Tuesday, October 30, 2007

So this isn't waterboarding, huh?

I specifically remember a summer afternoon, I think it was in 1980, when I was lying on the couch and my mom was sitting next to me, having one of her "big drinks of water."
Bored, she asked me if I ever heard of Chinese Water Torture. I replied no, as it wasn't something taught back then to third graders, and she proceeded to describe it to me.

"Well," she said as her jewel-toned metallic glass hovered over my head, "you're made to believe that the water is going to spill on you, and it forces you to tell them whatever they want you to tell them." And then she dumped half the glass of water on my head and laughed her ass off.

That horrible behavior coupled with the time she re-enacted the finale of the Wizard of Oz, and pretended she was melting in the rain as I watched in horror from the porch, causes me to believe she couldn't weather a Senate confirmation hearing.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Who would you burn in effigy?

Last week in my Second City class, we were assigned to write a sketch about an event or person from history. We worked on a few ideas in class, and I pitched something about the 1886 Haymarket Riot. Awesome idea, right? What with the anarchists, the bombs, the hanging of the aforementioned anarchists, and the subsequent burning of an effigy of the Illinois Governor, who couldn't make that funny?

My teacher mentioned that uh, it might be a little challenging to set it up, which led me into an unsolicited bit with me wondering why we don't burn people in effigy anymore. What a powerful image, I said, to which a a few agreed.

They do it every where else, the teacher said, so why not? True dat. Google "burning in effigy" and you see the Pope, President Clinton, some Indian Cricket star, and the guy you see here--Monsieur Carnaval--going up in flames.

A fellow student guessed that effigies take alot of work, so why would you turn around and set it on fire? That makes sense. I like crafts. If I was going to burn say--Ann Coulter--in effigy, I'd really throw myself into the project. I'd spend a lot of money at Glick for art supplies and order the effigy outfits out of the Chico's catalog. So yeah, I guess when it came time to drag her out to Daley Plaza and douse her with lighter fluid and set her ablaze with a lit cigarette, I'd balk.

Back to Monsieur Carnaval who I'm now fascinated with and more than a little pissed that Mrs. Johnson from high school French class never told me about. How strange are these people:

"In France, Carnival is a big celebration held before the beginning of the Christian fasting season of Lent. French adults and children who celebrate Carnival will dress up in costumes and have parties. And, at the end, they will burn an effigy of Monsieur Carnaval. Monsieur Carnaval is responsible for all the wrongdoing people do throughout the year."

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

In case you didn't know, winter's coming

This is a picture from the Great Chicago Blizzard of 1967, taken when I was -5 years old. This could very well be a picture from the future, say maybe January 22, 2008, of a Chicago street where everyone drives classic cars.

Anyway, yes, the mean ol' Chicago winter is on the way. The wind threatening to bust through my windows as I type this, just reminded me of this fact.

Winter. It is the season that will separate the men from the boys. The season that will cause you to revisit the weak and whiny "but we love the change of seasons" retort you yell in your head to quiet the screams of the others who say, "We're cold! No, we're freezing! Move to Mexico, you stupid @#$%!" When you're waiting for a bus in a city that can go from 80 degrees to Siberia in a matter of hours, this town can be a total bastard.

A fat, frozen, loud, slushy, salty bastard.

Like an abusive lover, let's admit, the Chicago winter tries to make it up to you. Maybe with a decent nighttime snowfall, where everything is white and quiet and still, even if for a few hours. Or with one of those random, bright and sunny winter days, when the snow melts a bit, and you can walk down the street, holding your coffee in a gloveless hand for the first time in weeks. On a day like that, you might even consider opening a window.

Man, it's going to be cold. Good God! But with a cute scarf, a flask of whiskey, and a couple two three Streets and San crews, there's not a single weather pattern we can't handle.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Alas, he is getting married. .

