Friday, September 30, 2005

You big freakin babies!

To the people I saw shivering yesterday, wearing scarves, hats, wool coats, and the like:

Please tell me you were tourists from sub-Saharan Africa. I’m begging you.

It was SIXTY-TWO DEGREES for christsake!

Thursday, September 29, 2005

An Army of One

The heavens opened up on Chicago yesterday during the afternoon rush hour. I was sure it was Jesus crying for Tom DeLay who had to step down as Majority Leader.

Regardless, the downpour made for a less-than-fun trip home.

First I swam around looking for a phantom UPS drop box on Jefferson Street. Then I had a total blast waiting for a bus that was way, way, WAY beyond fashionably late.

While standing at Halsted and Lake, I sized up my fellow soggy CTA compatriots. We’re all in this together, I thought. Even the folks in cars, stuck in traffic. Were they any better off? Dry, sure, but they weren’t going anywhere either.

Maybe it's not me against the world afterall. (cue the Mary Tyler Moore show theme song)

I’ve lived in Chicago for the last nine years, and it’s been quite a relationship for sure. There are days when this town can throw so much shit your way you have to be the craziest of crazy to stay. Then out of nowhere you can have a moment where you’re reminded that there absolutely cannot be another place on this planet where you feel at home quite as much as here.

And usually the moment comes when you’re soggy, crabby, hungry, standing at the corner of Halsted and Lake, hoping you get home in time for “Lost.”

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

She-male to peddle U.S. propaganda in the Middle East

Karen Hughes has to be scariest looking broad in America. She terrifies the hell out of me.

Yet somehow she's going to start making nicey nice with the region who hates us the most. They say their beef is with Bush and not the legions of idiots who put him in office (this includes the Democratic party who lost TWICE to a mildly retarded cowboy poser) but I'm pretty sure they wouldn't want to come to my place for brunch if I asked.

Talk about being too big for your britches. This administration is good at manipulating the American public, but big fucking whup. . . that ain't tough. Remember the Beanie Baby craze?

Color me dubious on this one. Anyways, um Karen, good luck I guess.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

9th inning Hail Mary pass goes foul in the third period

I don't know, or really care much about sports.

Yeah, not a big surprise considering I'm female. But when you're a woman who feels most comfortable with a beer in her hand in a sports bar or pub, instead of a $12 drink among throngs of metrosexual males in the nightspot du jour, it's inevitable that the "game" is a big deal.

There's no avoiding the game. Football, baseball, basketball, college, pro, whatever. It's all about the infernal game.

Last night I went to a friend's boyfriend's hockey game whose sponsor (team, not AA) happens to be a regular haunt for us. Girls will be girls of course, therefore upon arrival we headed straight for the ice house's bar. It happens to have a large window overlooking the rink, so we grabbed a pitcher of beer and proceeded to pay close attention to every little move the team made. We wouldn't have dreamed of missing an iota of the game.

O.k, so obviously that's a complete lie.

We got drunk, traded gossip, and waited for the boys to finish. We do that at every game we go to. Got expensive Wrigley Field bleacher seats? Consider it a pricey cover charge to a beer garden that happens to have some sort of activity going on. It's kind of a silly event with grown men wearing identical, numbered outfits while running around in the grass after a little ball. Even in college when I won an all-expense paid trip to the Final Four, my friend and I got loaded and talked about the guys we had just met on Spring Break, which had been the week prior. And we also tried to come up with a way for me to get past Secret Service to meet Bubba who was there to watch Arkansas play. The real fans around us had to be seething.

Yeah, we are all about the game.

After a heartbreaking loss last night, the hockey team joined us in the bar. I went up to one of the team members to tell him I was sorry. I was sure he was devastated.

“Did you see us wablahrarara blah ra out there?" he asked.

What? I had immediately tuned out the hockey speak. It sounded like how the adults sound on Charlie Brown. Utterly unintelligible.

"I actually didn't watch a single second of the game. Sorry." He wasn't too phased by my answer.

We all kept on enjoying the evening. There continued to be talk here and there about the games of the day, but nothing too overwhelming.

As the night progressed I was ready to display even more of my boundless charm to the player I had spoken to earlier. This was a game I was very interested in. He was wearing sandals, and something didn't seem right to me.

"Is it just me or do you have an inordinate amount of toes?" I asked. It was his pinkie toes. I wasn't convinced there was just one underneath the straps of his sandals.

He laughed. No, of course he had precisely the prescribed amount of toes. 10 to be exact and he began to count them out. "One. . . two. . . three. . ."

A player's wife interrupted us. "Wait a minute. He's using his FINGERS to do this."

Flag on the play.

She was right! He was trying to throw me off. His fingers weren't in question. This guy certainly was slippery.

"Look, what do you want me to do," he asked, "paint them?" I think my game was losing its appeal for him.

"No, I want you to number them."

Game over? No, game on.

Friday, September 23, 2005

By the numbers: my Friday morning

Minutes of sleep I had last night: 126

Hours spent marinating my brain in Pinot Noir and Marlboro Lights prior to getting such a paltry amount of shut-eye: 5

Large cups of coffee consumed this morning to counteract the above: 3

Times a meathead coworker irritated me to the point that I wanted to kill him: 65

Moments when aforementioned meathead coworker was told to shut up by yours truly: 64 in my head, 1 out loud

Instances when I pitched rambling idea to boss because I was still kind of drunk: 1

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

The Renaming of Marshall Field’s: Rowland and Marshall share their thoughts

Federated Department Stores CEO Terry Lundgren is persona non grata in Chicago these days. Seems like this guy better watch his back if he decides to come back to town for the big Fields to Macy’s switchover.

Everyone seems to have an opinion on this, but who better to weigh in on this controversy than the stores’ founders Rowland Hussey Macy and Marshall Field?

It took a little leg work on my part but I checked with them, and as I guessed they had plenty to say. And they were pretty drunk when I found them, which was kind of surprising.

Field: Rowland, this Lundgren guy is a dumbass.

Macy: I can’t believe those babies in Chicago are making such a big deal about this. I mean does it matter what name is on the door? It’s still the same low-quality shit that’s made by 6-year-old kids in Bangladesh.

Field: (laughing) Amen, brother. I think they’re paid the same wages I paid my employees back in 1868 when I first opened my store! But I’m telling ya, tumbleweeds will be blowing through those aisles come Christmas.

Macy:(slams his drink down) Fucking get over yourself, Marshall! I thought New York
was supposed to be the ego capital of the world. Where are those big shoulders?

Field: You Quaker scumbag! (Field breaks his bottle of Amstel Light on the bar.)

Macy: (sneers and rolls his eyes) I ate guys like you for breakfast during the Gold Rush. What are you going to do, sick
Potter Palmer on me?

Field: Oh he'll have my back alright. Macy: Well you can tell that fat ass to bring it!

Ok, at this point I had to break the two of them up. But as you can see, it’s a very emotional topic.

Email me at

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Adios Lavenderia!

You were a kind, reliable amigo.

Without you I wouldn’t have had clean underwear for the last year or so. But it’s time to part ways for I have laundry facilities in my building now.

We had fun, didn’t we? Remember when I played Red Light/Green Light with a few 5-year olds (and a particularly bossy 8-year old girl) while my unmentionables dried? Or how about that time that man practiced his English by reading the Tribune’s business section to me? And I think we were both taken aback when that two-year old showed us how he can pick out unmarked police cars? We were in the mix, you and me.

I’ll stop in once in a while. Really, I will. I’ll always have a rug or two that will need washing. And my duvet is awfully bulky. . .


Sunday, September 18, 2005

Ball Scratchers

I saw a group of them on Friday morning, standing in front of a warehouse a couple of blocks from my apartment. A mixture of city workers and what looked to be some construction workers. As I got closer I braced myself for what was to come.

They were in the middle of some sort of verbal sparring. "Fuck you, jagoff," said one laughing to a co-worker. "You're the biggest jagoff," the other replied. I was sure that they were both jagoffs--equally so--and if I wasn't in such a hurry to get to work I would have spent some time with them to help sort it all out.

One stopped and looked at me as if, as Scarlett O'Hara would say, he "knew what I looked like without my shimmy."

"Gooooood Morrrrrning," he said, almost purring.

Quick, what would Gloria Steinem do? How would she deal with this guy? Isn't there like a no- objectification-before-8 a.m.-ordinance in Chicago?

Eh, who cares.

Yes I am a feminist (or at least I think I am). But I try to be honest about it. I've always said that I don't want to fight in any wars nor do I want to carry heavy stuff if I can avoid it. And I reserve the right to be flattered (the degree to which is wholly dependent upon the appearance of the ball scratcher) if some guy ogles me. I also reserve the right to be completely revolted if said ball scratcher is brutal.

That's just the way it is. The rules are always subject to change.

This guy was cute, so I had to stifle the urge to let out a coy giggle. I gave him instead, a very stern, very businesslike, "Good morning."

Susan B. Anthony would not be turning over in her grave on my account.          

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Our little baby's all growed up!

President Bush taking responsibility for the federal response to Katrina is big news. But the bigger news is what prompted him to make such a move.

Essentially oblivious until four days after the storm—because as he boasts he doesn’t read the paper—his aides had to COMPILE A FUCKING DVD of all the worst parts from t.v. coverage to get through to him. (read the Newsweek piece on this here.) He watched it on September 2nd on Air Force One on the way back down to the gulf.

I can see it now. They probably first had to get him out of the cockpit (maybe even off the pilot’s lap) and settle him down. Perhaps he was wearing his favorite Lone Ranger jammies. They hand him a juice box and say:

“Mr. President, we have something to show you,” they tell him sternly.

Bush eyes the D.V.D in their hand. Its shiny surface catches his attention.

“Goodie! A movie! This plane ride is soooooooooooooo boring.” He starts hopping up and down.

The aides exchange solemn looks, place the disc in the machine and push play.

What the man saw changed him, like it did everyone else.

I sympathize with him with the news thing. In journalism school my instructors required us to read the newspaper—several infact—every single day. It was a drag at times.

I understand Mr. President, really. But couldn’t you at least pick up a Weekly Reader once in a while? Ask Jenna to bring one home from school. Or leave the Today Show on in the background during cabinet meetings. You’ll be surprised at what you’ll pick up.

We just really kinda need you in the loop, ok?

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

My ripe tomatoes

With about a week left of summer it’s safe to say that I’ve spent a good portion of it watering, fertilizing, and gossiping with a couple of tomato plants—Parker and Phoebe—all for what looks like about $3 worth of tomatoes.

Now I’m not complaining. There’s a little satisfaction knowing that I’ve grown something that will actually be edible . . well, uh, maybe edible. The verdict is still out.

Hey, I’ve kept the bastards alive, along with some annoying geraniums in my kitchen windows, and flower boxes tenuously tethered along the front windows of my 3rd floor apartment. Sure I’ve watered a passerby or two, and even a cop on one occasion, (it was like scene from Sesame Street) but all-in-all I think I’ve done my Irish potato farmer/Mexican migrant worker ancestors proud.

And leaning out my bathroom window to water the girls each evening (they sit happily on my fire escape) gives me an excellent chance to keep a close eye on my beloved Chicago skyline, making sure that Osama Bin Laden isn’t rappelling down the Sears Tower.  

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Presidenting for Dummies: A teachable moment

(Part of an inevitable series)

Do not put George Costanza in charge of FEMA.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Gentlemen, place your bets

Ricard Nixon left office because he bugged an office or two and was just an all-around asshole.

Bill Clinton was nearly removed from office simply because he chose the wrong mouth in which to place his dick.

And on November 8th 2006, George "You're doing a heckuva job Brownie" Bush will be sitting on Trent Lott's new porch in Mississippi drinking mint juleps. He'll be amazed (just a little though) at how the Republicans kept control of Congress and his approval rating rebounded after the Category 5 fuck-up that was Katrina.

Oh, and the mint julep will be a virgin mint julep.

God bless America.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

So what in the hell have you been doing for the past four years, George?

"If we can't respond faster than this to an event we saw coming across the Gulf for days, then why do we think we're prepared to respond to a nuclear or biological attack?" asked former House Speaker Newt Gingrich. (

I know the world has been turned upside down when I read a Newt Gingrich quote and think to myself, "man, couldn't have said it better myself."

Right now President Bush is sitting on a pile of buffoons that has passed for a government for some time. From the blow-hard New Orleans mayor to the Louisiana governor on up, these folks are all culpable for this shit storm.

To Bush, all this is just seems like a total buzz kill. This past week he came off as this highschool kid in his last year of school who caught senioritis a little too early. And then out of nowhere, he gets handed a major assignment. Waging war, that's fun. But having to explain himself in the shadows of thousands of dead Americans and the complete destruction of a major U.S. city, now that just plain sucks. To think that FOUR YEARS have passed since Sept. 11 and the government's performance was what it was is mindblowing.

"Our priorities are clear," he said today. That sounds about right. Our priorities have been crystal clear for some time now.

