With Roddy Piper’s passing last year, I thought it came time for me to finally have my say about this amazing film. Despite being a big fan of both The Thing & Big Trouble in Little China, there’s quite a few other features from John Carpenter that I haven’t touched yet, mainly Halloween and his other horror classics (which will hopefully change soon). They Live was also in that category, but that all changed for me in 2014 and I’m all the better for it. The film is a triumph in so many ways that I find myself unable to write anything that would do it justice. However, I find that They Live’s greatest quality is also its most foreboding as it makes more relevance to us now than it ever did in 1988.
I had a great time in D.C. with the GF, but returning to the status quo of not being together has more or less imprisoned me in a very familiar cage of silence. I’ve got no one to laugh with or discuss things with, and no one to really share food with. Therefore, I’m thankful for having those five days full of what used to be our lives.
The overarching feeling I got from traveling between Arlington and the District was this unique sense of rediscovery as an American. Let me just say that in light of many recent events, I haven’t been proud of my association with this country. Individuals who are running for the highest seat of office have said some very MEAN things. SCARY things. XENOPHOBIC things. This is all stirring a pot of sentiment that’s been on a slow boil for years now, while on the other side of the kitchen, we have many who are rightfully protesting racial violence and inequality on all fronts as more and more sad revelations come to light. This election year will no doubt become another year of self-reflection and soul-searching as the nation’s ideals go toe-to-toe with its outlandish and confounding appetite for self-destruction.
When GF took me to the Lincoln Memorial, I was awestruck by the size of the structure because frankly, it was bigger than what I had imagined. Everywhere I looked, folks from literally ALL walks of life were there. I saw little girls with hijabs running up and down the steps. I saw Black and Latin girlfriends taking selfies near the reflection pool. Me and a host of other Asians were fixed on the statue itself, clicking away at our cameras or just staring at the immensity of it all. And of course, a nice tourist asked me to snap family photos by the statue itself. Long story short, I was in awe of both what stood in front of me and what was unfolding around me. Under the fatherly gaze of Abraham Lincoln, I was reminded about the promise of America and the hope that comes about as we ruminate on its legacy. I looked at the big picture and I was thankful that I had the right to assemble here, to think here and to honor so much here in the Lincoln Memorial without fear of reprisal. As an Illinois native, a boy from the Land of Lincoln, maybe I didn’t travel so far to finally see the man. With his words etched around us in a marble sanctuary, maybe this wasn’t the first time for me to visit him. Maybe this wasn’t just sightseeing. Maybe I came home.
Well folks, I am actually in the Arlington / D.C. area for a bit to visit the GF and so far, it’s been lovely. I get to see Colonial architecture, the downtown sights of VA, a heck of a lot more diversity compared to Florida and food food food. And let’s be honest folks, nothing says D.C. like Ben’s Chili Bowl(well, that and the rest of our capital’s amazing monuments). After first hearing about Ben Ali’s D.C. landmark in the TV show Man vs. Food, me and GF told ourselves that we HAD to go. With an Arlington branch just a few blocks away from her apartment, we strolled on over to feast on the legendary Chili Half Smoke, and it did NOT disappoint.
Full of snap and smoky goodness, the Chili Half Smoke has got it all: diced onions, mustard, and Ben’s signature chili featuring a nice, spicy kick. As a Chicagoan that loves his hot dogs, Ben’s Chili Half Smoke can give the Polish or Chicago Hot Dog a run for its money. I loved it so much that I had to get ANOTHER one. Shit, I might just get ANOTHER ONE before I check outta here next week. In short, the area is great, but the Half Smoke around here is KING. If you’re ever here in the D.C. / Arlington area, shed off that Organic fad for one day, and feast at Ben’s Chili Bowl. Trust me, it’s the democratic thing to do. ^_^