After lunch today, I read the news that Patrick Fitzgerald is getting married. My special, albeit neglected, Patrick Fitzgerald blog is now observing a period of mourning. I'd appreciate it if you drop by and offer your condolences.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007


Chicago is going to hell in a hand basket. We've got Cook County proposing a sales tax that will push us over 11 percent. Mayor Daley has offered up a budget with a ton of fee and tax hikes for a city that has the highest rate of inflation. Over at the Schadenfreude blog, Justin and his over achiever crew are coming up with a list of 500 new fees and taxes the city needs to consider to keep us in the black.

I'd like to use my forum to help the Chicago Transit Authority. The Doomsday budget scenario that will reduce the CTA to nothing more than a half dozen VW buses running every third Tuesday of the month is back on the table. I'd like to offer up the a few suggestions to end this drama once and for all:

1. Any CTA rider who refuses to walk to the back of a crowded bus, or into the middle of a crowded train, must pay a special, "I ain't moving my ass" surcharge, collected on the spot, each time a bus reaches over 75 percent capacity. If they neglect to pay, they will become identured servants of the CTA, thereby reducing labor costs.

2. Eliminate 9,000 of the 9,500 nearly empty buses that seem to run during rush hour to my one West side bus that get suburban commuters from their Loop jobs to their Metra trains and out of the city.

3. This won't save any money, but will make me feel better. If a bus driver is late, and he or she knows they're late, they have to say to their frustrated passenger, i.e. me, "Sorry dude, this is totally not my fault. I just work here. But if you hold on, and don't tell on me if I pass up everyone from Dearborn to Canal, maybe, just maybe I'll get you home by 7."

4. Buses and trains are filled with captive, bored consumers 24/7 in the city. Rent us out to marketers for focus groups and test audiences. I'd be more than happy to give Kraft my opinion on their latest concoction in exchange for reliable public transportation.

5. Buses and trains are filled with captive, bored crazy people 24/7 in the city. Rent them out to drug companies and university researchers for quick drug trials and human behavior studies. Also, the buses and trains are like petri dishes on wheels and rails. So why not, in exchange for federal dollars, let the CDC scrape the slimy, scabby crust that covers everything so they can be ahead of the curve on the next infectious "big thing."

Alright, I'm a little tapped out. Feel free to add your own, and you don't need to be from Chicago. We could use some fresh ideas.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

My office husband and I are having problems

Well now, we couldn't be happier. But there was that rough patch last week when we realized we went an entire Monday without dishing the weekend.
"Weekend?" he said, on Tuesday when we crossed paths at the color printer. "We didn't talk yesterday?"
"You were being a little stand-offish," I said with a wink.
I guess an entire eight hours without talking to him affected me because later in the week when we were alone in the kitchen, he said I was being mean to him. Perhaps a little less friendly, maybe, but not mean, I thought.
I'm just not ready for an office marriage, you know?
But I assured him he was crazy and we were soon back to our usual routine of goofball back and forth banter in his office, waves, little glances in the hall, and lingering chit chat at the color printer. Today I asked him if my breath smells like almonds, because I was just eating almonds, and he told me not to touch his client's report with my greasy hands.
This has got to be the dorkiest post ever. But jobs are boring and stupid and crushes make it a little less boring and stupid. Today when he called me "Ang" for the first time, I got a little stomach flip.
Maybe it was the almonds.

Monday, October 15, 2007

I wonder where the first Gen Xer is right now?

This is Kathleen Casey-Kirschling today, the first baby-boomer as she signs up for Social Security, an event that is supposed to signal the beginning of the end of us financially. We all need to run out and get second or maybe third jobs so that ol' girl and her squad can afford Geritol and Depends (whoa! Glass houses! I totally need Geritol and Depends) for the next 20 years until they croak.

Anyway I'm ready to answer the call. That's cool. I've worked in fast food and at Wal-Mart before I hit pay dirt as a Marketing Coordinator. I've got skills. I'll pitch in to help the Peepaws.

I'm just wondering though if "they"know who the first Gen Xer is? Probably not. It's like how parents go apeshit over their first kid, documenting everything and then slacking off with each subsequent child. We've got the WWII generation--the greatest generation--who survived The Great Depression, fought a war so long, the Ken Burns documentary runs for something like 4,342 hours, and invented a little something called "White Flight." Then there's Kathy and her peers, our parents, the Baby Boomers. They rejected convention, burned their bras, and birthed us, the ungrateful Generation X. Ah, yes, Generation X. Lazy asses who are only good at computers, being apathetic, and fucking.

Nevermind that the preceding two generations have handed us a steaming ball of shit, ready to explode in our faces. That's cool, we'll figure it out in between blog updates, NSA sex, and screwing up our own kids.

In the fall of 2026 when the first Gen Xer signs up for Social Security which then will likely consist of a $50 Lettuce Entertain You gift card and a trial size Colgate toothpaste, what will the world be like? Any ideas?

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Is this logo conservative enough for you?

I thought I'd work up a logo for Google, free of charge, for National Assface Day which is tomorrow, October 10th. In case you have no idea what this post is in reference to, click here.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

What a race!

First off, a big time, HUGE ASS, congratulations to my friends Maria and Cathy who finished today's Chicago Marathon. You're insane and you rock.

Man it was so hot. And so crazy with police helicopters flying overhead telling people to stop. Runners were eyeing the water you had saved for your friends, and then looking at you like you were sending them to their deaths (I swear I gave it away after Cathy and Maria were on to mile 24). Rusty and I saw this guy (not in this photo here-this is from cnn.com) being taken away on a stretcher with an oxygen mask and his eyes rolled back into his head. Scary shit. This weather took a terrible toll on these runners, no question.

People will have lots to say about what happened. Not enough water, not enough gatorade, the city did the right thing by calling the race, the city shouldn't have cancelled it, people were reckless for continuing. . . yeah, Chicago will be abuzz tomorrow.

But after a long day in that sun, cheering them on, and getting from stop to stop, you understood a little why these maniacs decide to run 26.2 miles through one of the greatest cities on this planet.

Any answer you needed was in the look on their faces once they caught a glance of that finish line.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

What up?

First off, if you're aggravated with my lazy ass and dearth of blog posts, please click on the link on the right to "subscribe to posts" so you won't have to keep coming back, disappointed or perhaps vindicated. A special interweb shout-out to my friend LS for setting it up for me, because I sure as shit couldn't.

This week I recieved an email from Planned Parenthood, urging me to blog about the clinic situation in Aurora. Although they have been allowed to open (just having to type the words "allowed to open" irritates the living shit out of me) the battle will continue. Pro-Life activists have shown up and are taking pictures of the license plates of workers and patients with the intent to make their lives hell, and Safeway is letting these folks use their property to stage their protests. Planned Parenthood is urging people to call Safeway and find out what's what. Calling them, I think is a waste of time. But choosing not to shop at their stores (which include Dominic's) is something that might get their interest. So goodbye Dominic's, hello Jewel.

Now that we're on the subject, and I'm firmly positioned on my soapbox, is anyone else in awe of Pro-Life activists? Over the summer I was coming back from lunch and Michigan Avenue was lined on either side for several blocks with these people holding larger-than life posters of aborted fetuses. Lovely. Where the protestors came from, or why they weren't at work, I don't know. Maybe they parachuted from the sky, or base jumped from atop the Art Institute, or even crawled up out of the ground in Grant Park like cicadas. Anyway they were there.

And as I studied each one carefully while I walked up Michigan, I wondered, for a moment, what this country would be like if they took a few days off from that drama, and really worked to support the women and children of America. What if they urged their leaders to support living wages so that a woman could maybe raise a child. What if they marched on Washington and demanded healthcare, and childcare for these women and that baby they want so desperately to see the light of day? What if they were holding up signs with pictures of all the Chicago Public School children killed this year by gang violence, and demanded a safer environment for poor kids in a city that they likely drove into from the suburbs? Hell, what if they spent more time being parents themselves so that their daughters would know that they have an education and life waiting for them and that getting pregnant too soon is a pretty bad idea.

In my mind, the bottom line is this. If you don't support a woman's right to an abortion, and a woman's right to have access to a Planned Parenthood for all the OTHER services they provide which, obviously would make an abortion unnecessary, then you are anti-woman and by golly, anti-child.