To anyone who says "well it's easy to criticize" the response of FEMA, DHS, etc, I say yes, it's totally fucking easy. There's nothing easier in the world right now. (And it's my God-given right as an American to bitch by the way.) When you read stuff like this: Thousands of frustrated people waited for help Thursday amid dead bodies, feces and garbage with little food and water, and in 90-degree heat and rain. How can you not be blinded with rage toward our government? And when you hear stories that you hope are just lies like the convention center having no medical personnel going into the storm save for a lone nurse who was an evacuee herself, you can't help but wonder what the local New Orleans officials were smoking when they set that up to begin with? I mean can any Chicagoan go to any public event and not encounter scores of police, paramedics and ambulances just hanging out on the off chance someone might get hurt? And that's just a summer festival where the object is to have fun, not to brace yourself for a catastrophic event.

My god, what the fuck were these people thinking?

And they had this braintrust who thought that putting 20,000 people in the Superdome and not having sufficient supplies to last a few days, let alone a week, was cool. Dudes, 20,000 people=20,000 mouths to feed, 20,000 bladders and bowels to empty, and most importantly 20,000 attitudes to deal with. Here's what the John Wayne dude had to say on this:

"If you ever have 20,000 people come to supper, you know what I'm talking about. If it's easy, it would have been done already." Lt. Gen Russel Honore from the National Guard said.

Real cute, and I'm glad the media has found a star in this story.

For those who want to try and counter with: "Well, they're looting, and shooting at the helicoptors, and raping, and pillaging. . " Go ahead I dare you to try. The vile, unconscionable behavior of these criminals carrying out these acts will never justify us leaving the rest of those folks behind to fend for themselves. When the cops were walking off the job and even committing suicide, how could anyone believe there was a chance to survive.

We were supposed to have their backs.

Friday, September 02, 2005

My two cent's worth

I’m sure a lot of us are thinking about what we would do if we were stuck in New Orleans right now. How would I react? How would my family survive?

This morning on the bus I came to the following conclusion. My family (that is my white family) would be looting the hell out of that town. I can tell you conclusively that T.V. cameras wouldn’t catch them with armloads of birth control, bibles, or the complete works of Tolstoy.

Try, perhaps, raw materials to restart the family meth business that the feds so rudely put an end to a few years ago (hey, the Fords had cars, the Smuckers have jelly. ) Then maybe gardening shears to cut house arrest bracelets, and some really bad outfits. And of course all the booze and smokes they can get their hands on.

Here’s what I think a few of my family members would loot and how'd they fare in anarchy:

My mom: She’d loot tabloids, black hair dye, diet coke and then go find a couch somewhere and chill until the National Guard came. She'd probably hang out with the guys who took the T.V's then be really pissed when they all realized how useless it was.

Aunt Sheila: She’d loot firearms, and lots of them. Then I think she wouldn’t be all that concerned with getting to a shelter. She’d set off an a mad hoochie hunt to find my uncle’s girlfriend.

My Uncle Mark: Now I’d be inclined to steer WAY clear of him during a state of lawlessness. His mind is so fried from the drugs he did in the 70s there’s no telling how he would react. But he did spend some time in the marines before going AWOL and he used to go on these acid/hunting trips for days. He'd come back spinning yarns about seeing Bigfoot in the woods. So I think there are some viable survival skills there. . .

My brother Chad: He’d definitely stock up on assorted Little Debbie Snack cakes. Then he’d round up a group of vigilantes to patrol the streets and carry out “Chad’s Law.”

Thursday, September 01, 2005

I eats me spinach

I don’t think anyone would want to be on the receiving end of a punch administered by Meg White from the White Stripes. That little shit was pounding the hell out of her drum kit last night at their concert at the Auditorium Theatre. Them guns appear to be mighty powerful, especially for such a sprightly chick.

Even from my seat in the last row of the vertigo section, I was totally taken by her. Once I got beyond my hallucinations that she and Jack White were not musicians, but delicious drum and guitar playing baguettes (I was about 36 hours into the South Beach Diet) I kind of forgot that Jack was there.

I think I want to be Meg White.

At 33, is it too late to change my career path? Maybe my 13-year-old niece Kaylla can teach me how to play the drums. She plays them in her junior high band, and I am always trying to prove to her how cool I am. This would do it, I think.

Then I could join the hippies in the drum circles that hold protests in my neighborhood at 18th and Blue Island. Think of the aggression I could get rid of (and the raging weed habit I could acquire.)

Meg, you rock!