Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Katrina, What the fuck?

Ok, so maybe those survivalist weirdos aren't so crazy afterall. It’s a little unsettling to see a sizable chunk of our country up for grabs.

This is the caption had with this photo.

Residents help clean up a store in Long Beach, Mississippi, that was wrecked by Katrina.

I’m no linquistics expert, but “cleaning up” and “cleaning out” are not interchangeable.

See Operation Red Dawn.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Why I cringe everytime a celebrity is interviewed in the Chicago media

Last night I caught an interview with Vince Vaughn and Susan Carlson from Channel Two.

It was excruciating.

Now Ms. Carlson did everything right I think according to the Chicago school of entertainment reporting. And that is to ask the celebrity the same fucking question as many times as you can, but take care to reframe it ever so slightly each time you ask it. "So how do you like Chicago?", "How was filming here?", "What do you think of the people?", "Chicago has great restaurants, right?" "It's my kind of town, how 'bout you? "CHICAGOCHICAGOCHICAGO!" It's almost maniacal. And they all do it. Janet Davies, Sneed, Roger Ebert, and so on and so on.

Do their editors or producers or whatever think this city is brimming with insecure people who need a celebrity tell them their city is cool? Are we a bunch of portly and homely teenage girls begging, "Do you really think I'm pretty? Really?"

O.K. back to Vince Vaughn. Clearly he has established that he likes it here. He grew up here, he just bought a house, so Susan Carlson could have moved on, my God. But she didn't and I think sexpot Vince was getting a little annoyed. I would have asked him the tough questions if I was doing the interview. Like why does he have to be so hot? Or, would he like to come over to my place and watch History Detectives and drink beer?

I know this happens because these folks basically suck at interviewing and doing something original would cause internal bleeding. So they're taking the easy route. I should feel sorry for them. But I don't. It just aggravates the bejeezus out of me.

Are we supposed to feel inferior to the great NYC, L.A. or D.C? Hell no.

Nelson Algren said that "loving Chicago is like loving a woman with a broken nose." I love that! And I'm thinking Nelson would have done a bang-up job when hotshot celebrities came into this city back in the day.

I'm sure old Nelson wouldn't mind if I borrow this and take it further:

"Loving Washington D.C. is like loving a smarmy know-it-all who lies to you and makes you pay for everything."

"Loving L.A. is like loving a sushi-eating pansy who wouldn't think twice about blowing the mortgage on botox treatments."

"Loving New York is like loving a pretentious, $1,000 suit with legs who very likely had drunken oral sex with a fraternity brother once or twice." (Ok, I have no idea where that came from, but for now it seems pretty funny)

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

My grandmother, the hollerback girl.

Last weekend I headed back to my hometown to attend a wake. My brother-in-law’s mother had passed away and my aunt Sheila was kind enough to pick me up. We both had my grandmother on our minds who had died over 10 years ago.

I have to say Sheila is hands down my favorite among my mom’s five sisters. She’s fun to hang out with, and each time we get an extended period of time alone together, she’ll offer up some dirt from the past if I’m in the mood. I think I have white-washed a few of my childhood memories, and I can count on Sheila to set the record straight.

On Sunday, Sheila was telling me how she used to babysit me and my sister (brother Chad hadn’t come along yet) when my single mom went out on the town.

“Yeah, your mom, and Laurie, Rita (other aunts) and grandma used to go to Al Murdochs.”

“Wait a minute, grandma used to barhop?”

“Yeah,” Sheila said, looking at me like I was the dumbest person on earth. “How do you think she met her boyfriends?”

Boyfriends? Holy shit! I was stunned. I was too small to remember Leo Sloane, Ralph Cummings, Walter Kiefel, and Ray Whatshisnameski, she said.

When I got my mom alone later that night, I wanted to confirm Sheila’s story.

“Uh, Sheila says Grandma Marilyn was a barfly.”

My mom, unlike her sister, doesn’t share much about the past. Probably because she was a central character in many of these adventures. “All I’m going to say is that your grandmother was no June Cleaver.”

So it turns out that my twice-divorced Grandma had quite a social life up until the late 70s. She was an attractive, tall red head who could fill out a sweater. And she was single, so why not I guess?

The grandma I remember, the one I liked before she got a little too bitter for my tastes, let me drink coffee at like age 7, turned me on to PBS and current events, was smart, artistic, bitchy in a funny way, and hated Republicans. When I use to kick her ass at gin rummy she would throw her cards down on the table and yell, “GOD DAMMIT ANGIE!” and storm away from the table. Or she would mock my little-girl voice and say, "geeeeeeinnnnn!" I used to think she was just a shitty card player and a poor sport. But now I guess she was just hungover.

Maybe I’ll contact the History Detectives from PBS to see if they can find out more about this mystery woman.

I can see it now. They’ll come knocking at my door, and tell me:

“We unearthed this 1971 bar tab of your grandmothers,” they’ll say excitedly. “We think, it’s not conclusive however, that she drank all of this by herself. She might have been that rockstar you think she was.”

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Sexual Perversity in the Chicago Reader

(The following was written under the influence of a lot of expired Ibuprofen)

Sure this town is filled with world-class restaurants, hot clubs, and trendy shops. Yet as a girl with simple tastes, all I need sometimes to have an adventure in our city is a cup of coffee and the Reader.

After reading last week’s issue I now can end my search for a methadone clinic that not only offers free methadone during your birthday week, but also has complimentary gourmet coffee. Hey, knowledge is power, right?

But true enlightenment came in the pages of the classifieds. This is the place where the debaucheries of our fellow Chicagoans are documented for all prosperity. . . oh and people are trying to sell stuff, too.

First off, we have the Reader Matches which are your garden-variety looking for love ads. Following the matches are the Adult Services ads. Pretty straightforward. No surprises to be had there.

This leaves the XXX Matches from where I dare say the ad honchos at Leo Burnett could recruit copy writers. Their vivid prose uses few words to successfully describe what they’d like to see happen with the various appendages and orifices of the human body.

Now I have a pretty open mind, but there’s one ad that I can’t begin to understand. One gentlemen rattled off a litany of things he’s into.

“I’m into streaking, (this, that, and the other,) and butt-sniffing.”

I wondered for a bit how he figured out that he was a sniffer. Of course I also am at a loss to see how his sniffees derives any pleasure from this.

In the end I concluded that like any great explorer in history, the sniffer was searching for something else, yet ended up at a completely different destination and decided to stay.

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Friday, August 19, 2005

I totally want to have a three-way with Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot

Now that's an attention-grabber, eh?

Growing up, my brother Chad and I fought quite frequently. Verbal assaults mainly, and our mother would quickly get sick of hearing it and declare, “I WISH YOU TWO WOULD START SAYING NICE THINGS TO EACHOTHER!”

In response, we developed a strategy called “talking in opposites.” Meaning, you’d say something to a person, but mean the exact opposite. That person would know you’re talking in opposites, and thereby feel the full sting of statements like, “You’re pretty,” “I really like your hair today,” or “you have a lot of friends.” I don’t think we ever really felt we put one over on the old lady, but it was fun for us.

By now I think you’ve grasped the direction of today’s posting.

I DO NOT, in fact, wish to have a three-way with the Rock critics from the Sun-Times and the Chicago Tribune, respectively.

After perusing the day's news, and using our in opposites strategy I have made a few observations:

- I am absolutely shocked that a former Colin Powell-aide is saying that Powell’s famous rally-to-arms UN speech was based on complete crap that Bush's administration called intelligence. I think he's lying when he says, “"It was anything but an intelligence document. It was, as some people characterized it later, sort of a Chinese menu from which you could pick and choose."

-I didn’t for one second think a politically incorrect thought when I read the headline “Poll: Over 40% in Mexico would live in U.S.”

-I think President Bush is totally deserving of a month-long vacation. He works really hard. I hope one day I can go to the western White House.

-After living in Chicago for nearly 9 years, I’m not the least bit upset that I’ll probably never get a ghost-payrolling job with the city. I love having to work everyday. I love eating lunch at my desk, and never getting a chance to sneak out and run a drug syndicate while working for Streets and San. I’m o.k. with it, really.

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Wednesday, August 17, 2005

No one told me 33 is the new 63

I'm about a week into my 33rd year, and I'm kind of not liking it.
Overnight it has become noticeably harder to get out of bed in the morning, I shit you not.

Has 33 taken me beyond the twilight of my 20s? I’m not sure, but something has changed.

I know women in their 30s are more self-assured, grounded, and have a better handle on life, blah, blah, blah. But I'm thinking I'd trade a little of that togetherness to not feel like death warmed over for the first 15 minutes or so of my morning.

Back in the day when fashion magazines ran pieces on how to look good in your 20s, 30s, 40s, etc., I used to have the luxury of smugly skipping over the old hags and reading the 20s tips. They pretty much amounted to telling you to do whatever the hell you wanted cuz your body, skin, and hair was sooo freaking youthful and glorious. You could withstand rock star booze binges and cold pizza for breakfast, still function and look presentable.

Now this old hag is considering adding soy in her diet. Revitalift is on my Walgreen’s list for tomorrow and I’ve officially included “tweeze chin hair” to my regular beauty regimen.

At least the biological clock panic hasn’t set in yet. I think that stems from my complete disregard for time (I can go years without wearing a watch. Really, I can.) Besides when 40 hits and if I’m totally desperate for a kid, I can always adopt one of those tragic third world orphans.

That's if Angelina Jolie has left some for the rest of us.

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Sunday, August 14, 2005

Love is. . . Breaking your man out of the joint.

Apparently Jennifer Hyatte didn't read The Rules. Because if she did, in addition to knowing that you never, ever accept a date for Saturday if the invitation comes later than Wednesday, she would know that if a paramour asks you to kill someone, he's probably not the right guy for you.

Hyatte's husband George, that slippery little sucker who has escaped captivity five times, met Jennifer while she was working as a prison nurse (Ahh, what a love story fit for Hollywood.) While he was being transported last week at a courthouse, Jennifer pulled up and killed--at George's behest--a guard. With that out of the way, she and her husband were ready to ride off into the sunset and life happily ever after. (By the way, the guard had survived Vietnam only be sent to his maker by these young lovers.)

Of course it's an absolute waste of time to ask what this girl was thinking. One can go crazy trying to analyze these folks. But time is what I have right now, so here I go. . .

What in God's name would cause a woman to not only MARRY a freaking convict, but also kill for him, and then be idiotic enough to think you're going to get away with it? Aren't there a few red flags that would pop up along the way?

I'm trying to imagine Miss Jennifer sitting around with her girlfriends prior to last week, with everyone dishing about the men in their lives over a couple of beers. Maybe one is upset because her boyfriend is obsessed with sports and leaves little time for her. Perhaps another worries that she and her husband don't have enough romance now that babies are in the picture.

And then there's Jen.

"George made me an awesome shiv necklace for my birthday! Jealous?"

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Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Trashed Girl

I wasn’t looking forward to a boring train ride alone back into the city last weekend. I had been at a company outing at a Schaumburg Flyers game, and had tried to get out of it with the “I can’t get out there” excuse. It was quickly met with “the train goes right to the stadium parking lot,” rebuttal. So there I was.

Several yards from the train stop, I saw her. An enchanting creature she was, wearing a long sweater and some sort of mismatched shorts ensemble. She had several bags overloaded with crap including a bright yellow, unruly garden hose.

And man, was she ever drunk.

“HAVE YOU SEEN ANY TRAINS GO BY?” Trashed Girl said badgering a police officer standing nearby. “M’am, I know trains DO go through here, but I said I don’t know the schedule,” he answered. When I got close enough, I shot him a reassuring look. I had this one all under control.

I told Trashed Girl that a train should be through shortly and offered her my schedule. Since I had recently, well sorta hopped on the wagon, I was feeling mighty superior to Trashed Girl.

As we stood waiting for the train, Trashed Girl decided to get her act together and tame the hose. It was flopping all over the place, and I was afraid she was going to fall head first onto the tracks.

“Can I give you a hand?”

“Cool,” she said.

I bent down and grabbed the hose and began to wrap it up. Stagnant, foul smelling water started to spill out. Sweet. “Um, are you planning on fighting a fire?”

“Nooooooooooo,” she slurred, laughing. “My dad didn’t need it, and I needed a hose. So I took it.” Trashed girl then explained me that she lives in Wicker Park and was out spending the day with her parents, thus all the bags of stuff. Presumably they were doing keg stands too.

Trashed girl wasn’t drunk enough to forget her manners because she offered me a tomato for my efforts. This after criticizing my hose-wrapping techniques. "You're getting KINKS in it!" Trashed Girl observed.

The train came and I let her go ahead of me.

“S’UP!” she greeted the conductor. He seemed instantly captivated with her. Now normally you’d avoid sitting next to a stranger who would remotely attempt a conversation with you. This is a rule I follow, but not this time. I plopped down in the seat next to her.

“So, do you work downtown?” I asked Trashed girl.

“No, I’m in between jobs, I got fired.” she answered. Shocker. She went on to say that she was working at Burger King but they fired her because she left early. “I had to be somewhere.” Trashed girl now babysits, YES, BABYSITS for dough and lives with her boyfriend. They karaoke (she loves to sing country), but mainly she just goes to support her man’s karaoke efforts.

Hmmmm. What else can we talk about, I thought. Iraq. . . healthcare. . .

“Well Wicker Park is a cool neighborhood, right?” I asked.

“YOU THINK SO?” Trashed Girl wondered aloud, I mean really aloud. Among other things she didn’t like about the neighborhood, living next to a retirement home was less than ideal in her mind. “There’s a bit of an odor from there,” she said raising her drunk eyebrows. Yes, old people do smell, Trashed Girl.

When the train pulled into Union Station I thought I had my fill of Trashed Girl, and let her go ahead alone. As I waited for a cab home I thought about her.

We all have a little bit of Trashed girl in us (some of us have more than others, and at inappropriate times .) Was she sent from above to remind me to chill out after a virtuouso performance at a wedding reception two weeks ago? What does all this mean? Trashed girl, what are you trying to tell me?

I was snapped out of my trance quickly.

“Hey-hey!” It was Trashed Girl and her boyfriend from across Jackson. She smiled and waved while walking toward the blue line.

I waved back. Good night Trashed Girl, good night.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

What's good enough for the Pentagon. . .

Last month’s terrorist attacks in London reminded me and my friends of the importance of having a plan if something of that sort happens in Chicago. It was time to dust off an idea we came up with after 9/11. Back then we didn’t wait for Tom Ridge to tell us that we needed to get our act together. And straightaway we knew that our plan had to have a name. . . a mighty good one at that.

Brainstorming time. Howzabout Operation Infinite Justice I thought? No, scrap that. Only Allah can meter out justice, infinite or not. And how can a few drunk chicks and their hangers-on even be so bold? This had to have wide appeal. Think Hollywood . . . think Patrick Swayze. .

Operation Red Dawn was born! (I knew watching that terrible 80s movie about a handful of teens single handedly defeating an invading Soviet Army was going to pay off one day.)

There’s a bit of seriousness to Operation Red Dawn. It does require that no one go near any rubble looking for each other if some maniac or maniacs decide to take a one-way trip to paradise via Chicago’s downtown. At Operation Red Dawn’s inception my friend Jennifer’s Little Italy condo was the central meeting place. Entry to our fortress required contributions of staples including cases of beer, frozen pizzas, Baked Lays, and magazines. We’d lay low, get loaded, have dance contests, and if the shit really started hitting the fan (our code brown) we’d just . . . O.K. I really don’t remember what we planned to do to be honest. But I’m sure it was good and probably had to do with us finding our inner wolverine and kicking some ass!

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Al-Zawahiri needs a hug

Bin Laden should consider getting a publicist. Or at the very least a new spokesman.

If Osama really wants to win the hearts and minds of Americans, this Ayman Al-Zawahiri guy is much too abrasive for the job. We, as a people, do not like to be lectured.

"Didn't Osama bin Laden tell you that you would never dream of peace until we actually live it in Palestine and before all the infidel armies withdraw from the land of Mohammed?

Yes, Osama told us. We remember Ayman. Geez. Got anything new for us?

