations generally only ranged between 1 and 5 inches, a rapidly deepening area of low pressure associated with the front caused strong winds that gusted in excess of 50 mph at times and produced substantial blowing and drifting snow that led to blizzard conditions at times. Additionally, the frigid temperatures with wind chills as low as -40F mitigated the effectiveness of road treatments and allowed for many roadways to remain snow and ice-covered into Friday, December 23rd even though most of the snow had ended Thursday evening.

The reduced visibilities and slippery roadways contributed to numerous automobile accidents on both days, which caused portions of I-65 and I-94 in northwest Indiana to be shut down for several hours. The cold and snowy conditions also disrupted train and air transportation before the holiday weekend, with several trains and flights being delayed or cancelled.

Max had a trip to KY with his grandson AJ to spend a week w/ AJ’s father. My plan was to go to Liars Club to see I LOVE RICH do their RICHMAS show but is was much too cold and I knew Ubers would be rare and charging surge prices so I stayed in. On Christmas Eve afternoon Max arrived and we did a fun show with bands such as Spinal Tap


Chopin BAD SANTA 1 Intro
I Don’t Know What Christmas Is (but Christmastime is here) OLD 97’s
Dead By Christmas -HANOI ROCKS
Zombie Claus – PSYCHOSTICK
Merry Christmas I Don’t Want to Fight Tonight – LA GUNS (Ramones Cover)
Jingle Bells -MOJO NIXON and the TOAD LIQUORS
I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus – TWISTED SISTER
Christmas With the Devil – SPINAL TAP
Bad Santa 1 and 2 out takes
OUTRO Chopin Bad Santa

Marvel Max Bravo and AZ either before or after the The 2022 MKULTRASOUND PodCast Rock n Roll XXXMAS Show

After the show we felt the need to go out for a drink, a little socializing and Max is always great to go to a pub with most of the time. It was still damned cold and we got to the corner and looked south down Sheridan Rd to our destination Wrigleyville North. Max wanted to call first to inquire if they were open. I told him bars don’t really have phones anymore. We got the the train station which was now 1/2 a block away from the bar, he tried to call and number was non working. He nearly jumped on the CTA to go home and I said fuck it lets just go check . We got there and it was around 330PM and the sign said close at 5 PM. We went inside and there were NO REGRETS. I wasn’t expecting anything so I didn’t do anything w/ my hair, didn’t care what I was wearing because warmth was all that mattered and I didn’t pack a bunch of business cards as I usually do. As of late I’ve been going thru bundles of them. It was a small crowd and a couple of dogs. A small but friendly crowd and we got to meet all of them. A group of guys at he bar said they thought they recognized me, and I’ve been getting a lot of that lately. We shook hands and I passed out cards. Then a small lady came over and knew me from way back in the Ministry/TKK/Smart Bar/Wax Trax days. Her name was Patty and her and Chris had just moved back to Chicago from NYC. We traded info, chatted took pix and hung out. Somewhere in between the bartender and attractive redhead lady named Angela introduced herself and told we we’ve met but she was, for lack of a better term I’ll just say “Zandered” which is my term for intoxicated. At 5PM when everyone was shown the door Max and I enjoyed a few more drinks before heading out. Just like that we made a new group of friends.

Patricia Neumann (Patty) at Wrigleyville North Christmas Eve


December 13, 2022  

Some festive gals at Millennium Station as we were about to board the South Shore Line to Indiana
Max Bravo and Dawn Barbee
Dawn Barbee, AZ, Jeff (Creepy) Brown
Dawn Barbee AZ and Melody Wren
The Grinch, AZ and Sarah
Everyone except for Wheelchair Jason Sex On Wheelz Harmon
My end of the table (I don’t usually flip the bird anymore)
Detroit Jason Kenski, Wheelchair Jason Sex on Wheelz Harmon and Marvel Max Bravo
Did it get quiet?

It was so amazing being surrounded by so many good friends over the weekend. I know you cancelled plans and went out of your way to travel so many miles just to share some laughs. Dawn Barbee who has a father in the hospital and drove 2.5 hours,. Melody Wren who drove over 3 hrs from Decatur, Detroit Jason Kenski who flew in from the Motor City. Jeff Brown (Creepy 2.5 hrs and did the dance) Wheelchair Jason Harmon (Sex On Wheelz) who drove over 2 hrs. Thanks for the Faster Pussycat vinyl. My new partner in crime Josh Michael of Dick Liquors and Steven over 2 hrs and setting us up w/ a private room at QS&L. Our amazing waitress Sarah and FUCK YOU to the manager. We’re never coming back EVER! Judgmental assholes to the Max! Max Bravo for being Max Bravo

Faster Pussycat Whipped Clear Vinyl Wheelchair Jason gave me for
my bday
Alice Cooper autograph from Detroit Jason Kenski on my bday

Sunday December 11th The MKULTRASOUND Podcast presents The Detroit Rock City Special with Alex Zander and Detroit Jason Kenski talking about the history of rock music in the Motor City and playing some of their favorite bands:



Sunday December 11th The MKULTRASOUND Podcast presents The Detroit Rock City Special with Alex Zander and Detroit Jason Kenski talking about the history of rock music in the Motor City and playing some of their favorite bands:



Alice Cooper with Detroit Jason sporting the MKULTRASOUND T Shirt

You know I’m born to lose
And gambling’s for fools
But that’s the way I like it, baby
I don’t want to live forever
And don’t forget the joke

Jason got in the afternoon of Friday Dec 9th and left late on my actual birthday Monday Dec 12. I drank more beer that weekend than I have combined in the last 5 yrs. We ate at El Palmar I think every day. We made our rounds the local bars and even Carols Pub the Honky Tonk. Guthries Pop Up was so lame. We only went since the ice bumper cars were sold out which we both were pretty fucking unhappy about. A week later the polar vortex arrived and the city shut down. He dodged a bullet this time. At least the weather wasn’t like a year ago. Thanks man, you’re a great fucking friend and I love talking music with you. See ya in April

Pineapples are in season.

Last April 2022 with Detroit Jason and our buddy Evan Stone.

Political careers are over.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *