Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Ald. Ed Burke is in the house!

He's even pinker in person, like piglet pink. No offense to the piglets.

I'm just kidding, I don't know enough to have a beef with the 14th ward alderman or why he was standing in the lobby of my building when I came back from lunch. Maybe he was there to pick up Mayor Daley, whose doctor's office is in the same building as my job? I should have walked up to him and told him how glad I was that the SEIU was able to unseat a few of his incumbent cronies this past election.

When I got off the elevator upstairs, I told a few folks leaving my office that Ed Burke was waiting for them. They didn't care. "He sure is red, that guy," I said.

"Hmmph. He's probably drunk," a coworker said as the elevator doors started to close.

Check out 10 things you might not know about the Chicago City Council.

Monday, May 21, 2007

A beer drinkin' woman*

La Salle. Peru.

Two words that don't mean much to some of you (like my amigo in Madrid who reads this blog, hola dude!) but to a few others. . . you just know where I'm going with this post.

La Salle-Peru is a pair of twin cities about 100 miles west of Chicago. I grew up in La Salle, and like many, I have a conflicted relationship with my hometown. Though I bitch, and bitch I wouldn't trade my early years there for a stint in some fancy suburb. No sir. A few years at a fancy English boarding school? Well maybe.

Anyway, I was there over the weekend for a belated Mother's Day celebration slated for Sunday, so on Saturday I decided to forget my troubles and got sucked into a hazy vortex called Elle's, my favorite local watering hole that was celebrating 25 years of existence. It was fun. It was funny. It was at times, ugly. It was Elle's.

When I was a wide-eyed young Democrat interning in DC, I lived in this all-girls dormitory. One night I was sitting in the family room with the house mates and everyone was talking about where they grew up. I remained quiet a bit until a girl from Texas asked me where I was from.

"Uh Illinois, from a small town west of Chicago."

"Where?" she asked, interested.

"You wouldn't know it. It's like a hundred miles away."

She sat up in her chair. "Seriously, where?"



Everyone likes to drink there. Yep, she knew the place all right. She jumped up to call her grandma by the way. Of course the old lady didn't know my last name (my mom and her family were carpet baggers in the 60s) but I was able to prove to her that I was indeed the geniune article:

A LaSalle-Peru girl, an LP girl if you will.

Perhaps the grandma was a little nervous because indeed, I turned out to be the intern that semester who quickly grew tired of the other girls who wanted to sit around, nurse a drink and chat about New Gingrich and the Contract With America, while nervously casting glances around the bar. I would leave them, go to the bar, slam beers, bum cigarettes and try to make the Irish bartender fall in love with me. I was also the intern who got a 19 year old intern so drunk, she came home and threw up while I used her phone to call my LP girlfriends. . who were at . . . you guessed it, Elles.

It's in our DNA, I'm telling ya.

A girl who grew up in LP likes beer, and will never be the lady who sips a fruity mixer and acts all silly after one cocktail. An LP girl most likely has had a run in with the police well before her 21st birthday. An LP girl has made out with a boy(s) in the woods, in the dead of winter, and may or may not have come home that night with her bra in her jacket pocket. An LP girl has to be careful on dates to not out-drink the guy sitting across from her. While an LP girl has a high tolerance for alcohol, she has a very low tolerance for self important, overly stylish places where drinks cost more than a week on the 60.

Well anyway, I know I have fewer and fewer of those nights left in me. And I'm ok with that, as I am closing in fast on middle age.

*As I was writing this post, a blues song called "A Beer Drinking Woman" by Memphis Slim came on WXRT. Here are the lyrics: The story's true ladies and gentlemen. All the names have been changed to protect the innocent. The year 19 hundred and forty. The city, Chicago. The place, Rubin's Tavern. The story goes something like this:I walked into a beer tavern to give a girl a nice time. I had forty-five dollars when I enter, When I left I had one dime. Wasn't she a beer drinkin' woman? Don't ya know, man don't ya know? She was a beer-drinkin' woman. And I don't want to see her no more. Now, when I spend down to my last dime. She said, 'Darlin' I know you're not through'I said, 'Yes, baby doll. And the trophy belongs to you. Wasn't she a beer drinkin' woman?Don't you know, man don't you know? She was a beer-drinkin' woman. And I don't wanna see her no more. Now she'd often say, 'Excuse me a minute. I've got to step around here'. And ev'ry time she came back. She had room for another quart of beer. Wasn't that a beer drinkin' woman? Don't ya know, man, don't ya know? She was a beer drinkin' woman. And I don't want to see her no mo'.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Alexander Hamilton was hot

About 7 years ago I was in New York for a wedding when I walked by Alexander Hamilton's grave at Trinity Church and told my friend Jennifer that I thought Alexander Hamilton was hot. Why? I don't know. I thought it was funny. Later, hammered, at a hotel bar with the post-reception crowd I pulled out a twenty dollar bill and said to a girl, "Wasn't Alexander Hamilton hot?" She grabbed the $20, held it close to her drunken face, and said, "You're right! Alexander Hamilton was hot!" So what if we were looking at Andrew Jackson, aka "Old Hickory." They all look alike.

So why the Alexander Hamilton story? Because I'm a gigantic dork with next to no life, tonight I'm watching Alexander Hamilton's American Experience thingie and I'm super excited about it. And on Wednesday night? I'm going to find out the untold story behind the Spanish Inquisition, and maybe drink alone.

Go see the new movie Waitress with Felicity. It was adorable and I was glad I saw it until this morning when my boss reminded me the Writer/Director/The Vera-like Waitress Adrienne Shelley was the one who was murdered in NYC last fall. That made me sad.

Today at lunch I was in line at the CVS when this bum busted through the door, marched in, grabbed a T shirt and something else I couldn't see, and walked right back out, alarm be damned. The guy behind the check out shrugged his shoulders and told me he wasn't about to do anything. I then demanded I too get my stuff for free and started stuffing shit in my bag, urging others to do the same. Just kidding. I said, "That's awesome, good for him." and walked out with my purchased flavored water and $35 pack of gum.

On the bus home tonight I was captivated by this gent wearing a cap that read, "Jesus NOW!" My, my I thought, aren't we pushy? What if Jesus is busy (I don't imagine he has a ton of down time these days), and he's like, "My child, I will get to you when I can. Be patient." And this dude would be like stomping his foot and whimpering, "NO! JESUS NOW! NOT LATER, NOW!" What a jerk.

When Jesus Now got off at the train station, I scanned the packed bus and saw my friend KC's husband at the front holding on with one hand and trying to balance his bag with the other. Frustrated, I couldn't get his attention, so I called my friend and said, "Call Adam and tell him I'm on the bus!" She thought that was funny, but I was serious. I then told her I'd text her if I saw him making out with the driver.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Here I am!

Forgive me James Brown, for I have sinned. It has been two weeks since my last post. I haven't a viable excuse to offer for my absence. It is my longest to date, and I feel awful!

So anyway, I met this fella you see here this weekend at the Kane County Flea Market. Think Lemon Shake-ups, funnel cakes, chocolate covered bannas . . . oh, and mint condition, recently deceased R & B singers! (I didn't buy him, I swear, although I need to spice up my cubicle at work.) The perfect end to a day of flea marketing was a six pack of PBR and a smattering of smokey treats on Rusty's porch.

I have been hurting for blog material as of late. With a job that has yet to illicit any feeling from me one way or the other, a short commute that hasn't produced anything remotely blog-worthy, and a feeling that maybe beer soaked tales aren't that funny, I'm kind of tapped out. I did ask a new pal (an Atlanta transplant) if I could use one of her stories, and she obliged. I'll try and capture her voice (imagine drunken southern drawl, peppered with hiccupy giggles) Editor's notes are in parentheses.

"So I was with a bunch of guys from work at (I forget the name of the restaurant) in North Carolina (or maybe South Carolina). Bubba (forgot his name) said it was a great place for fried chicken. We hadn't ordered yet, so I went to the ladies room. It was a small bathroom, but it had a stall and I walk in and see this woman with her pants pulled down DRYING HER ASS. I said, 'Oh, I'm so sorry!' and start to leave, but she tells me it's ok, I can stay. Horrified I went back to the table. The ass dryer soon exited the bathroom and WENT BACK TO WORK."

Where is Dateline NBC where you need them?