"Stop stealing our oil and wealth and stop supporting corrupt rulers."

And THEN you woke up. Ayman baby, that ain’t never gonna happen. What else?

"Instead (of accepting the truce), you spilled rivers of blood in our countries, and we exploded volcanoes of anger in your countries."

Come on stop being such a drama queen. And besides, who talks like this? "Volcanoes of anger. . ." Who’s writing this script?

"The truth that has been kept from you by (President) Bush, (Secretary of State Condoleezza) Rice and (Defense Secretary Donald) Rumsfeld is that there is no way out of Iraq. ."

What? Bush, Rice, and Rumsfeld have been lying to us? You have got to be kidding me. Thanks for giving us the head’s up, we had no idea.

I kind of think Bush craps his pants just a little when these guys show up on T.V.

I know I do, and then I remember how much I love religion.

Tomorrow: Operation Red Dawn

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Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Ya know who you look like?

Sure from time to time I've seen a real celebrity in Chicago. Last fall there was Matthew Modine at the Jamba Juice on State. And when I worked at WBEZ I rubbed elbows with Margaret Cho, John Leguizamo, the tall guy from "Whose Line is it Anyway?", Gary Sinise, a very hungover Christopher Hitchens, and my favorite. . Salman Rushdie.

I'll leave the bonifide celebrity sightings to the real reporters. But I'll be damned If I'll let the folks go unnoticed who unwittingly walk the streets of Chicago looking like (or kind of looking like) someone famous. My friends and I have spent many a beer-soaked evening picking these special folks out.

The most famous of our cadre of celebrities is the Burt Reynolds lookalike. He lives in Little Italy, has enormous amounts of body hair and is about as swarthy and gross as they come. He can be found drinking at Hawkeye's on any given weekend if anyone is interested (one of my pals was about 10 years ago). We have come to realize he looks nothing like ol' Burt. But we were drunk. So that's ok.

Then there's the Richard Dreyfuss lookalike/violent crimes detective who we encountered at Dugan's in Greek Town. There's a shorter and uglier version of him who is the Richard Dreyfuss lookalike lookalike.

Just a month or so ago a very fragrant Martin Scorsese was on the Halsted Bus during my morning commute. I couldn't believe it! And last week I saw a Indian (or perhaps Pakastani) guy who looks exactly like Isaac from the Love Boat. Crazy.

Being a history buff, it's always exciting to spot someone from the past. Robert E. Lee is roaming the Near West side and he still looks pretty pissed about Appromattox. And Mark Twain loves to tell jokes at Dugan's, but the only catch is he has to drop his pants for the punch line.

Believe me, you won't be laughing.

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Tuesday, August 02, 2005

How to be dumb

I will not pretend that I have anything unique or new to add on the subject of President Embarassment, however I am amazed at how so many people on the left whimper and stomp their feet when the man consistently does what he says he's going to do.

Like appoint conservative assholes to important posts such as the U.N. or the Supreme Court.

Take this Bolton jagoff for example. Just because he had a few hits on the adult contemporary charts in the 90s doesn't mean he can shit all over the concept of collective security. Seriously though, having creditability on the foreign stage has never been a concern for our president.
And why should he care what other nations think about U.S. actions? He asserted over and over that not only did he put in a lot of "hard work" but he knows unequivocally "how these people think."

The world thinks he's a scumbag, and he could clearly give a fuck.

I can't help but contrast Bush's administration with his predecessor. Granted this was pre-9/11, and the Utopian 90s, but Clinton put an awful lot of his foreign policy eggs in the Israeli/Palestinian peace process basket. A lot of people then and now see that as the key to relative stability in the MidEast (big ass emphasis on the relative.) That's some hard work that isn't sexy enough for the evening news and bores the hell out of the average American. Most importantly, I think Toby Keith would be hard-pressed to write a song about it. God knows, the red staters love their songs telling them how to feel about their country!

Now that I think about it, maybe we are being too hard on Haliburton and the like. Maybe the military/industrial complex Eisenhower warned us of was really the military/country music industrial complex.

Tomorrow: Celebrity Lookalike Lookalikes!
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